This week we're gonna take a stroll through Manhattan's theatre district and look at 2016's Dear Evan Hansen
In December 2016, the Music Box Theatre on W. 45th St gained its newest residents, the cast and crew of Dear Evan Hansen . After the unexpected and tragic suicide of high school outcast Connor Murphy, Evan Hansen (a bullied 17 year old with social anxiety and depression) invents a role for himself in this event that he did not earn. Producing songs that have found their way into popular culture such as "Waving Through a Window" and "You Will Be Found," this musical discusses some serious topics while managing to throw in a bit of humor here and there.
Its life began back in 2015 when director Michael Greif premiered Dear Evan Hansen in Washington D.C. to positive reviews. Eventually, the show made its way up to Broadway in December of 2016 boasting a successful 6 year run, only closing in 2022 due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A National tour was launched in 2018 which was scheduled to perform in over 50 different cities. It will end its run this coming July . Across the pond in London, the show opened at the West End Theatre in November 2019, only recently closing n October 2022. The original Broadway performance was nominated for and won multiple Tony awards, a Grammy for its soundtrack, and even a Daytime Emmy for a performance of "You Will Be Found" on the TODAY show
Even though I don't consider myself a huge musical theatre nerd, I can appreciate and enjoy plenty of musicals here and there. It was a few of my friends from college and my sister who turned me onto Dear Evan Hansen. I really connected with the message of the show, and "Waving Through a Window" is definitely in my Top 50 songs of all time. My parents bought my sister and them tickets to see the show in the Fall of 2019, but do to an unforeseen circumstance my dad wasn't able to go. Unable to attend myself as started my senior year of college in Delaware, I soon learned that unused tickets would be honored at future performances if you called the day of a performance and there were seats available. My dad's ticket was now mine. My opportunity to see this show was going to have to be either my Winter or Spring break. By a stroke of luck I managed to score a performance in January 2020, which in hindsight was extremely lucky considering my Spring break started March 16th, 3 days after a national emergency was declared and everything shut down.
Onto the vinyl, I somehow managed to find this copy pre-owned. As soon as I took the record out to check its condition and was greeted with the gorgeous transparent blue, I knew it was coming home with me. Like I mentioned before, I really connected with this musical. Though not diagnosed, I am anxious in some social situations and often feel self-conscious. "Waving Through a Window" with its anthemic chorus will never fail to put me in a good mood alongside the hilariously crude "Sincerely, Me," which involves Evan fabricating emails between him and Connor Murphy with the help of his sarcastic friend Jared Kleinmann. The beautifully sad "Requiem" highlights the struggle of putting on a facade for others because it's 'the right thing to do.' Finally, I would be amiss if I didn't mention the penultimate track "So Big / So Small" which never fails to make me cry.
The album jacket is a gatefold that opens up to a Playbill-formatted credits page on one side, the other with a stage photo and brief synopsis by libretto book writer Steven Levenson. Unlike your typical album release, you get a 12" x 12" lyric booklet complete with singer identification and performance photos
When it comes to musicals, some of my favorites include Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, and Into the Woods. I feel there are many musicals released in the last 10 years that don't have the same charm as these do. However, I can't say the same about Dear Evan Hansen. It manages to take a contemporary issue and put a musical spin on it, delivering a message that many nowadays can relate to, such as myself.