Dear Evan Hansen- Broadway Atlanta

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Sunday, April 28th, I went to see the Broadway Atlanta production of Dear Evan Hansen. This musical premiered in 2015 and quickly gained worldwide acclaim. With its heart wrenching storyline and intensely relatable characters, it’s no wonder it was able to touch so many people. At the 71st Tony Awards, it was nominated for nine awards and won six including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Actor in a Musical for lead Ben Platt, and Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Rachel Bay Jones. The story follows a socially anxious teen, Evan, who gets caught up in an elaborate lie about a friendship with another boy in his school, Connor. Evan is recommended by his therapist to write affirming letters to himself, and one day Connor finds one of his more hopeless letters and takes it. A few days later Connor commits suicide, and Evan’s letter is found in his pocket. It is taken to be a suicide note from Connor addressed to Evan. From there things spiral, and Evan finds himself trapped trying to preserve this lie that he and Connor were friends.

The show venue was the Fox Theatre, and it was extremely beautiful. It had a gorgeous red-carpet entryway and extremely ornate interiors. There was gold gilding all over the walls and ceiling, stained glass windows, and a beautifully painted ceiling that looked like a sky full of stars. It had an air of sophistication to it that made you feel like what you were about to see was very weighty and important. Even the bathrooms were decked out in intricate decor.

The show was amazing. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that “there are few shows that represent 21st-century culture quite like Dear Evan Hansen… It’s a rare breed of musical that must be seen to be believed.” The show seamlessly incorporates social media and the internet almost as another character. The set includes many tall, vertical screens that are used to show online reactions to all that goes on in the musical. They really add to the overall feel of the show and bring in a very relevant aspect of modern life for a teenager in high school. Although everyone would love to see the show with its original cast, the cast at Broadway Atlanta was exceptional. Their performances were highly moving, and their vocals were very impressive. Having only ever listened to the soundtrack, being able to see it all in context of the narrative of the show was incredible. You get sucked into the story, and pain of the characters almost becomes your own. It really pulls in the audience, and the Chicago Tribune says it best by commenting,“Intensely emotional… one of those rare broadway musicals to seep into the consciousness of the audience and succeeds in what matters most- making us care.”

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