An year ago when I landed here, I had three musicals on my bucket list, whose music has resonated and connected with me in some form.
They are three of the most incredible musicals that have come out in the last few years, have pretty much hogged all the major awards, and have been fan and critic favourites. Having already seen Hamilton and Come From Away, I was eagerly waiting to check-off the third one on that list: six-time Tony-winning Broadway smash, Dear Evan Hansen.
Dear Evan Hansen is a story about a lonely teenager who inadvertently becomes a social media sensation and a symbol of kindness, a performance for which Ben Platt very deservingly won the Best Actor award. This is one of those rare Broadway musicals not derived or inspired from any other source material, which is refreshing in itself.
Even though the story of a teenage suicide and a lonely teen caught up in a web of self-devised deception has its sad aspects, Dear Evan Hansen is anything but a downer. The feelings it stirs are cathartic expressions of a healthy compassion for Evan’s efforts to do some good in life, which all of us can relate to, and his anguish that he may be causing more pain than he can cure.
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul of La La Land fame have written such haunting lyrics and score, that it sledgehammers its way into our heart. The majority of the songs are soft melodies, reflective ballads, with guitar and strings leading the way, they are varied and gentle, with each of the songs opening up a window that gives a new perspective on the characters and their predicaments.
Dear Evan Hansen should appeal to just about anyone who has ever felt, at some point in life, that he or she was trapped “on the outside looking in,” as Evan says it in one of the songs – which, to be honest, is just about each and every one of us.
Just like the poster says, Dear Evan Hansen most definitely is one of the most remarkable shows in musical theater history.
Rahul Menon was born and raised in New Delhi, India, and currently lives in Illinois. He is an assistant director, screenwriter and occasional actor, as well as a computer science engineer who worked as a software analyst and in advertising and marketing prior to entering the film industry. His screen debut was as screenwriter and assistant director of Saayanna Varthakal (Evening News) in 2018. He is currently pursuing a masters degree at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Facebook, Instagram, IMDB.