I’m not typically an avid fan of Broadway musicals, but I’ve heard impeccable things about this particular musical so I decided to listen to the soundtrack. The first song I listened to was ‘Waving Through a Window’ and I can honestly say that I have never heard a song quite like this one. Ben Platt is not only an immaculate singer (I’ll talk more about him later) but the lyrics perfectly captured the feeling of social anxiety in a nuanced way. My favorite lines were: “..and no one tells you where you went wrong” and of course “when you’re falling in a forest, and there’s nobody around, do you ever really crash or even make a sound.”
I watched the musical online and because of how incredible the soundtrack was, I knew I was in for some touching moments. Little did I know that I would be crying almost throughout the entire 2nd act. The characters are so raw and real that it felt like I was watching these characters just existing with one another, not a scripted play. To the main character Evan, a socially anxious teenager who gets swept into this lie about a fake friendship with Connor, a kid who killed himself in the beginning of the show, because of his desperate desire to feel apart of something. This is so me that it freaked me out in the best way possible. The entire song of him describing his fake friendship (For Forever) reached into my core. I often create scenarios in my head when I feel most alone, especially about having friendships that aren’t real, so that song felt so real to me. Another aspect that tore me up was the relationship with Evan and his mother, who worked a lot while also going to school. Because she was very busy, Evan didn’t feel as connected to her, therefore making him bond more with Connor’s grieving parents. I can honestly say I didn’t stop crying during the song So Big/So Small sung by his mother. It makes me want to hug my mom every time I hear it.
Now I need to talk about Ben Platt. The second he begins his opening monologue to the moment he sings his last note, he truly IS Evan Hansen. I haven’t ever witnessed an actor disappear into a role like Ben Platt. He embodies a socially anxious teenager in the most realistic way; I felt like I was getting to know a human being. But my favorite part about Ben’s acting was his ability to grow with the character. Evan undergoes many changes from Act 1 to Act 2, but he still keeps his unique mannerisms. The song “Words Fail” was the most heartbreaking song and performance I’ve ever seen. While Evan/Ben cries through the entire song, it’s never too much or too little, it was just real. I loved how Evan had such a difficult time talking to people, but then when he opens his mouth to sing, it’s the most beautiful voice. His singing voice represents his inner self, the self that he can truly control. I could honestly go on and on..
Also, Only Us and Requiem are such beautiful songs and Laura Dreyfuss is a real life angel and her portrayal of Zoe (Connor’s sister) is gorgeous and the chemistry between her and Ben Platt was authentic and glorious.
I truly feel like there aren’t many musicals that tell this important story. Dear Evan Hanson is a beautifully genuine musical that portrays the realist form of the feeling of social anxiety and wanting to just disappear. At times it broke me, but not without picking up the pieces and gluing them back together with a heartwarming ending.