The show won six 2017 Tony Awards, as well as a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. It also won a Drama League Award for Outstanding Musical Production, two Obie Awards, a Drama Desk Award, two Outer Critics Circle Awards and two Helen Hayes Awards.
“Dear Evan Hansen,” with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and a book by Steven Levenson, follows Evan, a high school senior who suffers from social anxiety, who begins to live a lie in the aftermath of a tragedy.
On his first day of his senior year of school, at his therapist’s urging, he writes a letter to himself.
He broke his arm over the summer, and his mother, a hard-working single mom, suggests he asks people to sign his cast to perhaps make new friends.
At school, when Evan’s friend Jared teases Connor, Evan’s awkward reaction provokes Connor’s anger, and he pushes him, for which Connor’s sister Zoe apologizes. Evan, who has a crush on Zoe, wonders if he will always be ignored and an outcast.
In the school computer lab, Evan continues to write letters to himself, and Connor signs Evan’s cast before retrieving one of Evan’s letters off the printer in the computer lab, but becomes furious when he sees that Evan mentioned Zoe in the letter, and storms out with the printout.
Evan worries about what Connor might do with the letter, and events worsen when he learns that Connor committed suicide, and Evan’s letter to himself is found among Connor’s possessions by his parents. They think it is a suicide note from Connor to Evan, and want to meet Evan to learn more about their son.
Thus begins the deception – seeing Connor’s family’s grief, Evan pretends to have been friends with Connor, and when he talks about Connor to them, it seems to assuage their grief.
Evan and his friend Jared go so far as to create a fictitious backdated email correspondence between Evan and Connor.
When people at the school begin to forget Connor, Evan, distressed, creates the Connor Project website to keep the memory of Connor alive.
Meanwhile, Evan starts to bond with Connor’s family, and spends time with Zoe.
However, the lies and stress start to unravel relationships, until Evan finally admits his duplicity to Connor’s family.
When Evan returns home to his mother, he admits the fall that broke his arm was intentional.
The story is about a lie that never should have seen the light of day, and a young man’s desperation to fit in. It is a personal look at modern life and the way people live in complex social circles.
The show also sheds light on teens who struggle with depression and anxiety, and how social media has exacerbated the stress on young lives.
The backers of the show realized that they had an opportunity to address the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Some of the memorable songs include: “So Big/So Small,” sung by Evan’s mother when she comforts her son after his confession; “Waving Through a Window,” which opens the show and reveals Evan’s sense of isolation; “Sincerely, Me” with imaginary Connor, Evan and Jared, as the fake email correspondence is created; “You Will Be Found,” with Evan and the company, delivered at Connor’s memorial service; and “Only Us” with Zoe and Evan, in which the two admit their feelings for each other.
The show, which contains adult themes, including discussion of suicide, is recommended for ages 12 and older. Children under the age of 5 will not be permitted in the theater.
For more information about the show, go to dearevanhansen.com.
Tickets start at $50, and are available by phone, at 800-982-2787, online, at ticketmaster.com and at the Fisher Theater box office.
A digital ticket lottery for a limited number of $25 seats, sold in pairs, will be available through luckyseat.com. The lottery will continue, on a rolling basis, throughout the run of the show, and winners will be notified by email. Entrants must be 18 and older, and show valid photo identification matching the entry name to claim the tickets.
The show runs 8 p.m. Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, and Oct. 4 to 8; 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2 and 9; and at 2 p.m. Oct. 1, 2, 8 and 9 for the matinee showings.