Theater Play Review Examples
Dear Evan Hansen has attracted attention long before its premiere thanks to its star-studded team. The musical is set up for greatness, having 4-time Tony nominee Michael Greif as its director, award-winning playwright Steven Levenson as its creator, and Benj Pasek and Justin Paul for music. The Broadway show is sold out, and without a doubt, each filled seat was well worth it. This Broadway musical is created for the modern audience, capturing the pervading disconnect despite the world’s increasing connectedness.
Dear Evan Hansen is based on the novel by Steven Levenson. The plot centers on teenager Evan Hansen who writes a note to himself, as directed by his therapist, to help with his social anxiety. This note is stolen by his classmate, Connor Murphy, who then commits suicide. Evan’s note is found in Connor’s pocket, leading the latter’s parents to believe that they were friends. Unable to tell the truth, Evan covers up and inflates his story with lies and fabricated evidence and becomes entangled in a large complicated web of lies.
Being the center of the story, the spotlight barely leaves Ben Platt as Evan Hansen. Platt’s performance did not leave a boring moment on stage. His powerful singing and portrayal of this seemingly stock character brought it to life. Evan’s awkwardness and social insecurity are visible in his constant blinking and twisted speaking. His social awkwardness is at the root of his loneliness and desperation for attention, which ultimately leads him to a path of lies. The audience feels for Platt’s Evan Hansen, and almost roots for his ruse to succeed.
Paul and Pasek’s music underscores the narrative of Dear Evan Hansen. The songs rise and fall along with the emotions of the characters, with some songs being mellow, while others are reflective ballads. The strongest song of all is “You Will Be Found, ” which closes the first act and is then reprised in the second act as the rallying cry for the social media movement following Connor Murphy’s death.
Dear Evan Hansen is a musical of the times, capturing the loneliness of today’s modern world as well as the complexity of grieving for a lost loved one. With a powerful score and performance by Platt and the rest of the cast, this musical will stay with the audience for a long time.
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