Dear Evan Hansen won the 2017 Tony Award for Best Musical Sunday night, bringing a new level of attention for the Broadway show about teen suicide.
The American Theater Wing voted Dear Evan Hansen as the best musical of the 2016-17 Broadway season, taking home five other awards as well. The musical was a sizable hit throughout the season, though nowhere near the level of last year’s Best Musical winner, Hamilton, so the mainstream public may not be as familiar. If you’re curious about whether Dear Evan Hansen is for you, here are five facts you need to know before booking your tickets.
Emotionally-charged teen drama
Dear Evan Hansen centers on the titular Evan Hansen (Ben Platt), a socially awkward teen tasked with writing letters to himself by his therapist. One of these letters is particularly bleak and admits his hopes are all on Zoe (Laura Dreyfuss), his crush. The letter gets in the hands of classmate Connor Murphy (Mike Faist), who is furious and makes off with the letter. Evan Hansen discovers a few days later that Connor has committed suicide a few days later with his letter in his pocket and his parents thinking it was Connor’s suicide note. With Connor’s parents begging for answers, Evan constructs an elaborate lie about his friendship with Connor, a lie that spirals way out of control. The musical is more bare bones than the typical razzle-dazzle Broadway production, focusing on the emotional teenage drama at the center.
It may not be for everyone, but teens can still see it
While many theater critics, audiences, and Tony voters clearly loved Dear Evan Hansen, it isn’t without its fair share of criticism. The musical does center on a teen with little social awareness, but some are not impressed by how Evan Hansen is ultimately depicted in the end. There is a happy ending, but the musical does not delve as deep as it could, in some critics’ eyes, into the moral implications of what he has done. Dear Evan Hansen does tackle some darker themes about troubled teenagers, the power of a story and lies, and mortality, so those who are sensitive to such topics may want to stay away. While Dear Evan Hansen does tackle some heavy topics, the musical can be seen by theatergoers 12 and up, according to the show’s website. Children who are 4-years-old or younger are not permitted in the theater.
The musical is only Ben Platt’s second Broadway role
Dear Evan Hansen is Platt’s second role on Broadway, after playing Elder Arnold Cunningham in The Book of Mormon for a season in 2014. Many have commended Platt’s emotional commitment to the role of Evan Hansen, made all the more impressive considering Platt is just 23-years-old. Platt went on to win the Tony for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, and while he is by no means the youngest Tony winner ever, it’s a huge feat for someone so early in their career. The actor was also previously seen in the Pitch Perfect films.
It comes from the La La Land guys
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul wrote the music and lyrics to Dear Evan Hansen and became Tony winners Sunday night for their work. Pasek and Paul won an Oscar for Best Original Score earlier this year for their work with Justin Hurwitz on La La Land. Like La La Land, much of the music for Dear Evan Hansen has the same understated yet universal appeal of songs like “City of Stars,” with simple guitars and emotional vocals.
Tickets are sold out until September
You won’t be seeing Dear Evan Hansen anytime soon. The musical is sold out through the rest of June and the entirety of July and August. A few dates are available in September, with many more available in subsequent months. The musical takes place at the Music Box Theatre on 239 West 45th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. You can purchase tickets to Dear Evan Hansen online at Telecharge, over the phone at 212-239-6200, or directly at the Music Theatre’s Box Office.
[Featured Image by Michael Zorn/Invision/AP Images]