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Dear Evan Hansen-Book and Musical Review

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Dear Evan Hansen-Book and Musical Review

A ticket from the Dear Evan Hansen musical at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles

A ticket from the Dear Evan Hansen musical at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles

Jacqueline Chai

A ticket from the Dear Evan Hansen musical at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles

Jacqueline Chai

Jacqueline Chai

A ticket from the Dear Evan Hansen musical at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles

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Dear Evan Hansen, Today is going to be a good day and here’s why. Dear Evan Hansen is a new musical rising to fame. The musical features harsh topics like suicide and many sexual jokes. Evan Hansen, a teenage boy with social anxiety, is told to write letters to himself by his therapist. This letter is about Zoe, a troubled boy named Connor’s sister and Evan’s crush. “All my hope is pinned on Zoe,” Evan writes in the letter. His first encounter with Connor is at lunch when Evan nervously laughs at him and gets shoved to the ground. Later that day, Evan is in the library, printing his letter and Connor picks it up. He accuses him of being a creep and storms out with his letter. Connor’s parents call Evan up to the office the next day and tell him that Connor took his own life, and they think Evan’s therapist letter is Connor’s suicide note. Evan, having social anxiety, can’t find the right words to say he wrote the letter, not Connor.

The soundtrack features 14 songs, many with mature language and references. A few songs are relatable and tear-jerking. Songs like You Will Be Found and So Big/So Small are relatable and are more than bops. So Big/So Small features Evan’s mom singing to him about the day his father drove away in a moving truck. “A U-Haul truck in the driveway, the day was suddenly real.” Evan’s mom tells Evan that she remembers him asking if another truck is going to take her too. That performance brought a tear to even that heartless.

Sincerely Me is about the fake emails Evan and Jared wrote to make people think Evan and Connor were friends. Jared helped Evan write the fake emails on Evan’s “secret account”. Jared shows Alana, who then puts it on social media. After the emails are put on social media it spread quickly. The brilliant on-stage scenery was set perfectly, showing multiple social media pages with quickly-scrolling social media.

 

The book, made after the musical came out is more descriptive into the mind and life of Evan. Evan’s thoughts give the scene when Connor’s parents tell Evan Connor took his own life more depth. The book also describes how hard Evan tried to get the right words out and tell Connor’s parents. All of Evan’s thoughts about feeling invisible are perfectly portrayed by the author.

As the relationship with Zoe and Evan builds they begin dating. A crucial song from the musical shows how they both feel about being with each other. Only Us features Zoe and Evan singing to each other. One of Zoe’s perfect lines in that song is: “I don’t need you to sell me on reasons to want you. I don’t need you to search for the proof that I should.” Evan and Zoe’s dating is portrayed in a great way in the book too. Although, of course, not as well as the musical.

 

Near the end of the book, Evan is overwhelmed with everything going on; everything out on social media, the lies he told to Connor’s parents, his friend, his mom, himself. Evan’s mom asked him why he closes the laptop so quickly every time she walks in. He makes up yet another lie. He talks to Jared about everything going on. Jared suggested telling Connor’s parents and Zoe. Evan realizes that everything he has told Zoe about Connor was mostly all lies, and he made her think her brother was not the violent monster she thought he was.

 

Evan begins going to the Murphy’s house more and more because they want to know more about how Connor was. Evan tells the Murphys that he and Connor used to go to the apple orchard, which then leads to the song For Forever. Evan thinks they are home more, and make better food, and are on his team. He always thought his mom was working so much, and being part of the doctor team she didn’t have time to be on his team. Evan’s mom is continuously coming home to an empty house, which makes her feel sad. Evan always told her he was going to Jared’s house but was always going to the Murphy’s. After this goes on for half a month, Evan’s mom sings a beautifully aggressive song called Good For You. This song also features his friend sing along with his mom. “I hope you had a blast, while you dragged me along.” During this, Evan finally begins to feel all the pressure of the lies he told and everything spiraling back at him. Evan’s mom, Jared, and Alana all singing at one time, and Evan sings loudly “I gotta find a way to stop it, stop it, just let me out!” The book does a nice job at expressing emotions during this time, but of course, not as well as the musical in this situation. Evan’s friends are outraged with how many lies he had told.

 

Zoe and Evan part their ways for a year, and Evan, during that time, tells everyone the lies. The musical and book are both perfect at describing the scene between Evan and his mom. Evan tells his mom he wasn’t friends with Connor, he wrote the letter and it wasn’t Connor’s suicide letter. Evan’s mother tells him how to work through it. Evan’s mom then sings her song So Big/So Small.

 

At the end of the book and the musical, there is a good 20-minute scene that is 1 year into the future. Evan says the starting line of all his letters: “Dear Evan Hansen, today is going to be a good day, and here’s why. Today at least you are you, and that’s enough.”

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