June 11-30, 2019
The sobbing you hear underscoring the production of “Dear Evan Hansen” – currently on tour and on stage at Playhouse Square after being recognized as the best musical on Broadway in 2017 – is coming from both sides of the proscenium. It is the sound of actors lost in their astoundingly honest and gut-wrenching depiction of people in pain and the audience’s gut-response to it.
“Dear Evan Hansen” is a mesmerizing evening of contemporary musical theatre. Complete with pop-contemporary music sounds, complete with art songs and narrative story-telling tunes, and a relevant story line, it is one of the finest examples of the new wave of musical dramas. Don’t go expecting show-stoppers and an escapist plot, this is life as it is being lived, with all its angst and issues. The touring production is excellent and is an absolutely must see!!
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.
The blockbuster “Dear Evan Hansen” starts out as a sad, intimate musical about crippling social anxiety and isolation but ends up turning into something quite different. At the helm of this brilliant show, now on national tour at Playhouse Square’s Connor Palace, is astounding 21-year-old actor Ben Levi Ross, who is a bundle of raw nerves and emotion as the teenage title character. He makes us love Evan Hansen — nervous tics, lies and all — with his character’s self-deprecating humor and sweet heart.
To see a full review of this show, read Kerry Clawson's review at https://www.ohio.com/topics/clawson.
But this is not some sort of intimate studio production; this is a big Broadway musical. Cue the talents of lighting designer Japhy Weideman and set designer David Korins, who have created the perfect world of smartphone images and piercing illuminations where such a story as this can blossom majestically. Michael Greif’s direction molds the labyrinth of ideas, words, songs and images into graspable cohesion, But back to Levenson’s book — so original and compelling, the audience has no idea by the end of the first act how it could end with an accessible, agreeable conclusion. Yet it does end — more satisfyingly than imagined — and the characters and the audience are all the better for it.
Overheard on the way out of the Connor Palace Theatre: “This show would be great for psychologists.” The show? The long-awaited Dear Evan Hansen. multiple award winner, including a 2017 Tony for Best Musical. Directed by Michael Greif, with book by Steven Levenson, score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the musical explores alienation, family dynamics and chance. Greif, surely a master of unhappiness, offers a sad and serious look at life for several teens and two sets of parents. It should come as no surprise to learn that he also directed Rent and Next to Normal. The characters and the subtext (modern life can be pretty awful, but there’s hope for us all) echo a similar perspective.
To see a full review of this show, read Laura's post at Cool Cleveland.
This isn't a show out to corner a narrow tween/teen market. "Dear Evan Hansen" is for everyone who has ever felt lost and broken and unloved. That's part of its irrestible, universal appeal!
To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.