Review: ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ at Music Box Theater

The Facebook Generation Finally Gets Its Own Musical

By Jonathan Spira on 11 December 2016
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Poor Evan Hansen.

A high schooler who is clearly a fish out of water (and probably falls somewhere on the autism spectrum), he just can’t seem to get a break in life.

Brilliantly written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul for the musical theater stage, “Dear Even Hansen” isn’t a typical teenage angst or coming-of-age story.

When we meet Evan (Ben Platt), he is in his bedroom talking to his mother (Rachel Bay Jones) while putting off writing a letter to himself as assigned by his therapist, It starts with

Dear Evan Hansen,
Today is going to be an amazing day, and here’s why.

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There we learn how Evan can’t even order a pizza because he might have to talk to the pizza delivery guy and, once in school, we see the awful tangle of words that come out when he tries to have a conversation with, well, just about anyone.

Evan, whose nervous tics and awkward mannerisms are portrayed brilliantly and with great empathy by Platt, has somewhat of a counterpart in Conner Murphy (Mike Faist), whose inner demons clearly go beyond Evan’s. Conner, dressed in “school shooter chic” as Evan’s friend Jared (Will Roland) notes, snatches Evan’s letter and mocks him by signing the cast on his arm. (Yes, Evan has a friend but, as Jared points out, he is a “family friend,” which really doesn’t count.)

Click here to continue to Page 2It Was All Just a Big Misunderstanding

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