Photo courtesy of TPAC
Story by Ethan Pickering | Lifestyles Editor
With a small ensemble, plenty of dramatic irony, and a web of lies, “Dear Evan Hansen” at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center was a deeply touching tale.
Text message and notification sounds play repeatedly as the audience filled up the house on opening night, and the light of a computer screen seemed to illuminate the stage.
The story follows Evan Hansen, a socially awkward senior in high school who finds himself wound up in his own web of lies. His morality is questioned, and his relationships with everyone in his life is strained.
“Dear Evan Hansen,” at its heart, is a story about growing up. Trying to fit in, serious topics about mental health, and being known in a world full of social media are all parts of growing up that this musical neatly fits into its plot.
The first act is slow but builds on itself to perfectly set up and deliver on the second and final act. The second act unravels quickly and pays off by the end. The musical does not overstay its welcome.
All the characters in this musical are relatable in some way or another and can appeal to all walks of life. Many people can relate to the difficulties of high school or the trials and tribulations of parenthood. This musical puts a twist on these experiences and gets you very involved with these characters with a full range of emotions.
With only eight characters in the musical, the show had a good cast of actors to pull off such an emotional rollercoaster.
Stephen Christopher Anthony, who played the titular character Evan Hansen, kept great energy on stage and portrayed the awkwardly fidgeting and relatable main character very well. Also, you couldn’t help but be charmed by his boyish mannerisms.
Some other noteworthy performances from this show are Evans’s mother, Heidi Hansen, played by Jessica E. Sharman, and Evan’s complicated love interest, Zoe Murphy, played by Stephanie La Rochelle. These actors delivered on the emotional and comedic scenes brilliantly.
In “Dear Evan Hansen,” the presence of connections through the small windows of people’s lives that are portrayed on social media plays a huge role in the development of the plot. This sends a message to audiences about the effects that social media could have on people and how instant access to information shapes our world today.
The main message of this musical is best summarized in one of the strongest musical numbers, “You Will be Found” which is one of the most impactful numbers in the whole musical. A big part of this show is about being found and having your voice heard. It stresses the importance of being there for each other. That is one of the most profound messages “Dear Evan Hansen” has in store.
“Dear Evan Hansen” runs at TPAC, Andrew Jackson Hall from March 2-6, 2022. Tickets are still on sale on TPAC’s website.
Special thanks to TPAC Public Relations Manager, Danielle Allen.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Ethan Pickering, email email@example.com.
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