Emotionally Jarring, Dear Evan Hansen An Inspiring Awakening; Theatre Review

Ben Levi Ross and the Company of the First North American Tour of Dear Evan Hansen. Photo by Matthew Murphy. 2018Ben Levi Ross and the Company of the First North American Tour of Dear Evan Hansen. Photo by Matthew Murphy. 2018

Joe-Contreras-Head-Shot_200By Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media

Dear Evan Hansen is wake up call to everyone and anyone who cares about today’s youth and the many challenges they are experiencing.  It is inspiring in that it opens our eyes and our minds to what is really happening in our society. The loneliness, fear and anxiety many youth including our own kids may be experiencing. It motivates us to want to reach out and talk, listen and understand what is going on in their lives.  To pay attention to what they are posting and sharing on social media.

There are no fancy costumes, elaborate sets or huge casts just teenagers trying  to find their way, their place in the world and their parents who while trying to figure their kids out don’t have a clue what they are going through.

Dear-Evan-Hansen_2The cliché   “Not a dry eye in the house” does not come close to the emotion this production evokes in the audience as everyone is forced to take an introspective look at the dysfunction that very well may exists in their own family, school and community. The open weeping by many in the theatre made me wonder, were they crying about the story being told on stage or were they sobbing about things in their own lives, in their own families, situations which have happened or things they have ignored or are in denial of? I suspect it was the latter.

Don’t get me wrong, Dear Evan Hansen is also funny and very entertaining. It won six Tony Awards   just last year including Best Musical and a 2018 Grammy Award.

That being said, this is not just a play about teenagers who get carried away on social media creating a viral response to a go fund me page about a fellow student they could have cared less about prior to his passing.

It is more about the dysfunction that exists in almost every family. The skeleton in the closet, the elephant in the room, the things parents, teachers and others want to pretend don’t really exist. Broken kids whose cries for help and attention are all too often ignored by parents who are too busy with whatever trusting that medication and therapy will take care of their children’s issues.

I couldn’t help think about Columbine and the parents of several other teenagers who go on school shooting rampages.  I thought about the suicide epidemic happening among so much of our youth, I thought about the eight year old who recently took his own life because he was being bullied. I thought about my son and what may be going on inside his head. I thought about how disconnected we are from those we most love.

Dear Evan Hansen is about a letter Evan Hansen writes to himself as part of his therapy. The letter inadvertently falls into the wrong hands and soon everything goes awry.  Lies and fake social media posts rule the day.

Ben Levi Ross is so convincing in his role as Evan Hansen, lanky and fragile with a quirky demeanor that is clumsy and scared. He is full of anxiety, fear and loneliness.  No real friends and too afraid to even answer the door for food delivery because it means having to interact with another human being.  Yet he has to go to school and deal with everything that goes on there including other students.

When he sings all that insecurity disappears  his voice is powerful and confident

In his review CBS 4’s  critic-at-large Greg Moody  wrote, “ The characters, the story, the depth, the emotional insight, the music, the humor, the dramatic impact resonated across 60 years of theatre going. I had, quite frankly, never seen anything like this show.

Yes, it is that different. It is that powerful. It is that thought-provoking, life-affirming, and, dare I say it — life-changing.”

Many parents brought their teens to the production. Presumably hoping Dear Evan Hansen would help start the conversation about what is going on in their lives and be comfortable and trusting in sharing those thoughts and feelings with them. Usually the audience flees the theatre at the end of a play trying to escape the parking madness but this time it was different. Dozens of people lingered in the lobby in groups of various sizes engaged in conversation. No one seemed to be in a hurry to leave the experience.

Denver is the first stop for this incredible production. The 12th Broadway tour to originate in Denver

Dear Evan Hansen plays the Denver’s Buell Theater through October 13th only.

For Tickets Click HERE

DIGITAL TICKET LOTTERY

Dear Evan Hansen will host a digital ticket lottery in each city on the First National Tour, starting with Denver, offering fans the chance to purchase a limited number of $25 tickets available for each performance.

HOW TO ENTER

  • Visit https://www.luckyseat.com/dearevanhansen-denver/ 48 hours prior to the performance.
  • The digital lottery will begin accepting entries 48 hours prior to each performance in Denver. Entries will be accepted until 9am MT the day before the performance.
  • Winners and non-winners will be notified daily via email.
  • Winners may then purchase up to two (2) tickets at $25 each.
  • Tickets must be purchased online with a credit card by 4pm MT the day prior to the performance using the purchase link and code in the customized notification email. Tickets not claimed by 4pm MT the day prior to the performance are forfeited.
  • Lottery tickets may be picked up at The Buell Theatre box office will call beginning one hour prior to the performance with a valid photo ID. Lottery tickets void if resold.

All entrants are encouraged to follow Dear Evan Hansen on Instagram (@DearEvanHansen), Twitter (@DearEvanHansen) and Facebook (@DearEvanHansen) for additional chances to win.