Winner of 6 Tony awards including best musical in 2017, Dear Evan Hansen took Broadway by storm when it opened. It came on the scene on the coattails of the phenomenon that was (and still is) the 2016 Tony award winner, Hamilton. Whether you are a fan of Broadway or not, I think this show sends out many very timely messages for our teenage kids and for the working mom as well. It so clearly depicts the struggle of Evan's working mom while contrasting it to the different, yet equally as significant struggle of the other mom in the show who does not work. It highlights the challenges of a troubled high school boy dealing with severe social anxiety and the inability to "fit in", while introducing several other same age characters coping with other issues running rampant in schools across the country. The difficulties our kids face with stereotypes, social media, and judgement can make the high school years a very tough time for some. This show brings so many important topics to the surface which are often difficult to deal with. I think it is an eye opening, incredible lesson for kids in this age group and parents alike. I would not recommend it for kids younger than high school age, but for those roughly 13 and older, I think it is really something to consider, not only for the message it sends, but also for the incredible music and performances. We were fortunate to see it twice in 2017 with the original cast including Ben Platt in the title role.
There are so many powerful lyrics in the songs as well as many moments in the show which might be considered simple or quiet but which give incredible impact. Evan can be found on stage alone often, but he is incredibly captivating with his mannerisms and the emotion behind every word he says or sings...
"On the outside always looking in
Will I ever be more than I've always been?
I try to speak but nobody can hear
So I wait around for an answer to appear
I'm waving through a window,
Oh can anybody see,
Is anybody waving back at me?"
We see and feel his pain and sadness as he longs for acceptance and friends. We see the anxiety he feels in every situation, especially when trying to figure out how to talk to a girl he likes. We see the seemingly desperate measures he goes to in order to create a friendship that never existed. We see how trying to be something you are not, even if it is well intended, can backfire. We see the huge impact of social media and how our kids today are at the mercy of this, which has the potential to make every issue exponentially worse. We see the struggles of the parents and how the underlying problems of the single working mom may not be that different from the stay at home mom even though she is seemingly privileged with a husband and a more affluent lifestyle. It truly is a fascinating look at family dynamics and the difficulties facing our teen/young adult children in their social lives and beyond. There are some very dark and sad parts of the show but overall, the take home message is positive and focuses on acceptance of our differences and providing support to our kids in whatever way they need.
"Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
And when you're broken on the ground
You will be found
So let the sun come streaming in
'Cause you'll reach up and you'll rise again
Lift your head and look around
You will be found"
We are fans of Jordan Fisher who is currently playing the lead role. He was starring in the show in early 2020 when Broadway shut down due to the pandemic. Even though we saw it twice in 2017, we actually had tickets to go again in May of 2020 with hopes of seeing him in the role. Missing this was one of the many disappointments we faced along with everyone else thanks to Covid. However, when the show re-opened in December of 2021, he came back as Evan Hansen, and we have been on a mission ever since to see him play this part. Long story short, it hasn't happened yet after 3 attempts over the past 2 months! Yes, you read that right...we have gone to the show 3 times since December 11th and not seen him once.🤦🏻♀️ Wish us luck...we are hoping to try once more and make it there for his final performance!🤞🏻