Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

Dear Evan Hansen

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Benj Pasek Justin Paul

Steven Levenson

Steven Levenson

Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Benj Pasek Justin Paul

First performance
30 July 2015

Alex Lacamoire

Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Dear Evan Hansen httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumb7

July 10, 2015: Arena Stage

2015 Arena Stage 2016 Off-Broadway 2016 Broadway

2016 Obie Award for Musical Theatre 2016 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics

Zoe Murphy, Jared Kleinman, Cynthia Murphy, Alana Beck, Heidi Hansen, Connor Murphy, Larry Murphy, Evan Hansen

Natasha - Pierre & the Great, Kinky Boots, Falsettos, Hamilton, Something Rotten!

Meet the team dear evan hansen

Dear Evan Hansen is an original musical written by Pasek and Paul, with the book by Steven Levenson.


The musical opened on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre in December 2016, after its world premiere at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC in July 2015 and an Off-Broadway production in March to May 2016.

The focus of the musical is the teen "Evan Hansen", who becomes involved in a family tragedy of another teen. The musical revolves around "A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he's always wanted: a chance to finally fit in." The title character, Evan Hansen, is a high school senior with social anxiety disorder who finds himself amid the turmoil that follows a classmate's death.

Background and development

Dear Evan Hansen is a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award. The musical has its origins in an incident that took place during Pasek's high school years. The musical "takes the notion of a teenager, ... Evan Hansen, who invents an important role for himself in a tragedy that he did not earn."


Dear Evan Hansen premiered at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., running from July 10 to August 23, 2015. Directed by Michael Greif, with orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, the set was designed by David Korins and the projection design was by Peter Nigrini. The cast featured Ben Platt in the title role.

The musical opened Off-Broadway at the Second Stage Theater on March 26, 2016 in previews, officially on May 1. The cast featured Ben Platt, Laura Dreyfuss, Mike Faist, Rachel Bay Jones, Will Roland and Jennifer Laura Thompson repeating their roles from the Arena Stage production. New cast members were John Dossett and Kristolyn Lloyd. Michael Greif again directed, with choreography by Danny Mefford. The Off-Broadway engagement closed on May 29, 2016.

The show premiered on Broadway on November 14, 2016 in previews, and officially opened on December 4. After originally announcing that performances would take place at the Belasco Theatre, in mid-September 2016, producers announced that the show would instead be performed at the Music Box Theatre. Michael Park, who originated the role of Larry in the Arena Stage production, returned for the Broadway production (replacing John Dossett who went on to the musical War Paint). All other cast members from the Second Stage production returned for the Broadway engagement.

Following in the footsteps of writers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (who are considered to be leaders of the so-called "YouTube Musical Theatre Writers" – that is, young writers who use YouTube and other platforms to promote their work), the show is notable for its use of social media - @DearEvanHansen. This includes encouraging the spread and cover of songs (ex. "Waving Through a Window" with the hashtag #SongOfSummer), the wide-streaming of multiple songs prior to the Broadway performances, and the use of a "Digital Board of Advisers" which includes the likes of executives at Mashable, Amazon, and the United Talent Agency.

Characters and original cast

Evan Hansen - A high school senior who struggles with social anxiety disorder. He is assigned by his therapist to write letters to himself about why each day will be good, which becomes the catalyst for the plot of the story. He breaks his arm by falling out of a tree, but cannot get anyone to sign his cast. He has never had any friends, and has had a crush on Zoe Murphy for a very long time.

Zoe Murphy - Connor's younger sister and Evan's longtime crush. She was never close to Connor, but wishes she had known him better and turns to Evan after he lies and says he was friends with Connor.

Connor Murphy - Another high school senior, he is also a social outcast with no friends, just like Evan. He is a frequent drug user, and becomes verbally abusive to his family when he is high. However, he is protective of Zoe, even though he is not close with her.

Heidi Hansen - Evan's mother, a nurse's aide who attends law school at night, often leaving Evan on his own as a result. She tries to connect with Evan, but struggles because she doesn't personally understand what he goes through on a daily basis.

Cynthia Murphy - Connor and Zoe's stay-at-home mother. She is constantly trying to keep her fragile family from falling apart, but is often unsuccessful. She clings to the memory of Connor even though she was never close with him, and her relationship with Larry and Zoe suffers because of it.

Larry Murphy - Connor and Zoe's busy father. He works hard to give his family a relatively easy life, but he is emotionally distant from all three of them. He becomes close with Evan, who never had a strong father figure, and begins to see Evan as the son Connor never was.

Alana Beck - Evan's precocious and sometimes insufferable classmate. She is constantly looking for academic and extracurricular activities to boost her college résumé. She never knew Connor, but is greatly affected by his death and quickly joins Evan in founding the Connor Project in order to keep Connor's memory alive.

Jared Kleinman - Another of Evan's classmates; he is the closest thing Evan has ever had to a friend. The son of a family friend of the Hansens, he initially only talks to Evan so that his parents will pay for his car insurance. Evan enlists his help in crafting fake emails from Connor, and slowly becomes a true friend to him.


Act 1

Evan Hansen, a teenager who struggles with crippling social anxiety, writes a hopeful letter to himself as an assignment from his therapist before the first day of his senior year. His mother Heidi, a busy nurse's aid who attends law school at night, attempts to connect with him but struggles to find common ground with her son. She tells him to make new friends by asking people to sign the cast on his arm, since he had broken it by falling out of a large tree over the summer. Across town, the wealthy Murphy family - Cynthia, Larry, and their children Zoe and Connor - sit down to breakfast. Zoe and Larry berate Connor for getting high before school, while Cynthia struggles with the fact that her family is falling apart. The two mothers wonder simultaneously how to connect with their sons ("Anybody Have A Map?").

At school, Evan encounters Alana, an ambitious student obsessed with getting into a good college, and Jared, the son of a family friend and the closest thing Evan has to a friend. Both notice his broken arm, but neither one takes Evan up on his offer to sign his cast. Evan has a rough encounter with Connor, prompting Zoe, Evan's longtime crush, to apologize on her brother's behalf. Evan wonders if this is his destiny - to be ignored and an outcast for the rest of his life ("Waving Through A Window").

Evan writes himself another letter, this time about how he's given up on it being a good year and wondering if anyone would notice if he wasn't there. He remarks that all his hope is now pinned on Zoe, even though he doesn't know her. While printing out the letter in the school's computer lab, he once again runs into Connor, who is more subdued than he was that morning. He offers to sign Evan's cast, musing that maybe now they can both pretend they have friends. He reads Evan's letter, which he had picked up off the printer, and storms out in a fury after seeing the mention of Zoe because he thinks Evan meant it to hurt him.

A few days later, Evan is freaking out because Connor has not returned to school and still has Evan's letter. He is called to the principal's office, where Connor's parents are waiting to meet him. They tell Evan that Connor had committed suicide a few days before, with Evan's letter in his pocket. Believing it to be Connor's suicide note, they ask Evan if he and Connor were close, as Connor had never mentioned having friends before. Not wanting to further their grief, Evan agrees to go to their house to talk about Connor. He confides all this in Jared, who advises him to keep quiet and deny that he and Connor were friends. Instead, Evan begins to fabricate an intricate story of his and Connor's friendship after seeing how distraught Cynthia is over the loss of her son. He tells them a fictional version of the day he broke his arm in which Connor was with him the entire day ("For Forever"). Evan claims that he and Connor kept up a secret email correspondence, and enlists Jared's help in creating Connor's side of the conversations ("Sincerely, Me").

Meanwhile, Heidi reminds Evan that he needs to begin applying for college scholarships, but Evan is too distracted by his fake friendship with Connor to take her very seriously. She mentions hearing about Connor's death, but Evan tells her the truth- they weren't close. After showing the Murphys Connor's "emails", Cynthia is ecstatic that her son had a friend, but Larry is more hurt that Connor took his family and his privileged life for granted. Zoe, who was never close to Connor, refuses to show grief because she truly does not miss him due to his abusive behavior towards her ("Requiem"). However, after reading the suicide note, Zoe notices that she is mentioned and asks Evan if Connor ever spoke about her. Evan, unable to tell her the truth, tells her all the reasons he loves her, but pretends that Connor said them ("If I Could Tell Her"). Overcome with emotion, he kisses Zoe, but she throws him out angrily.

Evan notices that people are starting to forget about Connor, and wants to prevent what happened to him from happening to anyone else. Spurred on by his perceived spirit of Connor, Evan enlists Alana and Jared's help in founding "The Connor Project" - an organization dedicated to keeping Connor's memory alive and helping those like him. The three pitch the idea to the Murphys, who agree to support the project ("Disappear"). At the official launch of the Connor Project, Evan gives an inspiring speech about his loneliness and friendship with Connor, which goes viral after it is posted online. Zoe, overcome by the impact her brother and Evan have had on people, kisses him ("You Will Be Found").

Act 2

Evan and Alana pitch a fundraising idea on The Connor Project's official website - they want to raise $50,000 in three weeks to reopen the abandoned apple orchard that Evan and Connor supposedly spent time in, in memory of Connor. Evan, spurred on by his new relationship with Zoe and his newfound family with the Murphys, begins to neglect his mother, Jared, and the Connor Project ("Sincerely, Me (Reprise)").

While spending time at the Murphys, Evan bonds with Larry and confides in him that his father left when he was young and no longer keeps in touch with him or Heidi ("To Break in a Glove"). While spending time at his house, Evan makes an offhand comment to Zoe about how he and his mother don't have much money, so he will have to work hard to earn scholarships so he can go to college. When he begins to mention Connor, Zoe tells him that she doesn't want their relationship to be about Connor, but about the two of them ("Only Us").

Evan gets in a fight with Jared, who claims that Connor dying was the best thing that ever happened to Evan - he is no longer invisible, and landed the girl of his dreams. Later on, Evan goes to the Murphys only to discover that Zoe had invited Heidi for dinner. Heidi, who had no idea that Evan had spent time at the Murphys, is mortified when Larry and Cynthia offer to use the money that they had set aside for Connor's college fund to send Evan to school instead. After returning home, Heidi and Evan fight, and Heidi angrily points out that the Murphys are not Evan's family - she is. Evan fires back that the Murphys are actually there for him, and take care of him since she's never around. Heidi tearfully berates him for running off to his shiny new family, while Alana begins to catch on to inconsistencies in the fake emails Evan "received" from Connor and begins to suspect that the whole thing is a scam. Evan, beginning to panic, asks Jared to help him clear up the inaccuracies, but Jared refuses to help him now that his life is so great ("Good For You").

Evan considers coming out and telling the truth, but Connor guilts him out of it. Instead, he sends a copy of the suicide note to Alana, hoping that it will get her off his back. Inspired, she publishes it without his permission, and it once again goes viral. Evan is distraught, and goes to see the Murphys, who have become the targets of hateful comments from people who believe that they were responsible for Connor's death. He walks in on the three of them fighting about why Connor really killed himself, and admits that he fabricated the entire thing because he was scared of losing the family he had found with them ("Words Fail").

Evan finds Heidi waiting for him at home, who saw the letter online and immediately knew that it was one of Evan's therapy assignments. She apologizes for not seeing how badly he was hurting, and he admits to her that he didn't actually fall out of the tree the past summer - he was feeling so broken and alone that he deliberately let go in hopes that the fall would kill him. Heidi sits him down and recalls the day that his father moved out, and how she felt so small and alone and didn't know how she was going to make it by herself. In the end, however, she realized that she wasn't alone: she had Evan, and knew that the two of them could make it through anything as long as they were together. Tearfully, she promises that she'll always be there for him when he needs her ("So Big/So Small").

A year later, Evan is still living at home, working at Pottery Barn to save enough money to go to college the next semester. He contacts Zoe, whom he has not seen since she found out the truth, asking if she will agree to meet him. She does, but insists that they meet at the orchard that has been reopened in Connor's memory. He apologizes for the pain he caused her family, and admits that he has been reading Connor's ten favorite books after finding a list in an old yearbook in an attempt to connect with who he really was. He also thanks her and her parents for keeping his secret - they never told anyone else that his friendship with Connor was a lie. She forgives him, and says that the whole ordeal has brought her family closer together, because "everyone needed it for something." Evan asks her why she insisted on meeting at the orchard, and she replies that she wanted to be sure he saw it. Evan mentally writes himself one last letter, reflecting on the impact he has had on his community and his hope that he will inspire others, finally accepting himself ("Finale").

Musical numbers

**Not included on the Original Broadway Cast Recording

Critical response

The production has received widespread critical acclaim. Derek Mong, in his review of the musical at the Arena Stage, wrote that all of the elements of the musical combine to make the musical "great", and credited the "all-star cast... inventive set design by David Korins...that transforms a small stage into a platform for the most intimate living room where a mother and son share a heart-to-heart to the physical abyss of internet cyberspace... book by Steven Levenson... lyrics and music by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul... heartfelt lyrics with universal appeal joined by the perfect, oftentimes acoustic, accompaniment that can change the mood from somber to celebratory to sinister in a single bar of music."

Barbara Mackay in reviewing the Arena Stage production for TheatreMania wrote: "Levenson, Pasek, and Paul set themselves two high, untraditional bars in Evan Hansen: exploring a community's grief and examining a lonely protagonist who desperately wants to connect with that community... Ben Platt is outstanding as Evan... Since the success of the musical depends entirely on whether Evan's solitary nature appears funny or weird, Evan's ability to laugh at himself and make the audience laugh is crucial. Platt is charming as he eternally twists his shirt tails and hangs his head... Although the themes of grief and loneliness are serious, the musical is anything but somber. It addresses challenging facts of life. But from start to finish, when Evan leaves his room and finds an authentic life outside it, Dear Evan Hansen contains far more joy than sadness."

Susan Davidson, in her review of the Arena Stage production for CurtainUp, noted: "...it helps to suspend the disbelief that sullen, anti-social teenagers can change quickly. Surely that's a process requiring time-released hormonal adjustments. It is hard to accept that a long-admired- from-afar girl can change Evan's outlook on life so rapidly or that Connor's teenage disequilibrium leads him to do what he does. Coming through loud and clear, however, is the fact that what starts as deceit can be blown totally out of proportion by the Internet where lies are disseminated with lightening speed leaving plenty of victims in their wake...The music is pleasant, not terribly original but good enough to get toes tapping. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's ballads stand out, particularly Heidi's "So Big, So Small," Evan's "Words Fail" and Zoe and Evan's young sweethearts duet "Only Us.""

Charles Isherwood, in his review of the Second Stage production for The New York Times, noted: "The songs, by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“Dogfight,” “A Christmas Story”), strike the same complex notes, with shapely, heartfelt lyrics that expose the tensions and conflicts that Connor’s death and Evan’s involvement cause in both families. The music, played by a small but excellent band on a platform upstage, is appealingly unstrident pop-rock, with generous doses of acoustic guitar, keyboards and strings. It’s the finest, most emotionally resonant score yet from this promising young songwriting team."


An Original Broadway Cast Album was released at midnight on February 3, 2017. The second song on the album, "Waving Through a Window", was released as a special early download for those who pre-ordered the album. The fifth song, "Requiem", was made available to stream for 24 hours on January 26, 2017, a week before the release of the cast recording. The song was released as a second pre-order bonus the next day. The recording of the Act 1 finale "You Will Be Found" was available for a first listen online on January 30, 2017. The cast album debuted at number 8 on the February 25 Billboard 200. The cast album became available in compact disc format on February 24, 2017.


Dear Evan Hansen Wikipedia

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