Dear Evan Hansen Review
So tonight I got to see the touring version of Dear Evan Hansen at the Dr. Phillips Center here in Orlando. Let me just mention that the cast for this tour is *ABSOULTELY INCREDIBLE!* And the fact that this show only has a cast of eight people still blows me away!
That being said, so here's some of my thoughts and musings I have about the show...
First, I love the music... *LOVE* it! I don't think there is a single Broadway playlist I have that doesn't include the entire of Act one of this show. It's rare that there is a show where I don't skip at least one song in an act, but I feel as though Act I of Dear Evan Hansen is about as perfect as a musical gets as far its songs are concerned.
Second, I will say that when I was first exposed to this musical, I really was not a fan, but it most certainly grew on me over time. And I think one of the major reasons why I wasn't a fan at first is that I have trouble getting into a show where I feel like I cannot connect, at least in some way, with the main character... and I still have that issue now, unfortunately.
I have kind of a love/hate relationship with this show, similar with my thoughts on Hamilton, where there are parts of the show that I seriously, absolutely *LOVE* but then there are other things that keep me from really liking it 100%.
With Hamilton it is the rap music, with Dear Evan Hansen it is the main character.
Evan is not a "good" person. And without giving away too many spoilers of the show, let's just say he gets caught up in his own lie, accidentally at first, but then throughout the show it is made very clear to the audience that Evan has a personal agenda and he's using that lie to his advantage. He's not a "likable" character by any means, and for me personally, probably my favorite parts of the narrative is when the inevitable scenario occurs where he finally gets caught up in his lie. He deserves everything that happens to him.
While Act 1 plays out like a mostly upbeat rock musical with very funny and engaging moments, Act 2 kind of plays out more like an episode of Three's Company where it is just one big "misunderstanding" after the next and the audience is just waiting for the lies that were told to finally catch up to the main character. There are a lot of moments where the audience is to feel "sad" for Evan, and while you do, you also can't help but to think "he knew what he was doing and he did this to himself."
All that being said, Dear Evan Hansen is a *GREAT* show for the music and story in Act 1 alone. While I'm not as big of a fan of Act 2, it does serve as nice conclusion to the show with a couple of good songs thrown in.
I also want to mention the staging. The minimalist sets with the "social media projections" work FANTASTIC! The entire show feels like a HUGE production, which is why I'm so amazing that there are only 8 cast members that come out at the curtain call. You look at them and think "Wait??? That's IT?!!??! That's ALL the members of this cast???" It does not feel like a small show at all!
This has been such a wonderful season at the Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando. Such big-ticket shows this season: Hamilton, Hello Dolly, Anastasia, Come From Away, Fiddler on the Roof, Jersey Boys, etc... WOW!!! And the recent announcement of for next season is bringing some of my all-time FAVORITE shows back to Orlando! Miss Saigon and Les Miserables, which I've recently seen the updated productions are FANTASTIC NOT TO BE MISSED! Along with some of my recent favorite Broadway shows Mean Girls, Aladdin, and other classic My Fair Lady, 2019/2020 is going to be another stellar year for Broadway in Orlando!
If you are a local to Orlando we highly recommend getting season tickets, or if you are in town for the theme parks, be sure to check their schedule and add a Broadway show to your vacation plans! https://www.drphillipscenter.org/