Dear Evan Hansen

When I first heard about this show and got excited for it, I was dating a girl that could quote the entire musical verbatim and knew all the songs by heart. By the time I had moved to New York City and the possibility of seeing it on Broadway became a likely reality, my cousin was dating the sister of one of the original stars of the show. By the time I saw the show? Both of those relationships had dissolved but at the very least I managed to walk in still barely knowing even a semblance of the plot. At some point I naively may have believed I’d interact with the original Connor and due to our bond we’d make in a single dinner, he would play the titular character of my work in progress musical and finally win his own Tony award. Did that happen? It didn’t and I do have my cousin to blame for it. It’s also true that that thought has never actually crossed my mind until I wrote that sentence but it sounded better than just saying it would’ve been nice to have met the guy even though I’ve never seen him do any theater but I hear he’s pretty good. I’m more just impressed with myself that I managed to actively avoid listening to songs, revealing the plot for an entire year. Is it that hard to avoid Broadway musical songs when you don’t actively search for them? It’s extremely easy, though us humans are impatient creatures so I’ll still give myself a pat on the back for doing something so simple.

I never edit these blogs and this is the first time I think I actually did. It’s not like I changed much, just a paragraph that I wrote and upon rereading made next to no sense. I think the words were nice and they sounded intelligent even if the sentence itself was poorly structured. Or maybe it was the best sentence I’ve ever written in my life and I thought I had to dumb it down for the uneducated masses. Let’s go with that one. The one thing I do remember is that when I planned to write this last Saturday and I was thinking about it Friday, I made a comment to a friend about the variety of topics I hoped to hit in this review. I’m at around 500 words already and I maybe hit on just one of the topics and I barely gave it the attention I originally intended. That’s just some inside scoop into my hastily crafted writing process.

One of the reason’s I was desperate to watch Evan was the fact that I don’t allow myself to listen to songs from a show until I’ve seen the show. I haven’t heard an entire song from Hamilton ever and l sure would like to. Though I seem to have poor luck over and over and over again trying for those 10$ lottery tickets, one of these days. With some shows, I’ll give some leeway. I think it’s fair to think I’ve heard a song or two from Oklahoma and that’s the only example I can even think of. AlLastso a lie. I have only heard one song from Oklahoma. I’m a real stickler for the rules honey. To be fair, the only reason I thought the songs were any good was because a former flame raved about them. And it did win a lot of Tony awards and I guess that means I’m susceptible to the marketing hype. Before I start espousing about the medium is the massage, I’ll move onto hitting more of the comments that I promised myself I would make.

Last year, my friend Effy had the privilege and honor of spending a month with me in Alabama in the middle of lonely July and August. How does this apply to Dear Evan Hansen? It doesn’t really. I’ll make it apply though. Even if Newsies is more known for its choreography and ensemble, I came out of the show listening to singular duet for the entire next year. That song was entirely a cheesy duet and I think I just enjoyed the saccharine sap for being so bad it was good. That brings me to finally commenting on Dear Evan Hansen. Or have I already commented on it? I’m not entirely sure. I started this a couple of days ago and since then have flown across the country, have had Christmas activities, and due to my no editing policy, there’s no way I’m going to go back and delete redundancies. The point I’m trying to make is that since I last saw Dear Evan Hansen, over a week ago, not a single day has gone by without me listening to the soundtrack. This is not in a way where I think, “Oh boy, what a load of crock that lyric is.” This is more in a sense of them being relatable lyrics that I can feel a personal connection to. Which sounds a bit contrite since a key song/plot point of the show is about everyone connecting to Evan Hansen after a speech he makes goes viral. Is that bad though? Oh wow, a song that’s relatable and catchy and deals with depression and mental health stigma? Maybe I should be celebrating its effect rather than feeling too mainstream by relating to it.

There was no need to make a paragraph break here, but for people who like to start reading 800 words into a review, here will be my strictly Dear Evan Hansen comments. It is a tale of two plays. The rise and fall of Evan Hansen. The first half is light and breezy and speaks about rubbing nipples. The second half punches you in the gut and then holds your head underneath the water of emotional feels only letting you up for air as you’re on the precipice of what you think you can take. Maybe it’s just that I could relate to Evan Hansen, be it his fall from a tree, or his crafting a made up friendship and riding that lie as far as he could. I haven’t done his same specific actions in life, but the thought processes behind some of the things he did were strongly resonating with me throughout the entire show. I did not cry and yet there were tears that welled up inside. Contrary to Evan Hansen who spent almost the entire second half either crying or looking like he’d just finished bawling his eyes out. How do critics write a thorough review without spoiling plot points? I feel I could express my comments about Dear Evan Hansen better but I would have to chronologically go through the play and critique every single song and accompanying scene. The point is, the first half ends on a climax of rising action and then comes crashing down in the second half as ones lies are always to be exposed when they get too big. Look, it probably would’ve been easier to describe and write all of this if I didn’t write this damn post over like 4 days now? Interesting factoid though, there was not a bar at this theater. Just a man standing around wearing a cooler who sold wine. It’s this hard-hitting atmosphere analysis that my reviews are known for. Also, people really need to learn bathroom etiquette. I don’t know specifically what I’m referencing when I say this, yet I’m entirely sure that something happened during intermission that peeved me.

Knowing I’ve written 1300 words or so now, I think it’s time to bring this to a close. Not because I couldn’t say more or cut out half of what I wrote, but rather just to train myself for the word limits that the NYTimes will obviously hinder me with. You’re telling me they won’t want 5,000 words where I can’t regurgitate a single comment about the actual show? Regardless, the show lived up to the hype for me. The show, which my personal desire outlived my own relationship, my cousin’s relationship, John Kelly’s career, and so much more. Though some things in my live may have dissolved, the Dear Evan Hansen fire kept burning. Now it burns even stronger as I can finally listen to the songs and already work on my top tracks of 2019 on Spotify. I’m excited that my own family will get a chance to see this when it comes to Orlando, I’m excited that more people in general will get to see it as it tours. Most of the time when I over hype something in my head, it inevitably lets me down. Dear Evan Hansen was one of the rare cases where it exceeded what even I had built it up to me. You will be found. Actually putting that song title right there makes no sense even in context and I could’ve done that in a much better way. Woops. So it goes.


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