DEAR EVAN HANSEN – Cleveland loves you

Mom always said, “You should never lie, because once you tell a lie, one lie leads to another and another…” Evan Hansen should have heeded this advice, as his tailspin into false stories, social media, and popularity unfolds in mysterious ways in the musical DEAR EVAN HANSEN, which plays the Connor Palace at Playhouse Square now through June 30, 2019.

Ben Levi Ross as ‘Evan Hansen,’ Aaron Lazar as ‘Larry Murphy,’ Christiane Noll as ‘Cynthia Murphy’ and Maggie McKenna as ‘Zoe Murphy’ in the First North American Tour of Dear Evan Hansen. Photo by Matthew Murphy. 2018.

The tear-jerker production is created by a team of Broadway heavy-hitters, with book by Tony Award-winner Steven Levenson, music and lyrics by Grammy®, Tony® and Academy Award® winning writers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman), and direction by four-time Tony® nominee Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal).

The contemporary story is a modern take on the timeless topics of loneliness, loss, bullying, friendship, and the love between parents and children.

Single mom Heidi Hansen (played by Jessica Phillips) works long hours, leaving her teenage son Evan Hansen (played by Ben Levi) on his own many evenings. Evan is timid, slight, and speaks with a rapid-fire, run-on-sentence style that wreaks of the pungency of anxiety. But Evan is a good kid, and Heidi tries to get him over his fears about socialization by encouraging him to go out and make friends, and by sending him to a therapist. The therapist has encouraged Evan to write an uplifting letter to himself each day, starting, “Dear Evan Hansen,” and this is supposed to help him see the good things ahead.

Ben Levi Ross as ‘Evan Hansen’ and Jessica Phillips as ‘Heidi Hansen’ in the First North American Tour of Dear Evan Hansen. Photo by Matthew Murphy. 2018.

Evan writes himself a letter that states, “Today is going to be an amazing day, and here’s why.” But the letter later turns darker and lonely, ending with, “I wish that anything I said mattered, to anyone…. would anybody even notice if I disappeared tomorrow?” Unfortunately, when Evan hits PRINT in the computer lab at school, a troubled boy named Connor (played by Marrick Smith) is the one to pick it up. Connor gets mad because he sees his sister Zoe’s name in it, accuses Evan of trying to make him mad, and runs off with the letter in his pocket.

Evan panics about what will happen to that letter, afraid that Connor (a dark and angry soul) will make it public, humiliating Evan in front of the world. But what happens next is even stranger, as a few days later Evan is called into the school office. Connor’s parents (who Evan has never met) tell him that Connor killed himself and left a suicide note addressed to him. Why would Connor have a letter that started “Dear Evan Hansen” in his pocket when he died?

The Company of the First North American Tour of Dear Evan Hansen. Photo by Matthew Murphy. 2018.

Seeing Connor’s parents in so much pain, Evan finds himself unable to tell them the truth. He wants to help them, so he makes up a story about how Connor was his best friend. This is a surprise to them, as Connor had no friends. But Evan tries to comfort them with the insistent falsehood of friendship and good vibes. The lie has been planted. The seed has been watered. The tree of trouble begins to grow.

As Evan gets deeper into the well-meaning but bad plan, he begins spending time with Connor’s parents (played by Christiane Noll and Aaron Lazar) and his sister Zoe (played on the review night by understudy Ciara Alyse Harris), for whom Evan has strong romantic feelings. Meanwhile, Evan’s mom feels like she hardly knows him any more – her shy, awkward son has suddenly become more social, and an unwitting co-president of a group to keep Connor’s memory alive.

Fellow lonely souls join Evan’s crusade to remember Connor through school and social media. Family friend Jared Kleinman (played by Jared Goldsmith) and go-getter Alana Beck (played by Phoebe Koyabe) are pulled into the pit of falsehoods (Jared willingly, Alana unknowingly). Social media explodes. Relationships are tested. An orchard is planted.

Christiane Noll as ‘Cynthia Murphy’ and Jessica Phillips as ‘Heidi Hansen’ in the First North American Tour of Dear Evan Hansen. Photo by Matthew Murphy. 2018.

With 6 Tony Awards, and a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album, DEAR EVAN HANSEN also can brag about these statistics:
* 8,832,373 – the number of times “You Will Be Found” has been streamed on YouTube.
* 427,400 – the number of times #DearEvanHansen has been mentioned on social media (so far)
* 891 – the number of arm casts used on Broadway and the North American Tour
* $1.5M – the dollars raised for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS

The emotional production has a great interactive set, consisting of a backdrop of layered vertical panels that continuously stream various social media. Simple set pieces are brought in throughout – a couch, a bed, a dining area. The set is enveloping. The clothes are current. The sound (although sometimes a bit too quiet) and lights are complementary. The music is catchy. The talent is stunning. The voices are real. The story will remain with you forever.

DEAR EVAN HANSEN plays the Connor Palace at Playhouse Square now through June 30, 2019. Do not miss your chance to hear the heart-filling songs, receive the powerful messages, and experience a unique show for all generations, regardless of technical or social media know-how.

Phone: 216-241-6000

UPDATE – 06/18/19 (5:05PM)
DEAR EVAN HANSEN is offering fans access to a select number of $25 Lucky Seats for each performance on tour!
To enter the CLEVELAND lottery, CLICK HERE!

A limited number of tickets for each performance will be sold to fans selected via random lottery drawing. Each selected winner shall be entitled to purchase a maximum of two (2) tickets at $25 each (inclusive of a $1.00 per ticket handling fee), or $50 total. To enter, type your information in the form above and press the “Submit entry” button. Only one entry per person per performance. Duplicate entries and disposable email addresses will be discarded.

Entries for the lottery for each performance will be accepted until 9:00 AM CT the day before the performance. Notifications will be sent to fans who are selected to purchase lottery tickets and those who are not via e-mail at approximately 11:00 AM CT the day prior to the performance. Fans selected to purchase lottery tickets will also receive a text SMS message (if mobile number is furnished provided the entrant also checks the text consent box).

Trouble with the lottery link? Cut and paste it into your browser:


Act 1
“Anybody Have a Map?” – Heidi, Cynthia
“Waving Through a Window” – Evan
“Waving Through a Window” (Reprise #1)* – Evan
“Waving Through a Window” (Reprise #2)* – Alana
“For Forever” – Evan
“Sincerely, Me” – Connor, Evan, Jared
“Requiem” – Zoe, Cynthia, Larry
“If I Could Tell Her” – Evan, Zoe
“Disappear” – Connor, Evan, Alana, Jared, Larry, Cynthia, Zoe
“You Will Be Found” – Evan, Alana, Jared, Zoe, Company, VC (virtual community)

Act 2
“Sincerely, Me” (Reprise)* – Connor, Jared
“To Break in a Glove” – Larry, Evan
“Only Us” – Zoe, Evan
“Good for You” – Heidi, Alana, Jared, Evan
“For Forever” (Reprise)* – Connor
“You Will Be Found” (Reprise)* – Alana, Jared, VC
“Words Fail” – Evan
“So Big/So Small” – Heidi
“Finale” – Evan, Company
*Not included on the Original Broadway Cast Recording

Published by Kate Klotzbach

After writing for Examiner for 7 years, I brought my content to a new venue! Founded in June of 2016. I'm a Musical Theater graduate of Ohio Northern University and a long-time performer, arts lover and former stage manager. I spent 3 years touring the U.S. with VEE Corporation, and am a proud Cleveland Singing Angels alum. Lover of Cleveland, chocolate, coffee, dogs, scary movies, Cards Against Humanity and (of course) my awesome family. PLEASE BE SURE TO "FOLLOW" MY BLOG FOR ALL OF THE LATEST UPDATES AND POSTS!

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