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Dear Evan Hansen: A Story That Needs to Be Heard

Dear Evan Hansen is a story that everyone needs to hear. This production had me on my feet before the first bow even happened, and I wasn’t the only one. The opening night of Dear Evan Hansen, directed by Michael Greif at the Ellen Eccles Theatre was well received by the audience which filled the sold out theatre. The Broadway tour of Dear Evan Hansen is back at the Eccles Theatre in Salt Lake City and runs through March 5th.

Dear Evan Hansen takes you through a spectrum of emotions as everyone can relate to some part of this beautiful musical. The book written by Steven Levenson tells a heavy, but beautiful story of finding yourself struggling to fit into a fast paced and sometimes cruel world while reminding you that you are not alone. The music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul bring the story to life with songs that touch your soul. Dear Evan Hansen makes you want to be a bigger part of the good in the world and find it for those who are struggling to see it.

Photo by Evan Zimmerman

Anthony Norman (Evan Hansen) played the awkward and anxious teenager who tugged at your heart strings from curtain to curtain. His flawless performance of “You Will Be Found” brought tears to many sitting throughout the theatre. Norman did an incredible job of showing the audience how to be ok with just being yourself after a hard road of twisted lies and stories that only temporarily changed his life. His mother (Coleen Sexton), brought an energy to the stage that was the perfect contrast to Norman. Watching them struggle throughout the show made the musical number at the end even more beautiful. As Sexton sang “So Big, So Small” you felt her pure love all while watching the hardship of being a mother trying to be enough. Whether you are a parent, teenager, or someone who has struggled with fitting in, this show will find it’s way into your heart.

The stage was filled with screens that flashed the world through social media, emails, and text messages which was an incredibly effective way to submerse you in the overwhelm of modern technology as well as the good and bad that it can provide. This production is beautiful, yet heavy as it deals with themes of loneliness, family struggles, and suicide.

Photo by Evan Zimmerman

Alaina Anderson (Zoe) portrayed a rollercoaster of emotions as she processed the death of her brother both missing him and not wanting to think about him at the same time. Anderson, with flawless vocals showed incredible acting skills as she was able to move through the emotions of her character.

Two characters who really stood out were John Hemphill (Larry Murphy) and Lili Thomas (Cynthia Murphy) who played Connor’s parents. Watching Hemphill and Thomas live through the grief of loosing a son was an emotional journey. Thomas pulled on your heart as you watched her ache for her child while also holding onto any good memory she could. I was incredibly impressed by the power that she showed while grieving and searching for answers.

The resonating message that “No One Deserves to be Forgotten” and “You Are Not Alone” is one that Dear Evan Hansen brought home. The standing ovation as the final number ended was a testament to the beautiful story told by an incredible cast.

Dear Evan Hansen runs through March 5th at the Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah

To get your tickets call (801) 355-ARTS (2787)

March 2, 2023

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