Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Dear Evan Hansen
As for the acting - overall despite the youth and inexperience of the cast - it was indeed superlative, and in Ben Platt's (Evan Hansen's) case - (once this show makes it to Broadway) Tony Award Winning stuff. Seriously, it was that good. Mr. Platt takes the mannerisms, verbal ticks, quirks, and eye movements of a shy, anxious, socially awkward boy and makes you believe he really is. His staccato verbal style, pregnant pauses, and nervous laughter is real. His emotion and actual tears on the stage are quite literally present and true. His vocals are angelic and the songs/lyrics by Messers Pasek and Paul are quite literally haunting. Although I will make note that way too many songs had wild swings in octave which forced Mr. Platt into and out of his falsetto voice way too many times. His cast mates Mike Faist (Connor Murphy) and Will Roland (Jared Kleinman) support Mr. Platt well. It's a fine young ensemble cast, the look of the stage, digital and the sound, electronic.
Indeed, I cried at multiple points at the show. I was upset, I was disturbed, I was sad for Evan Hansen. But those tears were often tears for the sad and tragic situation he created. I was crying for his predicament. Some would argue that is the achievement of theatrical empathy. I would agree with that theatrical analysis, except I was more upset at what he did rather than for him.
At over 2h:35m (at my performance) the show, which is known to be heading to Broadway after this run, is also way too long. There is much to be cut and if asked I could readily suggest at least 3 different scenes that could be scrapped. This show should probably come in at 2 solid hours including the intermission.
Much like Evan, I too am tortured and torn. This show was so good, yet so disappointing all at the same time to me.