By: Allison Upchurch, Staff Reporter
One of the most anticipated Broadway tours of the season has just launched right down the street from Regis University! Playing for the first time outside New York City and then hitting the road to perform in multiple cities across the country, Dear Evan Hansen*is a modern-day musical that shows audiences what it means to spread a message of support and perseverance through all kinds of difficult personal circumstances.
This Tony Award winning show tells the story of high school senior Evan Hansen (played by Ben Levi Ross) and how he ends up in the middle of the attention that surrounds the death of his classmate, Connor Murphy (played by Marrick Smith). Evan is mistaken by the Murphy Family for being Connor’s only friend based on a letter they had found in Connor’s possession. Evan does what he thinks may help the grieving family by teaming up with classmates Alana (played by Phoebe Koyabe)and Jared (played by Jared Goldsmith)to create The Connor Project, a social media community to memorialize Connor and to promote the importance of wanting to be inclusive of everyone’s presence and voice in society.
The show reinforces the modern-day atmosphere because of how social media is used as a physical aspect of the show’s experience. Media feeds, word documents, and photos are flash up on panels strung across the forefront of the stage as the show plays out to reinforce the daily communication of the characters, and the outreach The Connor Project receives on a global scale. The music for the show was written by the Oscar winning duo behind the songs in La La Landand The Greatest Showman, and has been crafted to present rhythmic anthems of hope and finding a voice in such songs like “Disappear” and “You Will Be Found”.
Dear Evan Hansen takes conversations about mental health, sympathy, and crisis support and puts it into a story that attempts to show how these characters are similar to the people that surround the nature of everyday life. The show acknowledges that these characters are important to show because it opens up opportunities to forge connections to help others in need of support. This idea can actually be connected to one of the Jesuit values that is emphasized here at Regis – Cura Personalis. In the characters’ acknowledgement of building connections and using their voices to make a change, the show emphasizes the importance in having concern and caring for the whole person in mind, body, and spirit.
Dear Evan Hansen played at the Buell Theater at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts until October 13.
*Author’s Note – In getting the opportunity to see Dear Evan Hansen, some difficult topics of suicide, depression, and mental health are frequently brought to an audience member’s mind. If you or a loved one feel that these issues may be too alarming, please take this into account in deciding whether to see this show or not. If you do find yourself troubled from these issues personally, please reach out to the wonderful counselors at the Office of Counseling and Personal Developmentto make an appointment to get personalized support and find additional resources for 24/7 help.