Dear Evan Hansen is a new musical on Broadway right now in the Music Box Theatre. I’m unfortunately not one of the lucky ones who’s been able to see it but the soundtrack was recently released and I want to talk about it.
WARNING – this may be an incoherent jumble on my fangirling. soz/not soz in advance
So I don’t know about you, but I love musical theatre. Like LOVE it. I’ve loved it since I was about 2 when I first stumbled upon the VHS of Cats but didn’t really know what it was called until I was about 15/16 (musical theatre, not Cats). But man do I love it. I might even do a post on all the musicals I’ve seen with mini reviews (although I may do a separate one for Cats. I could write a whole essay on that).
Anyway. Dear Evan Hansen. Oh my goodness this is now my new second favourite musical (favourite is Cats duh). Not only is the music incredible, the lyrics and characters are ones I can relate to. The main character, Evan, has social anxiety and the musical follows his journey through the bereavement of someone he knew. It has a bit of a Perks of Being a Wallflower vibe but (I’m hoping) still quite different.
Okay, the only thing I can actually comment on right now is the music. But boy is there stuff to comment on so here we go.
This is the only soundtrack that has ever made me teary eyed. Seriously, Disappear and You Will Be Found had me almost bawling. What I love, specifically about You Will Be Found, is that harmonically it’s quite simple. It follows, generally, a four chord sequence as well as 7s, maj7s, sus4s and add9s (probably, I’m just guessing) to add some colour, but the instrumentation, voices and lyrics just lift it and the first time the chorus happens, I just breakdown. It’s got such a wonderful, cheesy yes, but wonderful and important message. Another part to point out, the section where there are snippets of various clips and news people talking about a speech that the character of Evan had made with the chorus gradually building behind it, the climax just makes me so emotional and, whilst it’s not happening in the real world, it gives off the feeling of the whole world buzzing about this topic which gives me hope (that was one long sentence wow).
Disappear is also an incredible song. The lyrics are so relatable and oh my goodness; “No one deserves to be forgotten, No one deserves to disappear”. Again, it gives me hope.
Waving Through A Window I just have to mention of course, one of the big songs. I literally relate to every single lyric of that song. There has never been a song like that for me. There’s been some where I relate to some or most of it, but not all of it. I endeavour to do a cover of Waving Through A Window (follow me on twitter to see if it actually happens).
For Forever is such a beautiful song about a sweet friendship and the reprise of it is so incredible and unusual for a finale song. Usually finale songs are the huge ensemble numbers with a huge dramatic finish so this is in contrast, incredibly small and quiet. However it has a really beautiful nostalgic touch to it with the soft chorus. I don’t want to criticise this musical, because it’s beautiful and I love it, but to really add to that song, I think it might’ve been more effective to not have the end chord after Evan has sung his last line. Whilst finishing the cadence off helps audiences to realise it’s the end of the show and brings the piece to a close, though at the risk of being all pretentious and hipstery, leaving off the chord at the end gives the sense that life goes on, after tragedy, after death, life goes on. But I do like the soft ending though, just to be a little more “symbolistic” might’ve been nice.
Words Fail. My. Goodness. What. A. Song. The bringing back of lyrics from Waving Through A Window had me shaking. The second half of the song I think illustrates anxiety so well but in a way that not only people with diagnosed anxiety can understand, but “normal” people can as well, especially as it’s sparked from a particular event (I’d just like to say though anxiety is feeling that way 24/7).
I want to talk about the other songs but I think I’d be repeating myself but I also love Sincerely Me, Requiem and Only You (as well as the others of course).
Now I haven’t talked about the singers behind the song yet. Right now, the musical has Ben Platt and Laura Dreyfuss in the lead parts. If you’re a Gleek like me, you’ll know or at least recognise Laura Dreyfuss as one of the newbies in season 6 and admittedly that is how I found out about the musical. Ben Platt, I reckon more of you will know from Pitch Perfect who played the nerdy friend, Benji (can we all also take a moment to appreciate that character’s incredible Star Wars room though). Holy moly can that boy sing. I mean Words Fail just sounds like a difficult song to pull off, technically and emotionally. But man. Oh man. He. Is. Good.
I’m really glad that a musical like this, that has a main theme of mental health illness is coming to light and is competently competing with the likes of Hamilton, which in turn is a very good and important musical, just about different things. Additionally I’m really glad that it deals with anxiety which is often overlooked when talking about mental health illnesses (which is crazy as so many people have it).
I want to say that this is a musical that I’ve needed for so long and I so desperately want to see it so if anyone can buy me a ticket and flights to New York… 😉
Anyway, I hope you liked my little essay/thoughts on Dear Evan Hansen. Have you been lucky enough to see it? What are your thoughts? Let me know down below!
You can buy tickets for the show via their website HERE and check out the soundtrack on Spotify.