As a girl who’s listened to almost every show that’s been on Broadway before, I can safely say that the cast album of the newest hit show, ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ will ignite emotions in you that you didn’t know existed. The lyricists, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, have hit gold on this ‘Next To Normal’ esque show.
The story behind the show requires a box of tissues and the knowledge that this show is essentially just a show, though the story behind it seems closely related to reality. Without giving too much of the plot away, the story follows the lonely Evan Hansen, as he forges emails to a student at school who recently committed suicide, named Connor. Connor’s family suspects nothing of the emails, and is glad to know that Evan and Connor were friends, since they assumed he had no friends. The show continues with Evan attempting to keep up the lie as his past friendships begin to become rocky while he devotes more of his time to keeping Connor and his fictional relationship alive.
One of my favorite songs in the show, ‘Waving through a Window’, is a song sung by Evan, where he talks about being lonely in his life, and how he feels like life is just passing him by, while he ‘waves through a window’, and watches the world go on without caring about him. In this song, the popular mantra Evan asks himself is initially introduced. He sings, “When you’re falling in a forest and there’s nobody around, do you ever really crash, or even make a sound?”
This mantra of Evan’s is also reintroduced in the song ‘Disappear’, where one of Evan’s close friends talks about disappearing from the world. During the song, Evan realizes that he doesn’t want Connor’s memory to disappear from the minds of his friends, and from this, creates a charity entitled ‘The Connor Project’ to help students thinking of committing suicide, and spread love to all. The organization gains immediate attention, especially after Evan gives a short speech, from the song, “You Will Be Found”. These two songs, while they run into each other, are some of the most moving and realistic songs in the entire show.
I’ve dealt with my fair shares of tragedy in my own life, a few of them to suicide, and this musical’s realistic tone jump-starts my tear ducts, and bring up emotions that sometimes aren’t as easily expressed. It’s not easy to say to someone that you’ve thought about suicide or depression, and I personally think it’s due to the fact that few of us have been told it’s okay to have these thoughts and talk about them with one another. Like many revolutionary musicals, ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ is another way that us, as a community and society, can talk about these hard subjects. It’s easier to share love with one another, and instead of letting words fail in your mind, let the music speak for itself.