Everything you need to know about 'Dear Evan Hansen' on Broadway
Dear theatregoer, today is going to be a great day and here's why: You can learn all about Dear Evan Hansen's characters, songs, fun facts, and more right here.
Anybody have a map to the Music Box Theatre? That's where you can see Dear Evan Hansen, the hit musical by Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul that's been playing on Broadway since 2016. The titular character is a lonely, anxious high school student who entangles himself in an unwieldy lie in an effort to connect with his peers. His story, though, affirms that there is a place for everyone to feel loved and accepted. Or, as the show's most famous song goes, "you will be found."
If you will be found at the Music Box in the near future, we've got all you need to know about Dear Evan Hansen beforehand, from venue and running time information to fun facts. Teens and adults alike will enjoy this entertaining, cathartic show, so if you and your family haven't seen a show for forever, this is a great one to check out. So to paraphrase Evan Hansen's letters: Dear reader, today is going to be a great day and here's why: You can learn all about Dear Evan Hansen and then grab your tickets. Sincerely, us.
What is Dear Evan Hansen about?
Dear Evan Hansen centers on a teenager, the titular Evan Hansen, who struggles with social anxiety and loneliness. He is an outcast at his high school with only one friend, Jared, and is often bullied. His therapist gives him an assignment to write letters to himself about the good things that will happen each day. In one of these letters, which he writes at school, he mentions Zoe Murphy, the girl he has a crush on. However, Zoe's brother and a bully of Evan's, Connor, gets a hold of the letter. Angry that it mentions his sister, Connor takes the letter from Evan.
Shortly afterward, Connor dies by suicide and is found with Evan's letter, which his parents think Connor wrote. Evan, not wanting to devastate them further, lies and confirms their belief, and pretends that he and Connor were friends. The Murphys take Evan under their wing and start to think of him like a son. Evan doesn't want to reveal the truth because he feels accepted for once: He becomes closer with Zoe, and the Murphys are more attentive to him than his own well-meaning mother, who works often. Soon, he even founds "The Connor Project" in his classmate's honor and unwittingly starts a viral movement for inclusion and acceptance. But he eventually has to figure out how to tell the truth about his relationship — or lack thereof — with Connor that got blown out of proportion.
Where is Dear Evan Hansen playing?
Dear Evan Hansen is playing at the Music Box Theatre, which is located at 239 West 45th Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. The musical was originally set to play the Belasco Theatre but was moved to the Music Box shortly before premiering on Broadway. The theatre opened in 1921 and was constructed for songwriter Irving Berlin and producer Sam H. Harris, who wanted to host music revues there and came up with the venue's name.
How long is Dear Evan Hansen?
Dear Evan Hansen runs at 2 hours and 35 minutes, with one intermission. This is a standard running time for a Broadway musical. Most run approximately two and a half hours, give or take, with one 15- or 20-minute intermission.
What days is Dear Evan Hansen playing?
Dear Evan Hansen plays eight performances a week at the Music Box Theatre. The show typically runs Tuesday to Sunday, with two performances each on Saturdays and Sundays. For the most up-to-date weekly performance schedule and show times, please visit the Dear Evan Hansen page to learn more.
When did Dear Evan Hansen premiere?
Dear Evan Hansen premiered on Broadway in 2016, but the musical had been in the works since 2014. Learn all about the development history of Dear Evan Hansen, from its first workshops to how it would be found on Broadway and beyond.
- 2014-2015: The first developmental readings of Dear Evan Hansen took place. Three readings took place in New York in 2014 — at Pearl Studios, Chelsea Studios, and Manhattan Movement and Arts Studio — and a fuller-fledged workshop took place at Gibney Dance Center, also in the city, in 2015. Ben Platt was part of the process from the start, acting in all these readings and workshops.
- July 2015: Washington, D.C.'s Arena Stage put on the world-premiere production of Dear Evan Hansen. Michael Greif directed, and he would go on to helm the New York productions of the show.
- May 2016: Dear Evan Hansen had its Off-Broadway premiere with Second Stage Theater. New cast members John Dossett and Kristolyn Lloyd joined the D.C. cast members. Danny Mefford joined the creative team as choreographer.
- November 2016: Dear Evan Hansen begins Broadway performances. All the Off-Broadway principal cast returned, with the exception of Dossett, who left to perfom in another Broadway musical, War Paint. Michael Park, who played Dossett's role of Larry in D.C., rejoined for the Broadway production.
- October 2018: Dear Evan Hansen launches its first national tour, with Ben Levi Ross in the title role.
- March 2019: Dear Evan Hansen had its first international performance in Toronto, Canada, at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.
- November 2019: Dear Evan Hansen opened in London's West End at the Noël Coward Theatre, where it is still playing.
Who wrote Dear Evan Hansen?
Dear Evan Hansen features a book by Steven Levenson, and music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Levenson made his Broadway debut as a writer with Dear Evan Hansen, but he'd been represented as a playwright off Broadway with works like The Language of Trees, Seven Minutes in Heaven, Days of Rage, If I Forget, and The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin.
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are collectively known as the composing duo Pasek & Paul. The two previously wrote the lyrics for the Oscar-winning film La La Land, and they shared the Best Original Song Oscar with composer Justin Hurwitz for the film's song "City of Stars." The two also wrote the songs for The Greatest Showman starring Hugh Jackman, season 2 of the Broadway-inspired TV show Smash, and the upcoming live-action remake of Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Dear Evan Hansen based in part on the death of a student that occurred at Pasek's own Philadelphia high school. At first, Pasek and Paul's musical was going to be a "'condemnation of some people's desire to insert themselves into tragedies," Paul said in an ABC News interview, since Pasek recalled lots of students suddenly claiming to be the deceased student's friend in the aftermath. The pair later shifted the focus of the musical to explore why that happens: "What experience does someone have that they're in such a place that when given any opportunity to fib a little bit, [they] say that they had a connection to someone that they didn't have a connection to?," Paul told ABC.
Dear Evan Hansen characters
Dear Evan Hansen centers largely around two families: the Hansens and the Murphys. The title character serves as a link between the two, as well as to the other supporting characters that are his high school classmates. Here are the major characters in Dear Evan Hansen.
- Evan Hansen: A lonely teen with social anxiety that is an outcast at his high school. He pretends to be friends with a classmate who died to comfort the classmate's parents, but his lie ends up spiraling out of control.
- Connor Murphy: A classmate of Evan's who is also an outcast, though he and Evan were never friends. He dies by suicide early in the show, but his spirit shows up throughout the show within Evan's mind.
- Zoe Murphy: Connor's younger sister and Evan's crush. She is reluctant to mourn her brother and even says she hated him, but she finds comfort in Evan, who, in pretending to be Connor's friend, is seemingly her only way left to get to know her brother better.
- Heidi Hansen: Evan's single mother. She works during the day and attends school at night, so she and Evan spend little time together, and even less so when Evan takes to the Murphys.
- Cynthia Murphy: Connor and Zoe's mother. She is trying to keep her family together but is having a difficult time, and she takes to Evan as though he were like her son after Connor's death.
- Larry Murphy: Connor and Zoe's father, who is often busy and distant.
- Alana Beck: An classmate of Evan's who involves herself in tons of activities to help her chances of college admission. In the film, her character is expanded, and she takes the lead on developing The Connor Project.
- Jared Kleinman: Evan's only friend, who he knows through his family. He is sarcastic, with a dry sense of humor.
Dear Evan Hansen songs
Dear Evan Hansen includes 19 songs, 17 of which are featured on the Broadway cast album. You'll only hear the first reprise of "Waving Through a Window" and the "Sincerely, Me" reprise at the actual show. Some of the most well-known songs include "Waving Through a Window," "For Forever," and "You Will Be Found," which has become an anthem of hope and acceptance for many fans. Here are all the songs in the Dear Evan Hansen musical.
- "Anybody Have a Map?" – Heidi, Cynthia
- "Waving Through a Window" – Evan
- "Waving Through a Window (Reprise #1)"* – Evan
- "Waving Through a Window (Reprise #2)"* – Alana
- "For Forever" – Evan
- "Sincerely, Me" – Connor, Evan, Jared
- "Requiem" – Zoe, Cynthia, Larry
- "If I Could Tell Her" – Evan, Zoe
- "Disappear" – Connor, Evan, Alana, Jared, Larry, Cynthia, Zoe
- "You Will Be Found" – Evan, Alana, Jared, Zoe, Company, VC (virtual community)
- "Sincerely, Me (Reprise)"* – Connor, Jared
- "To Break In a Glove" – Larry, Evan
- "Only Us" – Zoe, Evan
- "Good for You" – Heidi, Alana, Jared, Evan
- "For Forever (Reprise)"* – Connor
- "You Will Be Found (Reprise)"* – Alana, Jared, VC
- "Words Fail" – Evan
- "So Big / So Small" – Heidi
- "Finale" – Evan, Company
What awards has Dear Evan Hansen won?
Dear Evan Hansen was met with rave reviews and awards to match when it opened in New York and London. Here are the major awards Dear Evan Hansen has won in both cities.
- Tony Awards: Dear Evan Hansen won six Tony Awards out of its nine nominations: Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (for Ben Platt), Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (for Rachel Bay Jones as Heidi Hansen), and Best Orchestrations.
- Grammy Awards: The Broadway cast recording of Dear Evan Hansen received the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.
- Olivier Awards: The West End production of Dear Evan Hansen received three Olivier Awards: Best New Musical, Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical, and Best Original Score or New Orchestrations.
- Off-Broadway awards: The Off-Broadway premiere of Dear Evan Hansen received multiple types of Off-Broadway awards, including two Obie Awards (for Musical Theatre and Distinguished Performance by an Actor), two Lucille Lortel Awards (for Platt's and Jones's performances), a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics, and two Outer Critics Circle Awards (for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical and Outstanding Book of a Musical).
Major productions of Dear Evan Hansen
Dear Evan Hansen has had major productions in three theatrical hubs: Washington, D.C., New York, and London. Here are the major productions of Dear Evan Hansen from its world premiere to now.
- 2015 Washington, D.C. production: The world-premiere production of Dear Evan Hansen took place at Arena Stage. The D.C. production included many of the musical's future Broadway cast members, including Ben Platt, Laura Dreyfuss, Mike Faist, Rachel Bay Jones, Will Roland, and Jennifer Laura Thompson. The show won three Helen Hayes Awards for D.C. theatre, including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Direction of a Musical, and Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical.
- 2016 Off-Broadway production: Dear Evan Hansen premiered off Broadway with Second Stage Theater at its Tony Kiser Theater.
- 2016 Broadway production: Dear Evan Hansen premiered on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre. The show received critical acclaim alongside six Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
- 2019 West End production: Dear Evan Hansen opened in London at the Noël Coward Theatre. That production was nominated for seven Olivier Awards and won three.
Celebrities who have performed in Dear Evan Hansen
Ben Platt was already known for his breakout role in the Pitch Perfect film franchise, but his star turn in Dear Evan Hansen brought him to a new level of stardom and became his best-known role. The 2021 film adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen had a starry cast all around, with Platt reprising his Broadway role alongside multiple film stars.
- Ben Platt: Platt originated the role of Evan Hansen, starring in the show from its first readings, and reprised the role in the film adaptation.
- Jordan Fisher: Fisher is known for performing in Hamilton on stage and in multiple TV shows and films, including Rent Live, Grease Live, and To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You. He assumed the role of Evan in 2020.
- Noah Galvin: Galvin played Evan on Broadway from 2017-2018 and has also appeared in Waitress. He is known for his screen roles in The Good Doctor, The Real O'Neals, and Booksmart.
- Julianne Moore: The Oscar, Golden Globe, and Emmy Award-winning actress played Heidi Hansen in the Dear Evan Hansen film.
- Amy Adams: Adams, the recipient of two Golden Globe Awards and star of the movie musical Enchanted, played Cynthia Murphy in the Dear Evan Hansen movie.
- Amandla Stenberg: Stenberg, known for their roles in The Hate U Give and The Hunger Games among other films, plays Alana Beck in the Dear Evan Hansen film.
- Kaitlyn Dever: Dever is known for her roles in films like Booksmart and TV shows like Dopesick, and she played Zoe Murphy in the Dear Evan Hansen movie.
- Nik Dodani: The actor and comedian played Jared Kalwani in the Dear Evan Hansen movie. He is known for starring in the TV show Atypical and has played Ogie in Waitress on Broadway.
Onscreen adaptations of Dear Evan Hansen
Dear Evan Hansen received a film adaptation in 2021. Ben Platt reprised his role as Evan, and the starry supporting cast includes Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg, Nik Dodani, Colton Ryan, Danny Pino, Julianne Moore, and Amy Adams. Stephen Chbosky, known for writing the coming-of-age novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower and writing and directing the film adaptation, directed the Dear Evan Hansen film. Steven Levenson adapted his own libretto into the screenplay. Though the musical received rave reviews from critics, the film adaptation, in contrast, received largely negative reviews.
The movie had some significant differences from the musical. The movie cut four of the show's songs — "Disappear," "To Break in a Glove," "Good for You," and "Anybody Have a Map?" — and added two new ones: "A Little Closer" and "The Anonymous Ones." Pasek and Paul wrote both, and co-wrote "The Anonymous Ones" with Amandla Stenberg, whose character, Alana, sings the song. The film also expanded her character and lessened that of Evan's friend Jared; changed Jared's last name from Kleinman to Kalwani to reflect actor Nik Dodani's Indian heritage; and made Larry Murphy into Larry Mora, Connor and Zoe's stepfather rather than their biological one.
Fun facts about Dear Evan Hansen
Did you know that the Evan Hansen actors wear real casts or that you can see Dear Evan Hansen memorabilia in a museum? Learn more about Dear Evan Hansen with these fun facts.
- Each actor playing Evan gets real fiberglass casts custom-molded to his arm to play the part. A new one is applied and wrapped like a real medical cast before each performance and sawed off during each intermission.
- Ben Platt is in a relationship with actor Noah Galvin, and actors Taylor Trensch and Ben Levi Ross are also in a relationship. What do they all have in common? They've all played the role of Evan Hansen — Platt, Galvin, and Trensch on Broadway, and Ross on the musical's national tour.
- The National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution has multiple items from Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway in its collection, including a blue polo shirt, cut-open cast with "Connor" signed on it, a button for The Connor Project, a copy of Evan's letter, and a piece of sheet music. Producers donated the items in November 2018 in anticipation of the Smithsonian's 2020 exhibit Entertaining America.
- In 2018, Dear Evan Hansen was adapted into a novel, parts of which incorporate scenes and songs that were cut from the musical and expand on what did make it on stage. Dear Evan Hansen actors Ben Levi Ross, Mike Faist, and Mallory Bechtel narrated the audiobook version.
- When, at 22, Sam Tutty won the Best Actor Olivier Award for originating the role of Evan in London, he set a record as one of the youngest actors to do so.
How to get Dear Evan Hansen tickets
Dear Evan Hansen offers a cathartic experience at the theatre, with grief and hope in equal measure. Amid emotional music is a heartfelt reminder that everyone can be found, accepted, and loved. Don't wait for forever to get tickets to this Tony Award-winning hit.