Interview with Mike Faist, Laura Dreyfuss & Will Roland
We recently attended our affiliate partner Broadway.com's 2017 Audience Choice Awards and met up with three of the stars of the smash hit Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen - Mike Faist, Laura Dreyfuss and Will Roland.
Mike picked up the award for "Favorite Breakthrough Performance (Male)" for his efforts as Connor Murphy, whilst Will took home the award for "Favorite Funny Performance" for his portrayal of Jared Kleinman, and Laura won two awards - "Favorite Breakthrough Performance (Female)" and "Favorite Onstage Pair" (shared with Ben Platt) as Zoe Murphy. All in all, Dear Evan Hansen managed to secure an impressive total of 8 Audience Choice Awards this year.
In addition, Mike is also nominated for his first Tony Award this year in the category of "Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical." He made his Broadway debut in the popular Disney musical Newsies. Laura previously appeared on the Great White Way in the 2011 revival of Hair and in the Broadway premiere of Once, whilst Dear Evan Hansen marks the Broadway debut for Will.
Thomas Hayden Millward: Congratulations on all your awards, folks! Does this whole “receiving of accolades” malarkey ever get old?
Mike Faist: So over it! (Laughs)
Will Roland: I’m so over it too! (Laughs)
Laura Dreyfuss: (Laughs) No. This has actually been the most exciting for us because it is the audience’s choice. We love our fans and it’s been such a great journey with them. It’s been really exciting to feel recognised by them. It’s an honour.
THM: And speaking of “journeys,” you guys have been doing this for a while now and you also already went through last year’s Awards Season with the off-Broadway engagement of ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ at Second Stage Theatre. Does it feel like a long journey to you or like you only just started yesterday?
WR: You know, I think that this show has definitely been on a long journey. But this part of it – the off-Broadway run last spring and the Broadway leg of the journey – has been so incredible. It’s wonderful to work with this group of people, so the sort of extra-curricular activities are made more fun by the fact that we don’t hate each other and we like going out to things together.
THM: Can we confirm the lack of mutual hate, Mike and Laura?
MF: Yeah, we can confirm that.
LD: Well, it’s not quite confirmed… (Laughs) Just kidding!
THM: On paper ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ might seem like it might have a bit of a niche demographic with lonely teenagers, but – certainly on the night I attended – there were theatregoers there from all generations. What do you think gives the musical its multi-generational appeal?
MF: I think we’re living in a time right now where we’re so connected via social media – FaceBook and all those sort of things – but feeling so disconnected from each other. So I think what the musical does is that it says something that I think people are having a hard time communicating. What we’re seeing is that young adults are actually bringing their parents, parents are bringing their kids and they are trying to communicate something to each other. They need to be seen and they need to feel connected. I think we’re living in a time where loneliness is growing and the show sheds a light on that.
LD: Yes, it definitely speaks to multi-generations. We have mothers who want to see the show and bring their kids. We have kids who bring their mothers. It’s starting conversations within families and that’s pretty much the coolest thing for us to see.
THM: Looking back to your own High School days – which I know weren’t really that long ago – would you have considered yourselves outsiders? Were you jocks? Geeks? Or did you belong to any other form of social stereotypes?
WR: I was definitely sort of a Class-President-Over-Achiever-type, but I was also the class clown. I definitely put myself out there a lot. I don’t know what I was trying to prove, but I was really working at it. (Laughs)
LD: I was definitely the “weird drama girl,” who just loved to be in all the plays.
MF: I was in the theatre group and I didn’t really enjoy high school at all. So I actually graduated early just to get out and move to New York and do theatre! I didn’t really see myself fitting in anywhere.
THM: Well, you’re certainly fitting into this tight-knit group on Broadway now. Thank you all for taking the time to speak to us.