Before Dear Evan Hansen declared it goes to Broadway, it started with real-life events in Benj Pasek’s large school. Now it is among the most expected musicals of this new theatrical season.
The plot deviates from complete truth,” states Benj Pasek, one-half of the songwriting duo supporting Dear Evan Hansen, “that, in ways, mirrors a whole lot of what happens in our series.”
The new musical by Tony-nominated 31-year-olds Pasek and Justin Paul (and publication author Steven Levenson) made its world premiere in Washington, D.C., in Arena Stage, also is triggered by a passing over a decade past. Amid catastrophe in Pasek’s high school, teenagers tried to assert the late pupil as a beloved friend, similar to the literary Evan Hansen, who’s trying hard to get an identity for himself by any means possible.
“It is us needing to feel like we are linked to something and we are worthy or valuable in some manner, thus we make up something or we embellish something,” says Paul, “and that is the thing that our protagonist ends up doing.”
Ben Platt is the protagonist in the Core of Dear Evan Hansen. Evan does not quite fit in. He is awkward, he is shy, he is weird and, first and foremost, he is lonely. “I attempt to talk, but nobody could listen to,” he participates at the series, “so that I wait around for a response to appear while I am watching people pass… I am waving through a window.” His response appears in the shape of a grieving loved ones, and eventually he has found friendship.
“Evan is precisely what they want, and they’re just what he wants,” explains Platt.
Pasek adds, “The personality that we attempted to compose is a personality, I believe, that seems very, very common today. It is a character that appears at other people’s lives on a Facebook or even a Twitter feed and also wonders why he is not a part of the world, and I feel that is something which I relate to and also a great deal of individuals relate to–only visiting the world and feeling out of it. We have moved into a more electronic world, [and] I think people feel more lonely than they ever believed. He’s got a really, really difficult time connecting to individuals and feeling like he is a part of a community and also a portion of the world. He watches it scroll beyond him…”
The brand new musical lives on the planet where Facebook and Twitter are not merely the standard for teenagers and twentysomethings, they are basically required. And, when a social system paints the image of our own lives, one’s true self becomes dropped somewhere in status upgrades of 140 characters or less.
“He kind of hides behind the other edition of himself,” states Pasek, as many young adults perform in the present society; in actuality, he becomes “more familiar with himself than he ever had been in his frank self,” based on Platt.
He adds, “It is very difficult these days to actually be really at the close of the day, only that you are–bare bones, your dirtiest self–and that I believe that the show’s about someone who only kind of wants to come to terms with who that individual is.”
Though Evan is having difficulty locating himself, Pasek and Paul have a great handle on him–with the support of both Platt, whom they enlisted to play with Evan from the very start. They first met the Pitch Perfect actor when he auditioned for Dogfight in his teens; though he had been too young for a few of those marines, Pasek and Paul kept him in mind for Dear Evan Hansen.
Now all three are in it together–producing a musical and a personality from scratch, without a preexisting material. The story is totally original, which–for Pasek and Paul–is thrilling, but “also frightening since it’s totally uncharted waters,” Paul says.
It is new territory for both. Their Tony-nominated A Christmas Story, The Musical was accommodated by the iconic vacation movie, also Dogfight was also formerly seen on screen prior stage.
“As songwriters, you are aware there are moments that pop out,” states Paul on musicalizing a preexisting work. “If you are adapting something, there will be at least five minutes which are already likely to be there given to you. Regardless of what we do and where we go with the narrative, these five minutes will be tunes, even if it’s just four or five… Here, it is like: Do we even have the ideal moments to be tunes? Are we telling the perfect story? There is no map in any way. It is definitely hard. For all of us, at least for me personally, I know the viewer has made all of the difference. Up until literally our initial encouraged dress rehearsal [at D.C.], I was like, ‘Is anybody even going to get clue about what’s happening or care about the story whatsoever?’ You do not understand at all because nobody has ever noticed it and nobody has ever said, ‘Oh, this story is intriguing.’ Nobody ever made a film from it, nobody actually made a book from it, nobody actually produced a comic book from it. Nobody ever produced anything out in it! You truly don’t have any idea. I believe that has been the wildest part–do we have anything here at all? I guess we will wait and watch.”
The new musical had notable producers attached because the jog in D.C., thus a move into New York was anticipated, though Pasek and Paul were uncertain exactly what the future had in store.
“Your guess is as good as ours,” Paul mentioned about Evan Hansen until it started in D.C. “We’ve got one aim at this time, and that is to find the series in as good shape as you can and start it in Arena… Thankfully, it is not up to us exactly what happens. There is so much to be concerned about with only getting the show up here right now for all these viewers, that we actually do not have some time to consider, or worry about, what may come next, so it is a really actually freeing thing. We’ve got no pressure.”
Well, it seems like they were on something. Following an acclaimed Off-Broadway run, the series hits the Belasco November 14. Hopefully Evan Hansen will muster up enough guts to greet Broadway audiences that fall.