Shows D

DEAR EVAN HANSEN A coming-of-age stage musical : Music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul : book by Steven Levenson. Second Stage Theatre, Off-Broadway - March - May 2016 (season) Music Box Theatre, Broadway December 2016 STORY Act 1 Evan Hansen is a bullied 17-year-old who suffers from social anxiety. His therapist, Dr. Sherman, recommends that he write letters to himself detailing what will be good about each day. His mother, Heidi, suggests that he ask people to sign the cast on his arm to make friends. The wealthy Murphy family consists of parents Cynthia and Larry and their children Zoe and Connor. Cynthia and Heidi wonder how to connect with their sons (Anybody Have a Map?). At school, Evan meets Alana, a precocious classmate, and Jared, his only family friend. Both Alana and Jared notice his broken arm, but neither sign the cast. Evan then runs into Connor, who believes Evan is making fun of him, resulting in Connor pushing Evan to the ground. Connor’s sister Zoe, on whom Evan has a crush, feels obligated to apologize for her brother’s behavior. Evan wonders if this is his destiny in life. (Waving Through a Window). Evan writes a letter to himself, wondering whether anyone would notice if he were not there. All his hope is focused on Zoe, since his crush on her is the only thing that brings him happiness (Waving Through a Window [Reprise #1]). He encounters Connor again, who now offers to sign Evan’s cast. Connor finds Evan’s letter on the printer and reads it; he becomes furious at the mention of Zoe, thinking Evan intended for him to see the letter in order to make fun of him. He storms out, taking the letter with him. Evan is in an intense state of anxiety over what Connor might have done with the letter and tells Jared online about his assignment to write letters to himself (Waving Through a Window [Reprise #2]). Evan is called to the principal’s office and is told by Connor’s parents that Connor died by suicide days before, with Evan’s letter found in his pocket, which they believe is a suicide note addressed to him. Evan attempts a denial, but Cynthia sees Connor’s name on his cast, only strengthening their belief. Evan goes to Connor’s house for dinner. Jared had instructed him to nod and confirm to avoid making things worse, but Evan is awkward and uncomfortable, so he lies, pretending he and Connor had been best friends, emailing each other from a secret account. Evan starts recounting a fictional version of the day he broke his arm at an abandoned apple orchard the Murphys had visited (For Forever). When Evan gets home, Heidi mentions hearing about Connor’s death, but Evan tells her not to worry and that he didn’t know Connor. After realizing he needs evidence of his supposed secret email account, Evan enlists Jared’s help in creating fake, backdated email conversations between himself and Connor (Sincerely, Me). After Evan shows the Murphy family Connor’s emails, Cynthia is ecstatic that her son had a friend, but Larry is hurt that Connor took his family and his privileged life for granted. Cynthia tries to show Zoe the emails, but they argue again. Zoe still refuses to mourn Connor (Requiem). Despite this, after reading the suicide note, Zoe notices that she is mentioned and asks Evan why Connor would say that about her. Evan, unable to tell her the truth, tells her all the reasons he loves her under the guise of Connor saying them (If I Could Tell Her). Overcome with emotion, he impulsively kisses Zoe, but she pulls away and tells him to leave. At school, Evan enlists Alana and Jared’s help in founding The Connor Project to keep Connor’s memory alive. The three pitch the idea to the Murphys, who agree to support the project (Disappear). Moved by his dedication, Cynthia gives Evan Connor’s necktie and asks Evan to wear it when he speaks at Connor’s memorial service. At the official launch of The Connor Project, Evan’s speech about Connor, during which he suffers a panic attack but composes himself, goes viral. Zoe, overcome by the impact her brother and Evan have had, kisses him (You Will Be Found).