Dear Evan Hansen – Worth The Ticket?


Julia outside of the show before the musical began.

By Julia Matuszek, Video Editor

Disclaimer: There are spoilers about this musical throughout this story. 

The Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen premiered on December 4, 2016, in the Music Box Theatre in New York City and has had tremendous success. It has won Tony for Best Musical, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Ben Platt), Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Rachel Bay Jones), Best Orchestrations, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Score, and a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. The musical has reached Hamilton status.

The musical focuses on the title character, Evan Hansen, as he gets caught up and tangled in a web of lies. Hansen deals with anxiety and is writing a letter to himself as a coping mechanism. He prints the letter, but Connor Murphy finds it and reads it before Hansen has time to it. In the letter, Hansen reveals his lonely thoughts as well as his crush on Connor’s sister, Zoe. Murphy confronts Hansen and keeps the letter.

Days later, as Hansen is still worrying about what he will do with the letter, news breaks out that Murphy has committed suicide. Murphy’s parents find Evan’s note in their son’s jacket and that’s when the lie starts. They believe the note to be his suicide letter, and seek out Evan as it is “addressed” to him. Evan creates a lie that he and Connor were secret best friends, which results in him becoming close with the Murphys, dating Zoe, starting a foundation for Connor, and attempting to keep up with his lies.

In Chicago, the musical is running through March 10 at the James M. Nederlander Theatre (formerly the Oriental Theatre). Evan Hansen is being portrayed by Ben Levi Ross, Connor Murphy by Marrick Smith, Zoe Murphy by Maggie McKenna, and Heidi Hansen by Jessica Philips.

Overall, the cast and their chemistry were natural and believable, especially the relationship between Evan and his mother, which left no one in the audience dry-eyed. My only complaint about the cast was that the romantic relationship between Evan and Zoe seemed very forced in some moments of the show, but not enough to take away from the musical as a whole.

The cast’s singing was breath-taking, reaching every octave imaginable. I noticed however that when there were two or more actors singing at the same time, the microphones would have a hard time picking it up correctly and it would come out scratchy. This, however, was compensated for by the live band that hit every cue perfectly and played beautifully.

The costumes were normal street clothes, so nothing crazy there — but I believe that’s a positive element because it made the characters more real and relatable. The set was captivating and engaging, and it used transparent screens to portray social media and the Internet, which helped the audience not only visualize what was being discussed but it added an extra element to the show that brought it all together in the end- it was the finishing touch.

In my opinion, although tickets for the Chicago show ranged dramatically in prices, tickets being $185 to $346 (roughly),  there was no bad seat in the theatre, as everything was visible from all angles. I sat on the far left side and still heard and saw everything perfectly fine, without having to strain my neck. The tickets aren’t cheap, but in my opinion, they are well worth it.

The musical is captivating, engaging, relatable to everybody in one aspect or another, and has everything a good musical should: comedy, romance, drama, and amazing vocals. In my opinion, the musical is well worth the ticket, no matter where you sit.