Dear Evan Hansen, currently on tour in Minneapolis, is a show that illuminates what the future of the theater will look like. A future where our digital lives are not only integrated into plot but where the technology of our world of screens and projectors makes it possible to transform and stage and a story. Not only transporting us in space but emotionally as well. Making the world of the story feel as big to the viewer as it feels to the characters that inhabit the story. And I personally can not wait to see where this evolution in theater goes.
The story in this case, without revealing too much, takes place between two families from different sides of the socio-economic spectrum with children in High School. The titular Evan Hansen struggles with social anxiety and the feeling of fitting in. After a loss we see how the high school students respond in this digital age along with the fall out among the families.
I will say the show is deeply emotional. The characters within the show are dealing with anxiety and grief. This comes through not only in the acted scenes but the musical numbers as well. The result are songs that although not always musical perfect or clearly heard, ring true emotionally. There are two actors playing Evan Hansen, on Wednesday night I was lucky enough to see Stephen Christopher Anthony who wonderfully captured the emotional arc that Evan goes through.
An incredible design team immersively brings this contemporary world to life. At times making the one character on stage seem alone in a large void, and at other times make the cast of eight feel double that size. All of the design elements worked together seamlessly from Scenic design by David Korins to Project Design by Peter Nigrini, Lighting Design by Japhy Weideman and Sound Design by Nevin Steinberg.
Dear Evan Hansen is a show filled with wonderful performances and a production design and makes me excited to see where the future of theater will bring us. It is a story that teaches us that teaches us to see each other. And reminds me how glad I am that High School is in my past.
The National Tour of Dear Evan Hansen is playing at Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Orpheum Theater through June 9th. They are doing a digital lottery for $25 dollar tickets to every performance. Click here for more information about the lottery. Click here for more information about the show and how to get tickets from Hennepin Theatre Trust.