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Dear Evan Hansen Gets RAVE REVIEWS!


Dear Evan Hansen opened at the Music Box Theatre on December 4th to RAVE REVIEWS! Check out BroadwayWorld.com’s Review Roundup:

Review Roundup: DEAR EVAN HANSEN Opens on Broadway – All the Reviews

December 4
7:20 PM2016

Review Roundup: DEAR EVAN HANSEN Opens on Broadway - All the ReviewsDear Evan Hansen, the new musical with a book by Obie Award-winner Steven Levenson, score by Tony Award nominees Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, and direction by three-time Tony Award nominee Michael Greif, opens on Broadway tonight, December 4th, 2016, at the Music Box Theatre (239 W 45th St).

A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. Both deeply personal and profoundly contemporary, Dear Evan Hansen is a new American musical about life and the way we live it.

Lets see what the critics had to say!

Charles Isherwood, The New York Times: What’s more, this gorgeous heartbreaker of a musical, which opened at the Music Box Theater on Sunday, has grown in emotional potency during its journey to the big leagues, after first being produced in Washington and Off Broadway. Rarely – scratch that – never have I heard so many stifled sobs and sniffles in the theater.

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: The show was already impressive in its lauded off-Broadway premiere at Second Stage Theatre earlier this year, directed with as much vitality as sensitivity by Michael Greif. But the characterizations now seem even more fully lived-in and the connective tissue among the ensemble – whether playing biological or adoptive family, young lovers or high school acquaintances thrust into an uneasy friendship of convenience – has genuine sparks. The entire cast of that earlier production returns minus one, with Michael Park reprising the role he originated in 2015 at Arena Stage in D.C.

Adam Feldman, TimeOut New York: What does it look like when a star is born? In the case of Ben Platt, the astonishing young actor who plays the title role in Dear Evan Hansen, it’s a bit like an actual birth: beautiful but strange and wet, tinged with confusion and danger. Evan is painfully introverted; he has no friends in high school, and even the thought of talking to a girl he likes, Zoe (the poignantly unaffected Laura Dreyfuss), makes his palms perspire. Platt’s performance extends that to his whole body; when he sings, his face often gleams with sweat. Yet the effect is not off-putting; Evan is immensely lovable, even when he makes terrible mistakes. He speaks in rushes of instant regret, as though frantically digging a hole to bury himself in, and his intense awkwardness is filtered through first-rate comic timing, high-wire dramatic acting and a gorgeously expressive tenor voice.

Jesse Green, Vulture: The big problem in writing great musicals is not the difficulty of writing great songs. The big problem is that the songs, great or not, are cannibals, picking the stories clean and leaving a pile of bones. It’s a zero-sum system. In musical dramas the problem is even worse, as innumerable failed adaptations of huge 18th-century novels have proved. (They often seem like Cliffs Notes of Cliffs Notes.) But when a musical drama clicks, an amazing fusion event occurs: The songs and the story enlarge each other in the process of becoming inseparable. Think of Sweeney Todd or, more intimately, Fun Home. And now add to the list Dear Evan Hansen, which opened tonight in a production beautifully directed by Michael Greif. I called the Off Broadway production at Second Stage this May “the feel-anxious musical of the season.” But it is even better on Broadway, so fine in its craft and rich its gathering of themes that, like the best works of any genre, it rewards being seen again – and again.

Melissa Rose Bernardo, Entertainment Weekly: Leaving a new musical with a great song or two running through your head is a rare but exciting thing. Leaving with about 10 great songs running through your head is pretty much unheard of. But that’s the power of Dear Evan Hansen, which just opened on Broadway after a world premiere at Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage and a stint at Second Stage Off-Broadway.

Linda Winer, Newsday: Finally, there is Platt (the “Pitch Perfect” movies), with his astonishing vocal nuance and his rare ability to communicate bunches of conflicting feelings with just a frown and a hurt, hopeful smile. His portrayal of catastrophic, perhaps autistic alienation is so astute in the early scenes that, when Evan miraculously heals up, we feel a little guilty for missing the old one.

Tim Teeman, The Daily Beast: Given how it loads its dramatic and moral dice, and the swings of tone between comedy and terrible tragedy, the question is what will collapse when the truths are revealed in Dear Evan Hansen. Well, it doesn’t supply what you might expect from some musicals and dramas about teen suicide, our truth-dissembling online worlds, and an extreme case of fabulism. Dear Evan Hansen is beautiful to look at it, slickly directed, and moving, but also biting and subversive-and so may have more to say about teen suicide, parenting, and internet lunacy than the most finely worded op-ed column.

Jeremy Gerard, Deadline: Platt seems more to inhabit Evan than to merely portray him. The halting delivery of soulful lines, the arms that flutter out in birdlike spasms as if grasping for logic or reason and, most of all, with a voice that rises from assured tenor to plaintive falsetto all conspire to bring this character to life. Evan could be cousin to The Glass Menagerie‘s Laura Wingfield.

Steven Suskin, Huffington Post: The formerly promising young songwriters Pasek and Paul, who created an interesting score for Dogfight and a surprisingly accomplished one for the holiday show A Christmas Story, are promising no more; their talent is thoroughly realized with Dear Evan Hansen, one of the strongest scores in years. The songs are not merely tuneful and funny and touching; Pasek and Paul can plumb the inner depths of their characters and rip through emotions in words and music. And as contemporary as their new score is, it should be added that their three musicals have demonstrated that they are equally adept in varied musical theatre styles.

Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune: And what makes “Dear Evan Hansen” yet more extraordinary is how all of the teenage nuance explored so exquisitely by Platt, all of this fledgling character’s hope and hesitation, is baked formatively into the score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, a youthful duo I’ve deeply admired since first hearing their score to, all of all things, “A Christmas Story” in Chicago. The link between that retro show and this thrillingly contemporary exploration of the trials and pitfalls of late adolescence is not as distant as one might think.

Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News: The current theater season is only about halfway over. No matter. It’s still a sure bet that when it comes to thrilling and unforgettable moments few will rival the one that comes 15 minutes into the dazzling “Dear Evan Hansen,” at the Music Box Theatre. Yes, that special.

Matt Windman, amNewYork: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“Dog Fight,” “A Christmas Story”), a young and extremely promising songwriting duo, have crafted a haunting soft rock score that is neatly integrated into Steven Levenson‘s captivating book. Michael Greif, director of “Rent” and “Next to Normal,” presents a tight and compelling production built around finely-textured ensemble acting and a seamless visual design of shifting panels and floating video imagery. Platt is giving one of the most vulnerable and shaded performances you’ve ever seen. He is terrified, enigmatic and completely believable.

Christopher Kelly, NJ.com: Allow me to be a dissenting voice: Having seen “Dear Evan Hansen” twice now — with its wildly implausible storyline and its repetitive pop-rock score — I am mystified by the enthusiasm for it. Maybe the show’s celebrants are responding to the creators’ willingness to tackle such dark themes, or the admittedly hard-working performance of star Ben Platt (Benji in the “Pitch Perfect” movies), who plays the neurotic title character. But laudable ambitions can’t disguise the fact that nothing about “Dear Evan Hansen” makes very much sense.

Mark Shenton, The Stage: How thrilling it is that Broadway, a place largely turned into a destination to make money not art, is still capable of producing shows that are genuinely bold, daring and confrontational. With Hamilton and the recent arrival of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, there’s plenty to challenge and provoke already. Dear Evan Hansen adds to New York’s impressive musical slate.

Robert Feldberg, Bergen Record: Viewing “Dear Evan Hansen” a second time, at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre, where it opened Sunday, I found I had much firmer feelings than when I first saw it. When I attended the off-Broadway production in May, it seemed a musical of many parts, some good, others shaky, and I don’t think I fully digested the whole. In my repeat visit, I felt, first, that I had vastly understated Ben Platt’s performance by calling it “affecting.” He’s remarkable.

Peter Marks, Washington Post: “Historic” is an adjective I’ve rarely used to describe a performance, but a review that does not invoke it for Ben Platt’s incandescent turn in the ravishingly bittersweet “Dear Evan Hansen” would be doing it less than justice.

Marilyn Stasio, Variety: The very thought of a Broadway transfer of “Dear Evan Hansen” might chill the blood of theatergoers who loved this bittersweet show when it played in the intimate setting of Off Broadway’s Second Stage Theater. But through the alchemy of Michael Greif, who directed the original productions at Arena Stage and at Second Stage, Broadway’s Music Box Theater proves a perfect fit for this sensitive musical starring a sensational Ben Platt as a neurotic misfit trying to survive senior year in high school. As for the music and lyrics by Benj Pasekand Justin Paul: Not since “Next to Normal” has a score tapped so deeply into the troubled psyche of its needy protagonist.


Dear Evan Hansen is a Hit!

Check out all of the RAVE REVIEWS:

Critics Review Dear Evan Hansen Starring Ben Platt

The new musical by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Steven Levenson officially opened Off-Broadway May 1. Here’s what critics are saying.

Dear Evan Hansen HR05.jpg
The Cast of Dear Evan Hansen (Matthew Murphy)

Second Stage Theatre presents the New York premiere of the musical from the Tony and Emmy-nominated songwriting team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul ( Dogfight, A Christmas Story), and book writer Steven Levenson ( Masters of Sex). Following a one-week extension announcement, the Off-Broadway engagement will now play through May 29.

Ben Platt ( Pitch Perfect, Spring Awakening) stars in the title role of a high school outsider who gets swept up in a deception that shakes two families to their cores.

Broadway producer Stacey Mindich and a host of commercial producers are attached to the show.

Reviews are now in. Check back for updates.


Entertainment Weekly

The Hollywood Reporter

The Huffington Post

NBC New York


New York Daily News

The New York Times

Time Out New York


Washington Post

The Wrap

Sparked by a real-life death at Pasek’s high school more than a decade ago, Dear Evan Hansen follows one student’s struggle for identity amidst the ensuing chaos. The production had its world premiere last summer at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. It is directed by Michael Grief ( Next to Normal, If/Then) and choreographed by Danny Mefford ( Fun Home).

The cast also features Laura Dreyfuss, Mike Faist, Rachel Bay Jones, Will Roland, Jennifer Laura Thompson, John Dossett, Kristolyn Lloyd, Becca Ayers,Gerard Canonico, Asa Somers and Remy Zaken.

“All his life Evan Hansen has felt invisible. To his peers, to the girl he loves, sometimes even to his own mother, describe production notes. But that was before he wrote the letter — that led to the incident — that started the lie — that ignited a movement – that inspired a community — and changed Evan’s status from the ultimate outsider into the somebody everyone wants to know. But how long can Evan keep his secret? And at what price?”

Scenic design is by David Korins with costume design by Emily Rebholz, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Nevin Steinberg and projection design by Peter Nigrini. The musical director is Ben Cohn, and the music supervisor is Alex Lacamoire.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting 2ST.com, calling the box office at (212) 246-4422 or visiting the Tony Kiser Theatre, located at 305 West 43rd St.

A Rave for Snapshots in Everett!

Village Theatre’s sweet ‘Snapshots’ captures a marriage in time

By Gale Fiege
Herald Writer
EVERETT — After 20 years of marriage and a lifetime of friendship, Dan and Sue don’t really talk much anymore.

Their son is now grown and gone, Dan is a workaholic and Sue is ready to leave home.

She writes a note, grabs her suitcase from the attic and hopes to sneak away. But Dan returns from work early and finds her in the attic. Sue throws a blanket over the suitcase.

While standing there, the couple uncovers a box of snapshots. As they look through the photos, their memories come to life.

Village Theatre’s production of “Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook” — opening its three-week run tonight at the Everett Performing Arts Center — is a romantic (and touching) comedy, but it doubles as a clever way to celebrate the songs of award-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz.

The musical features 26 songs from 12 shows including “Pippin,” “Wicked,” “The Magic Show,” “Godspell,” “Enchanted,” “The Baker’s Wife,” “Children of Eden,” “Personals” and “Reluctant Pilgrim.”

When Schwartz heard in the early 1990s about Michael Scheman’s and David Stern’s concept for the revue show, he gave his blessing. When they finally had a rough draft, Schwartz joined the project and adjusted some of his songs to better fit the story.

Village Theatre got involved in the project in 2005, when “Snapshots” made its debut in Issaquah as a Village Originals developmental production. Since then, the show has been staged in other small-scale theaters as the writers worked to polish the script.

Now, Village Theatre’s mainstage production marks the final stages of development.

Capable and well-known Village veterans Beth DeVries and Hugh Hastings play Sue and Dan.

The funny Mallory King is Susie, the child and the teen version of Sue. Ben Wynant plays Danny, Dan’s goofy younger self. With this production, King and Wynant also are returning to the Village stage.

New to Village Theatre, Tracy McDowell plays Susan and Jim DeSelm is Daniel — the college grad, young professional and then newly married couple.

At first, it’s easy to wonder about the time travel involved in the show, but it isn’t long before the audience is taken in by the talents of the cast and their ensemble work.

As usual, the Village Theatre scenic, costume, lighting and sound designers have done a great job and the directors and stage managers have pulled it all together.

See this musical. Laugh. Cry. Enjoy the music of Stephen Schwartz.

And don’t be surprised if you see couples holding hands as they leave the theater.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @galefiege.

If you go

“Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook” opens Oct. 23 and runs through Nov. 15 at the Everett Performing Arts Center. For tickets, call the box office at 425-257-8600. More at www.villagetheatre.org/everett.

Snapshots is a Hit!!

The reviews are in, and they are universal: Snapshots is a hit!

“The Schwartz songs, with almost 50% of the lyrics new compared to their original form, are a feast for the ear…”Talkin Broadway

“…despite the songs’ disparate sources, many share an emotional tenor — soul-bearing, bright-eyed, unashamedly sentimental…”The Seattle Times

“A lovingly crafted crazy-quilt of sound & story”Heed the Hedonist

“….Stephen Schwartz’s endearing songs and lyrics keep us engaged in this bittersweet tale.”Seattle PI

“Hysterically funny and heart-achingly poignant.” “The emotions will elicit tears of laughter and tears of sorrow.”Issaquah Press

“…it’s a truly universal story, which a lot couples can relate to.”Seattle Gay Scene


Make sure you buy your tickets now:

Issaquah: Now through October 18, 2015

Everett: October 23 – November 15, 2015

Tucson: November 28 – December 19, 2015

Phoenix: December 30 – January 17, 2016