Heralded as this season’s “Hamilton,” the new Pasek and Paul musical “Dear Evan Hansen” is already selling out the Music Box Theatre after opening this past December. The remarkable show about a high school senior who becomes involved in the turmoil following a classmate’s suicide has captivated the hearts of almost everyone who has seen it. Its bold storyline and relatable characters are part of why the show resonates with so many people. Since we hope this show keeps running “for forever,” here are some reasons why “Dear Evan Hansen” could very well sweep this year’s Tony Awards:
1. The Names Associated With the Show
Pasek and Paul already have a strong following in the musical theatre community through shows such as “A Christmas Story” and “Dogfight.” One of their prouder moments was earlier this year when they each won a Golden Globe for their work on “La La Land.” Furthermore, the show’s phenomenal cast, starring Ben Platt (“Pitch Perfect”) and Jennifer Laura Thompson (“Urinetown), effortlessly make the music and lyrics come to life.
2. The Original Broadway Cast Recording’s Immediate Success
Cast recordings for other shows, such as “The Book of Mormon” and “Hamilton” rapidly achieved success after they were first released. In addition to ticket sales, the early success for a cast recording often influences the show’s popularity among the Tony committee. At this rate, the acclaim for “Dear Evan Hansen” can only go up from here.
3. The Story Is Relatable and Relevant
Characters such as Evan Hansen exemplify the awkwardness and anxiety felt in many high school students feeling desperately out of place. The song “Waving Through a Window” perfectly captures the essence of an outcast waiting to be recognized by his peers. Just as “Hamilton” was relevant because of its color-blind casting of historical figures, “Dear Evan Hansen” is relevant for its stance on preventing and coping with teen suicide.
4. The Music’s Contemporary Sound
For the past decade, musicals such as “Next to Normal” and “Kinky Boots” have thrived on having elements of rock and disco music in their respective scores. Some songs in “Dear Evan Hansen” would not be out of place on soft-rock radio formats and sound as if they could have been written by someone like Ed Sheeran. The music’s fresh, borderline-pop influence is sure to be a plus among audiences and Tony voters.
5. The Musical’s Inspiring, Feel-Good Message
The dynamic character development keeps the show fascinating to audiences and creators alike. Similarly, the idea of positively affecting someone’s life even after tragedy is part of what makes it such as remarkable musical. The show makes the point that no matter how alone or lost you may feel at any point in your life, you will be found.