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The hugely acclaimed and multiple award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen arrives on the West End stage having made a name for itself across the pond. Beginning life at Washington DC’s Arena Stage, its initial success took it to New York City’s iconic Broadway only a year later, propelling lead Ben Platt – among a stellar cast – into a household name.
The show’s music, penned by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, has played an equally huge part in both the musical’s global reach and in its immeasurable relatability. The original Broadway cast recording bagged the Best Musical Theatre Album accolade at the 2018 Grammy Awards, with many fans arriving through the theatre doors having heard the songs countless times ahead of witnessing the story unfold on stage.
Alongside its hopeful story and sleek stage production, the show has fast risen to the top tier of musical theatre. Now, as the musical settles into London’s West End, here’s everything you need to know about Dear Evan Hansen.
Dear Evan Hansen follows the title character as he navigates the spiralling fallout of a well-intentioned lie. The musical merges themes of family, trust, loneliness, friendship and an overarching need to fit in.
As Evan is torn between enjoying newfound acceptance and questioning the actions that have led him there, Dear Evan Hansen delves into the impact of social media on relationships, and just how easily a simple lie can grow.
The West End production of Dear Evan Hansen welcomes newcomer Sam Tutty in the role of Evan, joined by Lucy Anderson as Zoe Murphy, Rebecca McKinnis as Evan’s mother Heidi, Lauren Ward as Cynthia Murphy, Doug Collins as Connor Murphy, Rupert Young as Larry Murphy, Jack Loxton as Jared Kleinman, and Nicole Raquel Dennis as Alana Beck.
The role of Evan Hansen is played by Marcus Harman at select performances.
Sam Tutty shines as Evan Hansen, a teenager whose spur-of-the-moment lie changes the very trajectory of his life. Following the discovery of a note and reluctant to cause more upset, Evan finds himself emotionally intertwined with a new family, as well as traversing his increasingly complicated relationship with his own mother.
Driven by a desire to belong, Evan’s life spirals as the lie grows, represented brilliantly by the technologically complex backdrop that dominates the Noel Coward Theatre’s stage. Taking a poignant dive into the world of social media, e-mail, and viral video, Dear Evan Hansen explores their opportunity to both create new online lives and to alter everyday realities.
Tutty delivers the palpable anxiety of Hansen with a notable ease. His nervous mannerisms continue into his vocal delivery, one that envelops the theatre and easily places the emerging actor as a West End standout.
The musical is underpinned by its award-winning score, harnessing simplicity to carry its powerful emotion. Unlike many of its West End contemporaries, Dear Evan Hansen removes the grandiose in favour of the real. The result is altogether grittier, delivered by a strong cast of only eight and unfolding in a relatively stripped back setting.
Leaving itself with nowhere to hide, Dear Evan Hansen thrives on its masterclass performances, its relatable music and lyrics, and its atypical story – one that sits brilliantly between the unimaginable and the entirely possible.
“A superb, unmissable musical.” – The Independent
“Something quite extraordinary. A musical not like any other. Desperately powerful and startlingly relevant.” – WhatsOnStage
“Engaging with the real word in a way most musicals simply don’t, Dear Evan Hansen carves out bold new territory.” – Evening Standard
“It’s easy to see why Dear Evan Hansen has won so many fans… It mixes astonishing tension with surgingly catchy songs by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.” – Time Out London
Dear Evan Hansen is currently booking until 30 May 2020 at London’s Noel Coward Theatre.
The show runs for approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes with one intermission.
Tickets to see Dear Evan Hansen at London’s Noel Coward Theatre are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.
Photos by Matthew Murphy