My Problem With Dear Evan Hansen

Will I ever be more than I’ve always been? – Evan Hansen (Waving Through A Window)

Broadway musicals weren’t always my thing, and still isn’t so much so. I only know Le Miserables, and the revolutionary historical musical, Hamilton by Lin Manuel Miranda. So, it’s only a couple, and mostly the mainstream musicals.  But this year, There’s a new fast-growing mainstream musical that’s gaining all the attention in Broadway, that it’s touted as this year’s Hamilton. The show Dear Evan Hansen is undoubtedly becoming the most popular musical of the year. The show has already won the 2017 Tony Awards for Best Musical, along with several others. It has a great range of cast, with starring the lovable Ben Platt as the main character, Evan Hansen. The show was written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, with being supervised by the legendary Alex “Lackety Lack” Lacamoire who orchestrated Hamilton the year before.

But as the title explains, this post is going to talk about the few flaws that I see in the musical.

  1. Zoe’s relationship with Connor
    Based on the Requiem, we know that Zoe endured some time of abuse from Connor, to end up with the line “you weren’t the monster, that I knew.” That line is pretty deep for someone who’s supposed to be in grief. That signifies the trauma that Zoe endured was bad enough. Yet, in the show, nothing was addressed regarding that relationship and trauma. Somehow everything was supposed to be okay again and that trauma is healed in If I Could Tell Her. And it’s just lazy to end up with Zoe wanting to forgive Connor instantly. Some degree of reconciliation would have been better to show, especially when it could talk about the victims of abuse and how they could reconcile with themselves, and especially with their former abusers.
  2. Everything in Good For You
    This is the only song that I dislike in the Dear Evan Hansen original Broadway Cast Soundtrack. It feels like, it’s forced? Heidi, Evan’s mother part is somewhat plausible but could have been put in a softer tone. Alana and Jared’s parts are just too irrational and unreasonably angry. Everything with it sounds wrong.
  3. In the end, everything about Connor is faked.
    At the end, Evan tells that everything that he said about his relationship with Connor is a lie. So, that leaves us with absolutely nothing that tells about Connor Murphy’s character. Just that he was an abusive guy who killed himself. In the end of the musical, only Evan told Zoe that one part about Connor’s book review in grade school or something, but that’s the only one positive character trait that was shown in the whole musical that was not a lie. It sucks that a character was given no clear development like that, and only to be left behind hanging. His issue with depression was not discussed, and his overall relationship with his anyone is lied upon.

Now those several points that I have problems with are my own personal dislikes, but that doesn’t ruin the whole musical in any way. I still love Dear Evan Hansen, and a lot of the tracks I could relate to in real life (I cried the first time listening to it on the bus, and it was an ugly sight to see). So by all means, if you could relate to a musical about a boy who’s anxious, having a hard time blending in society, and troubled by the expectations set onto him, Dear Evan Hansen is worth a listen.

 

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