Congratulations to Dear Evan Hansen for its Tony Award nominations! From the time I first heard Ben Platt sing “Waving Through A Window” weeks before the show even hit Broadway, I decided I had to see the show as soon as it came out. So, see it I did during previews in November 2016. AND IT WAS AMAZING!!!
And how a propos that the nomination occurred this past week during Mental Health Awareness Month, as the theme of the show is high school students struggling with social anxiety, drug addiction, depression and suicide. Yes, it’s a pretty deep theme for a musical, but the cast, music and overall production are so amazing that the show has been sold out for weeks especially with the Tony Awards coming up on June 11th. Thank you to the amazing cast, crew, director and producers for bringing such an important topic to the Broadway stage!
Ben Platt’s voice and acting were out-of-this-world-good. No one else would be able to carry out the role of Evan the way he’s been carrying it out since the show hit the Broadway stage last November (oh, excuse me, since the show was first performed in Washington, DC from July 10, 2015-August 23, 2015 and then Off-Broadway from March 26, 2016-May 29, 2016).
It’s not surprising that Dear Evan Hansen has garnered 9 Tony nominations, and I would be extremely surprised–not to mention, disappointed–if it doesn’t win at least Best Actor in a Musical and Best Score for the amazing lyrics of Oscar-winning La La Land lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. It was these lyrics in addition to the cast’s vocals that helped the musical’s cast recording to debut in the Billboard album chart’s top 10….the first time for a Broadway musical recording to do so since the 1960s. Yes, you heard right! Hamilton didn’t even debut in the Billboard album chart’s top 10 (it debuted at #12). After the Dear Evan Hansen album was officially released on February 3, 2017, it landed in the #8 spot on the Billboard 200 chart, and in so doing, it becomes the highest-charting musical since Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot debuted at #4 in 1961. Yes, you heard right! It’s only one of 4 musicals to earn a top 10 Billboard spot in the past 50 years other than Hamilton, Book of Mormon, and the original 1969 production of Hair!
Here’s the video of the April 25, 2017 performance of “You Will Be Found” on the Today Show. I cried from the moving lyrics while at the show, just as watching the intensity of the singers singing the emotional lyrics brings tears to my eyes each time I watch this video (I watched it about 5x in a row after I stumbled across it on the Internet this afternoon)…until I finally decided to write about this on my blog. Here are the lyrics.
We need more shows like this (similar to Chicago Med) that show regular people–regular people like Evan or even like me (I had postpartum depression but most people around me didn’t know I even had the condition until I opened up months or even years later via my blog)–living around us that are struggling to cope with some sort of mental illness but you wouldn’t know it unless they shared that with you. Mental illness is not just about some “nut” or “psycho” that’s dangerous to others…..nor is it something that you can control and “snap out of” at the blink of a finger or via spa treatment or buy buying yourself something nice.
We decrease stigma and shame by normalizing mental health issues. And why wouldn’t we? After all, just to give you an example of how prevalent depression is, according to statistics, approximately 14.8 million adults–or 6.7% of Americans aged 18 and older–are affected by it in any given year. Shows like Dear Evan Hansen brings much-needed awareness to mental health challenges that are very much a part of all too many people’s lives, people like Evan Hansen. Like Evan, all too many people need help but go unnoticed.
Dear Evan Hansen connects us all.
If you live in the NY metro area, I recommend you see this show. If you’re not in the NY metro area, I recommend you listen to the full Broadway recording on Youtube.
Here are some other important Suicide Prevention Resources:
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Hopeline (800-SUICIDE)
- To Write Love On Her Arms