Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway: A Review

Last weekend I took a train from Rochester to NYC to see my friend and watch Dear Evan Hansen. I followed the hype train surrounding the show and figured after watching Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway, this show had to be top-tier. I bought the soundtrack and listened to it nonstop. I have to say it’s one of the best soundtracks for a show I’ve listened to. You Will Be Found and So Big / So Small always make me cry, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. But, Dear Evan Hansen definitely is not infallible.

The show begins with the stage open, media from different social media sites are shown with the little notification sounds playing, and a bed, Evan’s, is center stage. Lights go out and brought back to see Evan sitting on his bed trying to write the letter to himself because he has very high social anxiety, so the letter is to help boost his confidence. Does Anybody Have a Map moves along, the bed disappears on its own and in comes Connor’s family. Connor doesn’t want to go to school, and his mom tries to make him but it doesn’t help that he’s high. One of my favorite things in this play honestly is the set design.

It’s very minimalistic in design, but has a lot of technological pieces. The set of the bed, kitchen table and couch are on platforms that move on stage on their own by some machination under the stage and directed from off stage. The beds for Connor and Evan is the same with just a switch of the bedding and knickknacks. I thing the couch is done somehow similar or they just used the same one for both homes. Lighting is done well, but nothing really outstanding. These pieces really help frame the music of the play.

The music is honestly one of my favorite aspects of this musical. It’s emotional. It gets you going, and knows when to bring you back down. The dynamics are amazing. The pit is in the air and towards the back of the stage which I like as a difference from the normal put in front and below the stage.

We had a stand in for our matinée performance on Saturday, his name is Michael Lee Brown, and he is such an amazing actor. Because of the character has such high anxiety, he has these small ticks like bending his ankle whenever he gets super nervous talking to someone or moving his arms in a certain way. Michael Brown kept up the same ticks throughout the entire show. I loved his performance and everyone else in the production. I liked the decision to keep Connor popping up throughout the entire play instead of just doing a voice or something after the character (Spoiler) kills himself.

Dear Evan Hansen is a good musical. Did it deserve the Tony for best musical for 2017, in my honest opinion no. After seeing Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, even with the ridiculousness over the Pierre fiasco, is on a whole other level. But I digress. Dear Evan Hansen is a good show to see. If you can’t afford the tickets, wait for the tour because I honestly don’t think it was worth the $270 per ticket we paid for, but that’s show business. It’ll make you laugh, cry and everything in between.

 

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Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

So I need to start out with I wasn’t sure about going to this musical a couple weekends ago, it was this or Hamlet, and my one friend said “See The Great Comet, you won’t regret it!” and as I learned The Great Comet was closing the weekend after I was going to be in the city, we bought tickets. I wish I could go a hundred more times.

My friend and I went in not knowing what to expect, we both heard to buy mezzanine seats, so we did, and it was the most amazing experience I’ve ever been through. We walked in and it was like a maze finding out seats, but it wasn’t too terrible to find; we were in the front mezzanine. The first thing I noticed was the stage. They had designed a thrust stage, which means the stage goes into the audience, and we had staircases from the stage up into the mezzanine on either side. When the show began, we had actors come up in front, beside, and behind us, they explained “our” space and “their” space, and then the prologue commenced.

I’ve never seen a musical or play in a thrust theatre, but I do have to say it’s pretty amazing. Even in the Prologue song, we had actors dancing and singing in front of us. Speaking of singing, this show is completely done in song, so if you’ve listened to the soundtrack, you’ll know the basis of the show. I loved having action all around us. During “The Duel,” it turned into a rave and everyone was dressed in proper rave and or leather attire. It was awesome seeing people dance up and down the isles. The costumes were pretty cool, from 80s punk rock, to some classical russian clothing. I loved them all. The lighting was also phenomenal, I loved how they moved throughout the show, highlighting certain areas, or even representing the comet.

An interesting thing I found about the plot is the fact there isn’t really a main character. You can connect with Natasha, Pierre, Sonya, Maria, or even the secondary characters. The only character I couldn’t connect with was Prince Bolkonski, Andrei’s father. I did feel bad for Mary though, she had to stay home and watch over her crazy father while Andrei is off fighting in a war. I think if you haven’t listened to the music before hand you might have a slight disadvantage to understanding what is happening, but my friend seemed to enjoy it going in with minimal knowledge.

An interesting thing in contrast to seeing this show is we saw Alice Cooper the night before and Lady Gaga the night after and I think Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 blew both concerts out of the water. With so much going on around us, it was hard not to get swept away. I think everyone in the mezzanine was swept into their lives in Russia in 1812.

Kinky Boots on Broadway

So as soon as I heard Brendon Urie, the front man for the band Panic! At the Disco, was going to be playing as Charlie in Kinky Boots, I bought tickets. I’ve listened to the soundtrack for a little over a year now and I love the songs, I love the music, and I’ve wanted to see the show forever. Let me just say, I was not disappointed.

The show begins at the Price and Son’s Shoe Factory and we meet both young Charlie and Simmon. The set is amazing, the front of Price and Son’s Shoe Factory is a giant brick wall with a door that opens and a sign that flies into the air. The wall breaks apart into the wings for the inside of the factory which is the main area the musical takes place. There are moving parts, 4 treadmill like conveyor belts, and a center cube that can be used for multiple areas. Everything was beautifully done, and the actors moved the sets on stage.

Speaking of the actors, oh my god were they good. I knew there were going to be drag queens there, but I guess I forgot how well they can work the audience. Brendon Urie was a bit stiff at the top of the show, probably nerves or just how the character was to be portrayed at the beginning, and his voice is amazing, but I think J. Harrison Ghee stole the show. His portrayal of Lola and Simmon was spectacular. I loved Lola and the Angels. I also especially loved whoever was the announcer for the boxing scene. She was amazing! Lola’s song Hold Me in Your Heart towards the very end had me in tears, ugly crying for those who understand. Everyone did a phenomenal job. You will cry in this show.

I absolutely loved the costumes, not just the boots, but everything the characters wore, especially Lola. The boots were sexy, my only complaint is I can’t buy a pair for myself.

Honestly, with the lighting, acting, orchestra, costumes, and especially the funny moments, this is the best show I have seen in a long time. Everyone laughed, cried and gasped in just the right moments. Don’t just see Kinky Boots because Brendon Urie is the new front man, see it for the message and the people that shine. Just Be Who You Want to Be!

A Few New Things

So I know I’ve been away for a few months, but I have a few new things to work with. I was hired at DG at the end of January. Something happened and I didn’t begin training for two months. It sucked, but here we are today and I’m finally working on learning to be a cashier and stocking and everything else it requires. My friend asked me to be her assistant stage manager, and I would be insane not to, so now I’m also working on my local theatre group’s production of The Wizard of Oz this summer, but meetings and auditions start in 2 weeks.

During both of these things, I’m going to NYC in June to see Kinky Boots and Brendon Uri is going to be a lead! Then after show week in August, I’m going to Long Island to see my friend and to see Alice Cooper and Lady Gaga and maybe Hamlet. This is going to be insane.

So here’s my thing. I am going to try to write more. I need to. I miss it, I just don’t feel like the muses are there. I’m going to try more, and I hope to bring my stories back to life. I know most of you won’t care, but I just figured I would post an update to what is going on in my life.

New Adventure Ahead

So just as an update, I now have a job at Dollar General, once the background check finally goes through, and I’m going to NYC in August! I hope the place that is doing the background checks is quick, but I am really happy I finally have a job. I am a little sad that it is not an editing job, or something in publishing, but it is better than nothing, and I know the manager, so I hope it won’t be awkward. Until my hours are figured out, I don’t know when or how often I will be posting new pieces.

Next is NYC. My cousin from Germany is coming over in April. She wants to see NYC, and maybe a show so that’s happening. I think my mom wants to go to NYC during her vacation, so that is another broadway show to see I think in July. And then in August, my friend scored us two tickets to the Lady Gaga show! I am super excited for it plus he wants to see Alice Cooper the Saturday before that show so it’s going to be so much fun! So much in three days, but we can do it, did it before, we can do it again.

A lot of things coming up, I hope to write more, I have been failing a little bit, but it will all come back in time. I hope you guys liked my “Love” poem I did yesterday. It was super cheesy, but fun to write. Have a nice end to the week and have fun this weekend!