Dear Evan Hansen,
Today is going to be a good day and here’s why, because today, at least you’re you and that’s enough.
My friend, Lisa Fox and I sat down to talk about the Broadway production of a play we both saw and loved called Dear Evan Hansen. It’s a story about one teenage boy who is dealing with social isolation and anxiety in a social media driven world.
When I tell you there was not a dry eye in the house I am including Ben Platt, as Evan Hansen, who is crying his eyes out during his powerful performance. How he has the energy, stamina and not to mention, the talent to put on one emotionally charged performance after another is just proof of his absolute genius acting ability.
I think this play is resonating with everyone who sees it because every single one of us has felt lonely or alone or on the outside looking in in some way shape or form or at least can have empathy for a kid that feels that way. We all want our kids to be happy, popular, no problems…But do we really? Aren’t all the things that make up a strong character come from the very things we try to shelter our children from? Sometimes you have to go through winter so you can appreciate the sun.
The songs are as good as the story. The opening number sang by the actors who play the parents of the main characters, Evan and Connor, is entitled “Anybody Got a Map?” I don’t think there is a parent alive who hasn’t felt that they are in over their head at some point while raising their kids. (If it's not easy, your're probably doing something right!)
When our kids were little we would go through different struggles at different times in our lives and at the end of the day when we had a minute to slow down we would look at each other and just say “Are we doing this right?” But I think it’s good to question how you are doing. No one is perfect so don’t pretend that you have all the answers. The bravest thing you can ever do is show your vulnerability. That’s why I love comedians so much. They point out the truth about things that resonate with all of us. Oh you feel that way too? Phew, let’s all laugh about that. (or cry or both)
If you are a parent of a child who feels social isolation and social anxiety this is a great performance to take your child to so they can see, I’m not alone. And if your child doesn’t have that particular issue, take them to see this so they can become aware of the fact that everyone has a back story. Those kids aren’t just that quiet kid at school. They have a family and a home life and issues to deal with that makes them not so different than you.
Bravo Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Steven Levenson who collaborated to create this amazing and thought provoking show. If you can’t see the play, get the book. Talk about it with your kids.
We are all in this together…
Let's root for each other and watch each other grow...