Dear Evan Hansen handles topics like anxiety, grief and parenting with nuance and heart. Catch the musical this weekend at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. The final performance is at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 27.
Dear Evan Hansen tells the story of a high school senior with social anxiety who fabricates a relationship with a deceased classmate. Shy Evan Hansen finds himself at the center of the tragedy. Eventually, Evan is forced to make a decision: Will he give himself over to the fantasy he’s created, or will he tell the truth and risk losing everything he’s ever wanted?
The cast has only eight characters, which allows the audience intimate insight to each of their emotional turmoil, accompanied by a compelling score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who also wrote scores for La La Land and The Greatest Showman.
Nikhil Saboo, who plays the late high school student Connor Murphy, told the City Paper that he enjoys the change into a more intimate show with Dear Evan Hansen. Prior to landing the role of Connor Murphy, Saboo was on tour with the Angelica Company, performing Hamilton and in the original Broadway cast of Mean Girls.
“Diving into Connor really allowed me to ask myself, what are the things he’s going through, and what are some parallels to my life?” Saboo said. “This role kept on pushing me to communicate with others and ask how they are, because that’s the thing with Connor, he would have been open to a conversation if someone had just asked…that sticks with me.”
Saboo said he hopes the show will encourage real conversations about mental health.
“I’m always curious, if you’re bringing someone, who are you bringing, and what is the conversation you’ll have after the show,” he said. “Is there something that you might open up to someone about?”
Alaina Anderson, who plays Connor’s grieving sister Zoe, said this role is a “dream come true.” This performance is her professional debut. She was originally cast as Zoe’s understudy before stepping into the role full-time in June.
Anderson said she hopes viewers walk away from Dear Evan Hansen with a sense of hope.
“There’s a character in this show for everybody. It’s not just a show for teenagers, or for people with anxiety,” she said. “The parents in the show are really well rounded characters.
“It’s a joy for us to explore. I hope audiences feel seen, that they walk away knowing there’s always a chance to be a better person,” Anderson said.
You can see Dear Evan Hansen at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center through November 27. Each performance will raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The production is also hosting a digital ticket lottery offering a limited amount of $25 tickets. For a chance to win the discounted tickets, visit lottery.broadwaydirect.com between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. the day before the performance.
For tickets and more info, visit northcharlestoncoliseumpac.com.
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