Following Its D.C. Run, Pasek and Paul's Dear Evan Hansen Will Transfer to New York

News   Following Its D.C. Run, Pasek and Paul's Dear Evan Hansen Will Transfer to New York Second Stage Theatre in association with Stacey Mindich Productions will present the New York premiere of the acclaimed new musical Dear Evan Hansen by Tony Award-nominated songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. It will open at Second Stage's Tony Kiser Theatre in spring 2016 under the direction of Michael Greif. 

The musical will conclude its run at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., Aug. 23 prior to its debut at Second Stage. Exact dates, casting and complete creative team will be announced at a later date.

The new musical by the Tony-nominated 30-year-old songwriters and book writer Levenson was sparked by a death more than a decade ago. Amid tragedy in Pasek's high school, teens tried to claim the late student as a dear friend, much like the fictional Evan Hansen, who is struggling to find an identity for himself by any means possible.

"The story of Evan Hansen couldn't be more current or immediate and I am proud to present the New York premiere of this powerful and moving new American musical," said Second Stage artistic director Carole Rothman in a statement. "I'm also very much looking forward to welcoming Benj and Justin, with whom we so happily collaborated on Dogfight, and Michael Greif, who memorably staged Next to Normal for us, back to the Second Stage family. And I've been a fan of Steven’s work for many years, so I am very excited to work with him on this project."

Pasek and Paul earned their Tony nomination for Best Original Score for their work on Broadway's A Christmas Story, but they are perhaps better known for their Off-Broadway musical, the aforementioned Dogfight, which has been widely produced, as well as their newer regional hit, James and the Giant Peach.

Greif (Rent, Next to Normal) directs the musical, featuring a book by Steven Levenson, that began previews in D.C. July 10, prior to an official opening July 30.

The Arena Stage production was choreographed by Danny Mefford with musical direction by Alex Lacamoire.  The D.C. cast features "Pitch Perfect" star Ben Platt as Evan Hansen with Rachel Bay Jones (Pippin) as Heidi, Laura Dreyfuss ("Glee," Once) as Zoe, Tony Award nominee Jennifer Laura Thompson (Wicked, Urinetown) as Cynthia and Emmy Award winner Michael Park ("As the World Turns," Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) as Larry with Mike Faist (Newsies) as Connor, Alexis Molnar (59E59's Harbor) as Alana and Will Roland (Center Theatre Group's The Black Suits) as Jared.

"The plot deviates from total truth," said Pasek in a recent interview, "which, in a way, mirrors a lot of what happens in our show."

Read the Washington reviews.

 

"It's us wanting to feel like we're connected to something and we're worthy or valuable in some way, so we make something up or we embellish something," added Paul, "and that's the thing that our protagonist ends up doing."

The creative team includes scenic design by David Korins, costume design by Emily Rebholz, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Clive Goodwin, projection design by Peter Nigrini, music direction by Ben Cohn, New York casting by Tara Rubin, stage manager Judy Schoenfeld and assistant stage manager Michael McGoff.

Here's how it's billed: "A letter, a lie, a life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to find out what it really means to belong... Dear Evan Hansen is a contemporary, intimate story of hope, heartache and the things in life we all need—friends, family and a place to call home."

"It's an incredibly beautiful show," Platt shared with Playbill.com earlier this year. "And, it's just so new and accessible in a way that a lot of modern musicals I don't think are for a wider range. Of course, the young people are going to love it, but I think there is something for everyone because it's really about parents and children."

Arena Stage is under the leadership of artistic director Molly Smith and executive producer Edgar Dobie. Visit ArenaStage.org.

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