Pasek and Paul's Dear Evan Hansen, About the High School Struggle to Fit In, Premieres in D.C.

News   Pasek and Paul's Dear Evan Hansen, About the High School Struggle to Fit In, Premieres in D.C.
 
Dear Evan Hansen, the new, original musical by Tony Award-nominated songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul that stars "Pitch Perfect" and Book of Mormon actor Ben Platt, officially opens July 30 in Washington, D.C. 

Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal) directs the musical, featuring a book by Steven Levenson, that began previews July 10 for a run through Aug. 23. Danny Mefford choreographs with musical direction by Alex Lacamoire.

Platt is joined by 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."

The new musical by the Tony-nominated 30-year-old songwriters and book writer Levenson makes its world premiere at Arena Stage and is sparked by a death over 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.

"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." Broadway producer Stacey Mindich is attached to the musical.

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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