On January 29 the cast and creative team of Dear Evan Hansen hit the BroadwayCon stage before a two-show day for a panel moderated by SiriusXM Radio’s Julie James. Actors Ben Platt, Laura Dreyfuss, Will Roland, Michael Park, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Mike Faist, and Rachel Bay Jones; composer/lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul; writer Steven Levenson; and director Michael Greif reflected on the themes of loneliness and forgiveness embedded in the show. Throughout the discussions of writing the show, creating the vision, and living through iterations over the years, the cast was also able to identify their favorite moments of the show they perform eight times a week:
Rachel Bay Jones
“Will Roland makes me laugh every single night, every single joke,” said Jones.
“Sometimes I wish I wasn’t in the show so I could watch it,” said Lloyd. She recalled one night in particular when she exited the stage after her confrontation scene with Ben Platt, which transitions into the climax of the show in the “dinner scene.” “Jennifer Laura Thompson said a line, and it stopped me in my tracks.” In that scene, Lloyd could see the “breakdown and buildup” of the entire show.
Roland’s favorite moment of the show actually precedes curtain up. Every night the cast gathers in the wings, stage left, “to look each other in the eye.” He gave Platt a special shout out for being “a spectacular captain for us” and leading them as a crew.
Photos: Ben Platt, Pasek and Paul, and the Cast of Dear Evan Hansen at BroadwayCon
“When Connor pushes Evan at the beginning of the show, that really resonates with me,” said Park, noting it's the first moment he always watches. But, he added, “when Ben is having that moment [at the end of Act 1] with the tie on the floor,” he paused, “it just rips me apart as a father and that lost kid in high school.”
Platt spends the majority of the show onstage, but after the first 35 minutes of the show, he does get a break, and he loves to watch Dreyfuss sing “Requiem.” According to Thompson, she watches him watch every single night. “It’s sort of an incredible empowerment,” Platt said. He doesn’t ever want to miss it.
To close out the panel, James asked the cast about their favorite post-show visits. Jones blurted, “Carol Burnett!“ (Though she’s still waiting for Keanu Reeves to come.) While Dreyfuss recalled meeting her idol, Carole King: “She is my biggest vocal icon, musical icon, in the world.”