Andrew Barth Feldman, the 16-year-old making his Broadway debut as the title character in Dear Evan Hansen, appeared on NBC Nightly News March 13 to talk about his whirlwind casting in the role and the experience of taking on one of the most taxing teenage roles on Broadway.
“Every show, I have a moment where I'm looking at how huge all of this is,” he said. “This is the biggest dream—the craziest dream—come true.”
READ: New Dear Evan Hansen Star Andrew Barth Feldman Brings Something Brand-New to Evan
Part of the reason for the buzz around Feldman is the fact that he is the youngest to take on the role in the Tony-winning musical. Feldman relishes setting an example that younger actors can take on these challenges. “It's always been—especially in roles like this—that 25-year-olds like Ben Platt would play the role,” he explained. “There has never been a role so difficult like this trusted with a teenager. It's never happened before.”
READ: How Does a Demanding Role Take Its Toll?
“Some nights, there are more tears than there are on other nights. Some nights might be totally dry,” he said. “As long as I'm making the audience feel the weight that's on Evan's shoulders on their shoulders, then I'm doing my job.”
Watch Part 1 of the interview below:
Feldman won the 2018 Jimmy Awards, the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, which is when he caught the attention of Dear Evan Hansen’s producer Stacey Mindich and casting directors. “This is my favorite show, and this role is my favorite role, but there were other people who had done the Jimmys in past years and said, ‘They asked me to audition for Dear Evan Hansen after the [awards] show. So I was like, ‘Ok they're looking for kids, they're trying stuff out, but this isn't going to lead to anything.’ But I think a part of me knew that I was right for it and maybe they'd see me and in a couple years call me back and ask me to do it."
But the young actor never expected success so soon. “The second I saw this, I wanted to play this role. But I thought if I ever got to do it, it would be when I was 30—not now. So I was like ‘OK, I gotta get this skill honed by that time,’” he said.
But sure enough, his skills are there now and he’s taking Evan on at the Music Box Theatre on Broadway.
Watch Part 2 of the interview below: