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BWW Blog: Sincerely, Bea - A Review of Broadway Workshop's DEAR EVAN HANSEN Day

“Dear Broadway Workshop, Today you’re you, and that’s enough.”

BWW Blog: Sincerely, Bea - A Review of Broadway Workshop's DEAR EVAN HANSEN Day

The folks at Broadway Workshop were gracious enough to invite me back to another "Broadway Day". This time, it was a little different from sugar, butter, and dancing to a Sara Bareilles lyrical and melodic masterpiece. The bar was already set high from my experience at their WAITRESS Day; I wondered whether my expectations would be met a second time.

If there's one takeaway from these workshops, though, it's that you always find whatever you're looking for. ("You will be found", if I may).

For an hour and a half, Andrew Barth Feldman (Evan), Gabrielle Carrubba (Zoe), Sky Lakota-Lynch (Jared), Alex Boniello (Connor), and Phoenix Best (Alana) fielded questions and shared stories from their time at DEAR EVAN HANSEN. I was flooded with fond memories of mask-less days spent chuckling with castmates about mishaps during shows we were in together.

The questions were handled professionally, yet it felt as if I was laughing with old friends. I have never attended a workshop before that I was actually non-stop laughing out loud. Laughter does wonders for the soul, and I wanted those five actors to continue telling stories "For Forever" (sorry not sorry).

Two anecdotes that gave me major belly laughs were courtesy of Sky and Andrew. At one show during Andrew's first two weeks as Evan--right after Alana asks Evan "Where were you last night?"--someone in the audience shouted "He was busy kissing Zoe!" When Sky was first cast, he thought it was for the role of Connor... until after he did a workshop with Tara Rubin and realized that he was actually playing Jared!

Andrew described a particularly sweet casting story. After winning the Jimmy Awards in 2018, he was asked to audition for DEAR EVAN HANSEN. As fate would have it, Tara Rubin, DEAR EVAN HANSEN's casting director, was one of the Jimmy Awards judges that year. At the audition Ms. Rubin asked Andrew "Can I take a picture of you? I just think you'll want to remember this day."

That very same audition earned him a famous blue polo and the clunky cast adorned with "CONNOR" in striking black sharpie. Each actor had traveled such a profoundly different road. Hearing how they all arrived at the same place at the same time was nothing short of fascinating.

Gabrielle had laryngitis at her final audition, and had auditioned nine times prior. She debuted on Broadway as Alana before stepping into the role of Zoe. Alex knew some friends who were in the pre-pre-development workshops, and was able to get involved that way. Phoenix was first cast as vacation Alana before shifting to full-time.

When you consider each story, the stars aligned perfectly to facilitate the final result - being in a Broadway show. Gabrielle observed that "Sometimes, it's hard to trust that you're enough and that we got hired for a reason". Then she went on to say, "But, everything does happen for a reason. And that's why we're here." What a wonderful thing of which to be reminded. Alex continued with, "Someone in the audience needs to hear that message," he said, "and that's why you need to give it your all, even if you're tired."

Theatre affects us in such visceral ways because of the lessons it brings into our lives. Usually it's something that is so simple yet ironically elusive. Performance art brings it home in inspiring and beautiful ways. With the current pandemic, we are finding novel ways to bring these lessons into our lives that we so desperately need to draw strength and comfort from.

In the Q&A, Andrew, Gabrielle, Sky, Alex, and Phoenix unwrapped a big gift by reminding us that we are, and will always be, enough. Moments like that are what sets Broadway Workshop apart. Their class experiences travel with you as you continue navigating through life...much like the music and lyrics from a particular Pasek and Paul musical.

If you need a refreshing pick-me-up or simply a reminder of why you first fell in love with theatre, I urge you to attend a Broadway Workshop event. You can follow them on Instagram at @broadwayworkshop and check out their website, broadwayworkshop.com. Because, dear reader, today you're you, and that's enough.

Sincerely,

Bea


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From This Author Student Blogger: Bea Mienik