Review: DEAR EVAN HANSEN at Morrison Center

This cast was phenomenal, and I'm excited to hear about what they do next. 

By: Jul. 05, 2022
Review: DEAR EVAN HANSEN at Morrison Center
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What happens when a letter you intend for no one to see , gets seen. When a lie that shouldn't be told , gets told. This is essentially what happens in Dear Evan Hansen which came to the Morrison Center this past week. Winning Tony awards including Best Musical. Dear Evan Hansen focuses on being a voice for the voiceless and invisible. And telling a story unlike any other.

Evan Hansen is the center of the plot , as a teen with severe social anxiety. Evan struggles to fit into his high school, when Connor Murphy an outcast ( and the brother of Evans desire , Zoe Murphy ) finds a letter he writes to his therapist. Evan forms a lie to keep the Murphy family at peace. When his lies begin to fall , he's left stranded and picking up the pieces of what remains. Given how it balances on a thin line of comfort and controversial , and the swings of mood between comedy and tragedy, the question is what will happen when the truths are revealed in Dear Evan Hansen? Dealing with issues such as teen suicide , parenting , mental illness and (SPOILER) for a brief moment abuse within siblings. Dear Evan Hansen makes you think, while still making sure your heart is in it for each gut wrenching moment. Your heart will shatter and be rebuilt with this show.

With set design by David Korins , lighting by Japhy Weideman and music and book by Ben Pasek and Justin Paul , you can expect each element to blow you away. One moment I especially loved about the set was the screens with different apps and notifications on it. Showing the power of social media and the internet especially in someone's life. A lot of the elements of Evan towards the second act rely on the power of the internet . Which makes it so the set is more of a prominent thing for us the audience to have a focus on. I loved watching them demonstrate how things like group funding , and bringing communities together make the internet a good thing. But with things like bullying and doxing make the internet a horrible place.

In the title role of Evan was Anthony Norman, who when he first appeared on the stage had the audience roaring. One moment I thought really showcased Normans range was during the end of act one number " You Will be Found. His part in the number had chills going down my entire body as I sat in the audience. Norman does a great job balancing humor with heart and showing us what true star power is. As Evans mom Heidi Hansen was Coleen Sexton who was absolutely heartbreaking. Her voice echoed through the Morrison Center during Good For You, during the first song of the show Does Anybody Have a Map the song right off the bat showed that she was a force to be reckoned with. As Zoe Murphy we had Alaina Anderson. Alania played Zoe with an energy to her that the entire audience could pick up on. From the moment she stepped on the stage, I as a reviewer could see why Evan fell for Zoe as hard as he did. She had this girl next door energy while keeping it throughout.

As her brother Connor, we had an understudy in Ian Coursey, and this was an absolutely phenomenal performance. We could feel everything he was , from his anger to his laughter during songs like Sincerely me. He made sure we not only saw who Connor was but the person Evan formed him into through the story. As Jared Pablo David Laucerica , Evans' family friend had a key part in bringing humor to a sometimes dark show. As Alana Beck , we had Micaela Lamas who is in the same boat as Evan, wanting to be seen but the world passing them by. This actress brought an absolutely insane element to how Alana was portrayed. Making her feel even more believable.

As Larry and Cynthia Murphy were Daniel Robert Sullivan and Lili Thomas , this duo together broke my heart and picked it back up only to destroy it again. After Connors death, Cynthia's desire to believe a piece of her son is still living on was played beautifully by Thomas, and Larry's overall anger is played heartbreakingly by Sullivan who really demands presence whenever he steps on stage.


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