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Review: You Will Be Found at The Fisher Theatre's DEAR EVAN HANSEN

Review: You Will Be Found at The Fisher Theatre's DEAR EVAN HANSEN

This remarkable production runs 9/27-10/9

Dear Evan Hansen

The six-time Tony and Grammy award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen has finally arrived at The Fisher Theater in Detroit! The much anticipated national tour began in 2019 and nearly three years later Dear Evan Hansen is here for the first time in Detroit, running through October 9th. This show is a contemporary musical with songs written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Professionally known as Pasek and Paul, the duo has written songs for well-known movies such as La La Land and The Greatest Showman. Pasek and Paul met at our very own hometown favorite, the University of Michigan, and have since gone on to win critical acclaim and have swiftly become a fan favorite in the Broadway community.

Dear Evan Hansen explores the trials and tribulations of life as a high school teenage boy. Evan Hansen, like many high schoolers, struggles to feel accepted. He's also dealing with severe social anxiety. This show is powerful and unforgettable, not only musically but emotionally, as we dive into the inner workings of who Evan Hansen is.

The show opens with a glimpse of two families. Heidi Hansen is an overworked single mother and her son, Evan, who has recently broken his arm. The Hansens are struggling to connect with each other. Heidi encourages Evan to get his classmates to sign his cast as a way to work through his anxiety and make friends. His therapist also tells him to work on his self-esteem by writing daily letters to himself entitled "Dear Evan Hansen, .....". The Murphys - Cynthia (Mother), Larry (Father), Zoe (Daughter), and Connor (Son) - on the wealthy side of town, seem like the perfect family. . We learn quickly, though, that Connor Murphy is the stereotypical burnout teen who does not have care for school or being around other people, much to his parent's chagrin. After a chance run-in with Evan at the school computer lab, Connor asks if he can sign Evan's cast. Evan awkwardly agrees when Connor notices something Evan has printed out. It turns out to be a "Dear Evan Hansen'' letter that Evan was writing to himself as part of his therapy. Connor reads a section of the paper where Evan is referencing his sister, Zoe. This triggers an angry Connor to leave with Evan's note in his pocket.

A few days later it is revealed that Connor has taken his own life. After finding Evan's note in Connors's pocket, Mr. and Mrs. Murphy come to the school to speak with Evan. His parents, assuming Connor was writing the note to Evan, ask Evan if he was close friends with Connor to try and gain some closure from their tragedy. At this moment Evan chooses to lie and make up grand stories of their adventures together thinking this will bring the Murphys some peace and also give him an excuse to finally talk with Zoe. The show becomes a cautionary tale of how spreading a lie that big can spiral and turn into a greater deception that spins out of control. This heart-wrenching story depicts just how far Evan will go to win Zoe's love and feel what it means to truly be accepted.

Thoughts on the Performance

When I was young, my father told me, "you know what makes a great show? One that can make you laugh and cry all within two and a half hours." With this being the standard I've looked for as I have frequented the theatre, I must say this musical truly accomplishes this. I laughed when Evan would try to talk to Zoe and get tongue-tied with his words. I cried when the audience learned more about Heidi and Evan and what they have been through. The show tackles family issues, growing pains, friendship, and first love. I must say, though, my favorite lesson I took from the experience was learning what it takes to not only feel accepted by your peers but to also accept yourself.

The national touring cast consists of some amazing talent. A few stand-out performances consisted of Alaina Anderson as Zoe Murphy and Nikhil Saboo as Connor Murphy. The recent Yale grad, Anderson, is making her professional debut in Dear Evan Hansen, although based on her range, enchanting soprano voice during "Requiem", and her effortless acting any audience member would be shocked to learn this is her first national tour. Saboo portrays Connor Murphy, a complex and multifaceted character, who must portray quick comic timing and emotional depth. Connor appears first as an angsty teen and is brought back as a figment of Evan's imagination and at times his voice of reason. Saboo, as Connor, gave me chills when he was helping Evan (played by Anthony Norman) learn that even though he has lied, those lies have helped the Murphy family grieve. Speaking of Anthony Norman, let's talk about the leading man of this show. Norman will make you tear up and make you belly laugh more than once throughout this two-act performance, from his flawless portrayal of the anxious boy courting his dream girl to the deep melancholy of "Words Fail." Norman did not miss one emotion and got the audience in their feels throughout the entire show.

Also, I would like to take a moment to discuss Japhy Weideman's lighting design. It was hauntingly beautiful and set the tone for each scene, adding to the show's ambiance. The complexity of building in multimedia screens from projection designer Peter Nigrini and scenic designer David Korins, were the perfect addition to the stage to demonstrate just how impactful social media is in this modern society especially involving high school students. It helped move the story along and make the audience feel like they were living in the show without overpowering the performance of the actors. Great use of technology and innovative lighting queues enhance each scene. Bravo!

This production contains some adult themes, including discussions of suicide.

Dear Evan Hansen is currently running through October 9th at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit. For more information, visit For tickets, visit, by phone at 800-982-2787, and in person at the Fisher Theatre Box Office.

A $25 digital lottery will be held for every Dear Evan Hansen performance. Visit now until 9 am EST the day before the performance. For Saturday and Sunday performances, entries must be received by 9 am EST on the Friday before. Fans who have been selected will be notified daily via email and can then purchase up to two (2) tickets at $25 each.

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The North American Tour of Dear Evan Hansen, which first launched at the Buell Theatre in Denver, Colorado in October 2018, will end its run on July 2nd, 2023 at the Koger Center in Columbia, South Carolina. See how to purchase tickes!

Interview: Ian Coursey Talks the Importance of DEAR EVAN HANSEN at Fisher Theatre! Photo
Dear Evan Hansen is the deeply personal and profoundly contemporary musical about life and the way we live it. From 9/27 to 10/9, this remarkable show will visit the Fisher Theatre in Detroit. BWW Detroit had a chance to speak with Ian Coursey, a current U of M student on tour with the show, about his roles and the importance of the show.

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From This Author - Emily Schenk

Emily Schenk is a wife and owner of a farm in Milford where she raises ducks, chickens, and her two dogs Daisy Rey and Scrumpy. She is a former thespian and current Broadway fanatic. She enjoys an ... (read more about this author)

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