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BWW Review: DEAR EVAN HANSEN at Des Moines Performing Arts-We Have Been Found

BWW Review: DEAR EVAN HANSEN at Des Moines Performing Arts-We Have Been FoundDes Moines Has been found! The tour of "Dear Even Hansen" plays at Des Moines Performing Arts Civic Center through February 10 and this is a not to be missed production.

"Dear Evan Hansen", written by the Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award winning team of Pasek and Paul, is the story high school students Evan Hansen, Alana Beck, and Jared Kleinman dealing with the suicide of a student at their school, Conor Murphy. But we don't see this through just the eyes of the students , we get to see the response of the parents Cynthia and Larry Murphy and sister Zoe Murphy, as well as Evan's mother Heidi Hansen.

Des Moines Has been found! The tour of "Dear Even Hansen" plays at Des Moines Performing Arts Civic Center through February 10 and this is a not to be missed production.

"Dear Evan Hansen", written by the Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award winning team of Pasek and Paul, is the story high school students Evan Hansen, Alana Beck, and Jared Kleinman dealing with the suicide of a student at their school, Conor Murphy. But we don't see this through just the eyes of the students , we get to see the response of the parents Cynthia and Larry Murphy and sister Zoe Murphy, as well as Evan's mother Heidi Hansen.

Walking into the Civic Center I was brought into the world of the show before it even started. As I walked in I started hearing what sounded like new post on Facebook or Twitter. As I walked in, I could see that there were feeds going before the show started. While it was cool and played into the show later on, I think it could have been even more effective had there been a way for people to send in tweets or messages and have a true live feed happening on stage. I think people could have easily been coached as to what to send in so it felt like it was all part of the show. For those unfamiliar with the show, I don't want to give to much away, but there is a time in the show that we see the impact that social media can have. It also plays a part into how the show progresses.

As the show started Ben Levi Ross, who made his Broadway debut as the alternate for Evan Hansen, pulled the audience in with his monologue at the beginning of the show. Had I not read the novel before seeing the show, I would not have been prepared for the performance he had to give for his character. There is giving 100% as an actor, and then there is what Ben Levi Ross does. There were so many emotional moments in the show where I felt the Ben took his heart and soul out and put it on the floor for people to see. The part that hit me the most was towards the end of Act One leading into the song "You Will be Found." If you have or go see the show, you will know what that moment is.

Another stand out for me in the cast was Jared Goldsmith making his national tour debut as Jared Kleinman. He brought some of the most light-hearted moments to this show. And his character was always sprinkled in at just the right time. I knew when he came onstage, I was going to get a chance to let my emotions settle during the show. His delivery and timing were spot on. The performance helped make "Sincerely, Me" one of my favorite moments of the show. He, with Ben Levi Ross and Marrick Smith as Connor Murphy, made me want to jump on stage and join this friendship, knowing fully that it was something completely fabricated.

The rest of the cast was absolutely amazing, and brought some of the most heart warming moments I have had the chance to see on stage. If I talked about this individually, I don't know that this review would ever end. Every person on stage understood and gave very nuanced performances.

Now while this review may be longer than others, I feel it is necessary to discuss the amazing technical aspects of this show. David Korins does a beautiful job telling the story through his set design. I felt that he truly understood what pieces were important to the scene. His set marries so well with the projections by Peter Nigrini that as an audience member, you are transported to the world the story of Dear Even Hansen takes place in.

I am so grateful to Des Moines Performing Arts for bringing this amazing show to Des Moines. I honestly wish they had brought it for two weeks so I could have seen the show again. There was so much to take both visually and emotionally. If you haven't had a chance to see this show, it runs at Des Moines Performing Arts through February 10. For more information about Des Moines Performing Arts visit https://desmoinesperformingarts.org/

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

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