BWW Review: DEAR EVAN HANSEN at Majestic Theatre
The Majestic Theatre in San Antonio Texas is buzzing as the last of the theatergoers find their seats. There are screens all around the stage that scroll social media comments. It's obvious that the audience is squinting to see if the words are a hint into what DEAR EVAN HANSEN is all about. This same audience is filled with a plethora of ages including teens, college students, moms, dads, grandmas, and grandpas. What are their expectations? What might they takeaway from this raw, emotional musical that won six Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Musical Score (music and lyrics by acclaimed composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul). So, how was this show received at the Majestic Theatre?
The story takes place in small town America and the scenery by Tony nominated David Korins is simple and effective. The scenes switch seamlessly as the story unfolds. This snapshot in time is during the senior year of Evan Hansen who has struggled for many years to fit in. Evan Hansen is played by the talented Stephen Christopher Anthony. As Evan, Anthony can really help the audience to understand what was happening in the life of Evan Hansen. Songs like "Waving Through a Window" and "For Forever," proved that Anthony was more than capable of playing the difficult part of Evan Hansen. However, when Anthony belted out "Words Fail," it was obvious why Anthony was well suited for this role. His raw talent and perfect voice made Anthony shine and the audience applaud their approval.
The part of Evan's mother was played by Jessica Sherman. Her talent as an actress had the audience hanging on her words as an anguished single mother trying to do her best to raise her son alone. But when Sherman sang "Anybody Have a Map?" she quickly won over the audience. It wasn't until Act II near the end of the production that the audience was stunned by Sherman's performance of "So Big/So Small" that made the audience want to give her a standing ovation.
All in all, DEAR EVAN HANSEN was definitely a show that lived up to its hype. The true portrayal of high schoolers trying to make their way in schools full of confused, emotional teenagers that audiences of all ages can understand. A recent high school graduate shared that DEAR EVAN HANSEN was the most realistic portrayal of the confusing high school years he had ever seen. The characters were realistic; the actors were all working hard to keep the raw emotion and understanding of the people in the life of Evan Hansen true-to-life.
DEAR EVAN HANSEN is at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio for one week only - December 17-22, 2019.
PHOTO CREDIT: Matthew Murphy