On November 19, Ben Platt took his final bow playing his role in Broadway sensation Dear Evan Hansen. He devoted his mind, body, and soul to his craft, and his dedication produced a gripping and sincere performance that touched the hearts of the audiences. I had the privilege of seeing Platt and his amazingly talented cast mates in this show earlier this year. The play instantly became one of my favorite musicals of all time (and that’s saying a lot for a Broadway devotee like me).
Dear Evan Hansen tells the story of a socially anxious teenager who becomes caught in an ever-growing lie regarding a classmate’s death. Mental illness remains at the forefront of the story, and the show offers an honest and non-romanticized portrayal of how severely it can impact one’s life. I have never related to any fictional character as much as I do Evan; when I first heard “Waving Through a Window,” I thought, “This is me, 100%. No exaggeration.”
I’m so grateful that this character exists because it can be incredibly difficult to express what mental illness feels like to those who may not realize how deeply it can affect a person. Evan provides a concrete picture of mental illness that audiences can easily understand and sympathize with.
Even those who do not suffer from mental illness can see themselves in Evan as he longs to be a part of something. I believe this is the greatest message the show offers: we are not alone in our struggles. When we’re feeling anxious, depressed, lonely, or struggling with any negative feeling, it often seems like nobody could possibly understand what we’re going through, that nobody else in our lives has ever felt this way. Yet the enthusiastic response to the show proves that we are not alone. Sharing our feelings and experiences with others allows us to build a network of support. This show is helping break the barrier that often prevents us from reaching out for others.
Dear Evan Hansen is one of the most important shows on Broadway right now. It is inspiring others to open up about mental health and realize they are not alone. This beautiful show appeared at just the right time in my own mental health journey, and it will hold a special place in my heart for many years to come. Thank you to Ben Platt and the entire cast and creative team for helping me and so many others see that there is always hope and a helping hand is just around the corner.
Have you ever seen Dear Evan Hansen? Has there ever been something, like a play or book, that inspired you? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!