Entertainment » Theatre

Dear Evan Hansen: Through The Window

by Christopher Verleger
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Nov 21, 2017
Dear Evan Hansen: Through The Window

I had the pleasure of seeing "Dear Evan Hansen" last April, and as I left the theater, I said to myself without hesitation, "I want to see it again." Easier said than done.

Managing to purchase a single ticket for that performance was enough of a challenge, so after it went on to win six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, a second viewing was a bit of pipe dream. Even now, five months later, it's still one of the Great White Way's hottest tickets.

Thankfully, I now have "Dear Evan Hansen: Through The Window," the ultimate behind-the-scenes, comprehensive guide to the musical about friendship, family and fitting in. With interviews and text by Adam Green and Suzy Evans, "Through The Window" tells you anything and everything you ever wanted to know about the spectacular, mind-blowing, interminably touching production that was eight years in the making.

In brief, "Dear Evan Hansen" is about a socially awkward and anxious high school teen whose world turns upside down after he falsely claims to have been close friends with a classmate who committed suicide. Benj Pasek, who wrote the music and lyrics with his songwriting partner, Justin Paul, came up with the idea from a similar incident at his own high school after he noticed everyone felt compelled to outwardly share their connection to the kid who killed himself.

This colorful, oversized, eye-catching, informative volume looks and feels like a sophisticated textbook for theater geeks where Green and Evans have compiled a series of engaging articles, interviews and conversations, as well as photos, email excerpts, and the script in its entirety, with footnoted commentary from Pasek, Paul and Steven Levenson, who wrote the book for the musical.

The profiles provide interesting details on the background and careers of the cast and crew, like Pasek and Paul starting out at the University of Michigan and Levenson studying playwriting at Brown University with Paul Vogel. For example, did you know Ben Platt, who won a Tony for his extraordinary portrayal of Evan Hansen, starred in a production of "The Music Man" with Eric McCormack and Kristin Chenoweth?

Beginning with the first reading in May 2014, followed by productions at Arena Stage in D.C. and Off-Broadway at Second Stage in New York, the evolution of bringing "Dear Evan Hansen" to Broadway and its well-deserved recognition and success were clearly destined to be, as "Through The Window" proudly and pointedly proclaims.

"Dear Evan Hansen: Through The Window"
By Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Grand Central Publishing
$40.00

Chris Verleger is an avid reader, aspiring novelist and self-professed theater geek from Providence. Email cwverleger1971@yahoo.com.


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