After months of saving money, I finally bought my ticket on Stubhub and made my way to the Music Box Theatre to see "Dear Evan Hansen" on Broadway. If you love Broadway like I do, then seeing Ben Platt is a must. I was one of the lucky ones to grab tickets to see one of his final performances as the lead character, Evan Hansen.
"Dear Evan Hansen" is a new musical which addresses many issues such as drug use, suicide, mental illness, bullying and the use of social media. These are issues that everyone faces each day. The show does not sugarcoat these issues but rather opens up a dialogue for them. Let me explain why (the next paragraph contains spoilers):
Evan Hansen is a college senior who has social anxiety and a broken arm. His therapist tells him to write letters to himself each day that begin with “Dear Evan Hansen, today is going to be a great day and here’s why” to build his confidence. After one of his letters gets stolen by another student, Connor Murphy, Evan becomes worried since he hasn’t seen Connor in a few days. Evan later finds out that Connor commits suicide. Connor’s family finds Evan’s note in Connor’s pocket and believes they are friends. Evan does his best to tell his family the truth, but Connor’s family won’t listen, so Evan creates a lie, using social media, to make everyone believe the two were best friends and to keep Connor’s memory alive. During the course of the lie, you learn that Evan feels like he doesn’t matter and disappeared, and that his broken arm is a result of a failed suicide attempt.
Yes, the show explores topics such as suicide, drug abuse, mental illness, and even bullying. Yes, the show is emotional. But what the show does do is give you real characters that everyone can relate to. The show opens conversation about these topics that we are facing every day. The shows support and encouragement of mental illness awareness. Seeing this show might give the courage to someone to get the help they need because they were scared of what people might say about their illness.
Cabrini University offers many resources if you are feeling depressed or need to talk to someone. The Counseling and Psychological Services center located in Grace Hall, Room 174, provides counseling services to college students. You can schedule an individual counseling session or join a support group. You can join a club on campus such as Active Minds, a group that educates college students about mental-health issues. You can talk to your academic advisor about some of the challenges you are facing. They are more than happy to listen and help you make your college experience the best it can be. To learn more about the services Cabrini offers, please visit: cabrini.edu/counseling.
On a final note, Evan does get the help and support he needs. He ends the show by writing one more letter to himself. I think everyone should read it:
"Dear Evan Hansen, Today is going to be a good day and here's why. Because today, no matter what else, today at least you're you. And that's enough."
If there is enough interest, I would be happy to set up a trip to see "Dear Evan Hansen" in New York. Please email me at BLS68@Cabrini.edu if you're interested.