“Dear Evan Hansen” tackles teen issues

Sofia Snyder, co-sports editor

“Dear Evan Hansen, today is going to be a great day and here’s why…” is the pep talk Evan Hansen gives himself everyday to help him get through senior year. It’s also the message that helps a lie spiral throughout a spectacular performance by a Tony winning cast.  Dear Evan Hansen is a Broadway musical sensation that tackles high school angst in our social media era, where your popularity can be defined by viral posts.

After an awful first day of senior year, Evan’s daily pep talk turns into a depressing letter never meant to be seen by anyone except himself. Connor, a bully and fellow outcast, finds the letter and hides it in his pocket to use against Evan later.

That night, Connor kills himself with the letter still in his pocket, leading his parents to believe that it was a suicide note addressed to Evan. Evan’s lack of social skills leads him to pretend to have been friends with Connor and as his lie begins to grow, so does his popularity and followers on social media.

The staging is modern and unique, highlighted by video boards displaying tweets and Facebook posts that follow alongside the story. It creates a real-time sensation of something “going viral.” The videos make Evan’s popularity and Connor’s legacy come to life as if the internet is buzzing with interest in every move the eight person cast makes.

Ben Platt, who plays the role of Evan Hansen, transforms into a loner that we can all relate to. Right now, we are living in the same social media based  world as Evan and this is what makes the show so powerful. It depicts how social media is a place where people can tell lies to make it seem that they live the perfect life in order to make others jealous.

By the second number, “Waving Through a Window”, there didn’t seem to be a dry eye in the audience.  The song introduces Evan and the secrets he keeps inside.

Many high school students have also been in a position in which they were the outsider just trying to get in a word and the lyrics “on the outside always looking in. Will I be more than I’ve always been?” and “I try to speak but nobody can hear, so I wait around for an answer to appear,”  makes me feel as if we’re not alone, whether the others are fictional or not.

The song “You Will Be Found”, which is about halfway through the show, is when I realized that this show could help change the way we treat each other. The chorus, “Even when the dark comes crashing through and you need a friend to carry you … You will be found” made me think of the people who have been there for me no matter what. By the end of the song I was in tears, because I realized that when the dark does come, I need to “let the sun come streaming in ‘cause you’ll reach you’ll and you’ll rise again. If you only look around, you will be found.”

What’s so powerful about the show as a whole, and this song in particular, is that I can use it to give its advice for others. And I hope the show made other audience members want to do the same.