'Dear Evan Hansen' Poised to Be Broadway's Next Big Hit

Dear Evan Hansen officially opened at the Music Box Theater on Dec. 4, moving to Broadway after a hugely successful run at the Second Stage Theater in New York earlier this year. With an impressive creative team, a bold, original new story and a wave of good buzz behind it, Dear Evan Hansen may become the next Broadway sensation and the season's breakout hit.

Leading the cast is Ben Platt, giving a tour-de-force, breakthrough performance in the title role. Platt is best known for the Pitch Perfect films and has starred in The Book of Mormon. The show is directed by three-time Tony-winner Michael Greif, who also helmed the original productions of Rent and Next to Normal. The score is composed by the Tony-nominated team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (who's work includes A Christmas Story: The Musical and the upcoming film La La Land) with orchestrations by Hamilton's Tony-winning musical director Alex Lacamoire.

The show centers on the titular Evan Hansen, a socially awkward, anxious high schooler who unexpectedly finds himself at the center of a family tragedy. Evan writes a letter addressed to himself as an assignment from his therapist to deal with his anxiety, but the letter is intercepted by his classmate (and fellow outsider) Connor. When Connor later commits suicide, his parents find the letter and assume Connor had written it to Evan, whom they assume is a close friend.

Though he never actually knew Connor, Evan decides to go along with the lie, choosing to let the grieving family have some comfort in believing Connor wasn't as friendless as he seemed. But Evan is also motivated by his own growing closeness with the family, as Connor's parents become a sort of surrogate conventional family for Evan (who only has his single overworked mother).

Connor's sister, Zoe, is Evan's longtime crush. But things become more complicated when a memorial fund in Connor's name begins and a moving speech by a reluctant Evan becomes a social media sensation.

The Off-Broadway production won several industry awards, including the Helen Hayes award for Best Off-Broadway Musical, the Drama Desk award for Best Lyrics and the Obie Award for Distinguished Performance by an Actor. After opening on Broadway, the show received rave reviews from critics. The New York Times called the show "a gorgeous heartbreaker of a musical," and that Platt's performance was, "not likely to be bettered on Broadway this season."

The positive buzz surrounding the show has led to impressive box office numbers and advanced ticket sales, an extraordinary feat for an original musical with no big-name stars or source material. Its sold-out Off-Broadway run broke sales records, and it played to packed houses and impressive box office figures in its Broadway previews.

The show has also already built a devoted fanbase online -- an official music video for the number Waving through a Window, was created using fan-submitted artwork. Dear Evan Hansen tickets are available through Telecharge, where prices range from $69-$175. A digital ticket lottery has been announced for most performances, with tickets available for $40.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held TK positions in the stocks mentioned.

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