Dear Evan Hansen is one of the newest shows to transfer to London’s West End after a continued successful run on Broadway. Excitement is mixed with apprehension as the 6-time Tony Award winning musical opens on the West End.
While the show is beloved by many, the sensitive themes in the show have caused controversy amongst the musical theatre community.
Musical theatre fans can’t deny the magnitude of the songs, but find themselves asking, “does a show that talks about depression and suicide need a trigger warning?” “Are the topics represented in a fair and accurate way?”
The Mental Health Foundation reported that there were “8.2 million cases of anxiety in 2013.”
The foundation also reported that “19.7% of people in the UK aged 16 and over showed symptoms of anxiety or depression in 2014 – that was a 1.5% increase from 2013.”
Dear Evan Hansen follows Evan, a high school student student who suffers from severe social anxiety. As a way to help his anxiety, his therapist recommends he starts writing letters to himself.
On his first day of senior year, he meets Connor Murphy, an outcast who also doesn’t have many friends. An unlikely turn of events and the use of social media, lands Evan in the Murphy’s house after their son commits suicide.
To remain close to Connor’s sister, Zoe, and as not to make the family more upset than they already are, Evan begins to tell white lies that eventually get him in trouble.
Dear Evan Hansen is currently at the Noël Coward Theatre.
Words: Derrian Douglas
Video: Derrian Douglas