December 10th was an amazing day and here’s why: because 1,000 of Dear Evan Hansen‘s biggest fans won free tickets to a special performance of Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway! The “Dear Evan Hansen Fan Day” performance was one like no other, celebrating one year of the show being on Broadway. Even though I have a week of finals ahead, I wouldn’t have missed the performance for the world.
My friend, Griffin, and I started the day with a stop at Chelsea Market for some mini artisanal doughnuts from the Doughnuttery, then headed a few blocks over to The Park for brunch! I ordered vanilla buttermilk pancakes with berry butter, because you know I love a good pancake.
Then we wandered the city, stopping by the Union Square Holiday Pop-Up Market, poking around the Strand Book Store, then headed uptown to the Drama Book Shop for a book signing event!
Steven Levenson (Dear Evan Hansen‘s book writer) and Michael Greif (Dear Evan Hansen‘s director) were signing copies of Dear Evan Hansen: through the window. Both men are incredibly talented, and it was wonderful to have the chance to thank them for the incredible work they create and share with us. (Plus, both of them spent summers at Williamstown Theatre Festival like I did, which is such a special shared experience!)
The shop was packed with fans, buzzing with excitement and bonding over their shared love of the show. No matter everyone’s different walks of life, we all connected and understood one another because of what Dear Evan Hansen means to us. I loved meeting new fans and seeing fans I’ve already made friends with. Fansens are a special kind of fan: so kind, warm, and welcoming. (Shoutout to Martha and Julie!! Always a joy to see you.)
After grabbing a quick slice of pizza at Two Boots with a new friend and picking up some Schmackary’s, Griffin and I met up with my friends Laura, Sloane, and Heather, and headed to the Music Box. We were met with messages welcoming fans to Fan Day lit up on the digital marquee–which even included photos of some lucky fans!
When we walked into the theatre, we were handed a random envelope with random tickets–and the person who handed me mine was Caitlin Clements, one of Dear Evan Hansen‘s producers! Something I think makes Dear Evan Hansen so special is how hands-on the producers are. My friends and I all had the chance to speak with several of the producers at length (namely, Stacey Mindich, Dan Stone, and Ken Fakler), who are so engaging and passionate about the show. They truly care about the fans and their own lives and experiences, and I can’t think of any other producers who make as much as an effort to get to know the fans.
We received Playbills emblazoned with a special Dear Evan Hansen Fan Day sticker on them commemorating the evening, which featured pre-show appearances by Julie James from Sirius XM’s Broadway channel, Steven Levenson, and Michael Greif. And after the show, Chirlane McCray, the First Lady of New York, gave a special Proclamation from the City of New York that December 10, 2017 is Dear Evan Hansen Day!
This performance was the first time I saw a different actor play Evan, and I was blown away by Noah Galvin’s performance. He brought something fresh to the show that kept me on the edge of my seat, despite already having seen the musical several times. He found new moments, and brought insight to Evan that deepened my understanding of the character, and broke my heart in new ways. (Not to mention, he is an absolute sweetheart to meet!)
It was also exciting to see how all of the other actors’ performances shifted based on Noah’s performance, which altogether was a master class in acting. Also, the ensemble is so 👏 strong 👏 and everyone continues to breath new life into Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul’s words.
Something that really struck me tonight was how Dear Evan Hansen is going to have such a long life. How, soon, the entire cast will move on and be replaced, but the story will continue to grow and change and travel the country and touch the lives of so many young people who really need to hear its story. And that’s the best thing we could hope for with a piece such as this. It needs to be seen.
I’m forever grateful for every opportunity and experience this show has afforded me, and for how many amazing friendships have come from it. But I feel like every time I try to write about Dear Evan Hansen, my words fall short of articulating how I feel. I think because it has taught me so much, and has allowed me such healing and growth, there is just too much to say. I also run the risk of redundancy, returning to the same themes time and again–so here are some other posts I’ve written about the show: seeing it in Broadway previews, what I’ve learned from it, and seeing it again.
After the show, everyone received special Dear Evan Hansen Fan Day beanies–light blue, of course! The scene at the stage door was just a sea of blue heads. Being able to see and thank the actors with whom I’ve become acquainted is always a joy. There is such love between them and the fans–you can feel it. They’re also incredibly passionate about the show and are so kind and gracious to everyone.
December 10th was truly a special day, and has become one of my favorite performances of Dear Evan Hansen that I’ve seen (it’s up there with the second D.C. preview and the fourth Broadway preview). The day allowed everyone to see the impact of the show, and its undeniable power of bringing people together. The audience was not made up of solely young women, but rather a diverse group of people. The show has resonance beyond the surface, and has become something bigger than just a musical. It’s created a community
What is your favorite Dear Evan Hansen memory? Let me know in the comments below!
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