Dara: This is a me only post because while I was having fun in the northeast, TJ was galavanting across Eastern Asia… a trip he’ll inevitably write a very long post about at some point. Stay tuned!
My winter break post, however, could be condensed into 7 words:
EVERYONE. GO. SEE. DEAR. EVAN. HANSEN. NOW.
For those of you who have been living under a rock, Dear Evan Hansen is one of this year’s standout original musicals. It stars Ben Platt (who you probably know from Pitch Perfect) as a socially-anxious high-school student who accidentally finds himself being named the best friend of a student who recently took his own life. He then spirals into a web of lies as he becomes the face of a movement.
Pasek & Paul and Steven Levenson somehow managed to tackle so many topics (mental health, grief, coping with tragedies, social media, teenage romance, being a social outcast, being thrown into the spotlight, class stratification, etc. etc. etc.) with such grace and humor and stunning music that I am not exaggerating when I say that this is probably the most profound and moving artistic experience I’ve ever witnessed. I cried. A lot.
But the amazing thing with this show is: so did everyone else. The women’s bathroom at intermission was basically just a space for people wash their faces and fix their make-up before plunging back into the raw and emotional world of the characters on stage. And even throughout the whole show, audience was a cacophony of audible sniffles and sobs interspersed with laughter for the show’s entire 2.5 hours.
Which actually brings me to the incredibly coincidental story of how I got to see the show with the amazing Laurel (above!) in the first place.
By pure coincidence I mentioned to my friend Alex that I was in the city for a week for work and had been trying so desperately hard (and failing) to get tickets to the show. I applied to every lottery and lost every one and was pretty bummed but eventually forced myself to forget about it. Flash forward to late in the week when I’m getting early drinks with Alex and she invites a long a close friend of hers – Laurel – who I knew of but had never met.
We picked a spot in the Village and hung out for about an hour just chatting about relationships, activism, our futures and everything else that you’d imagine three progressive millennial girls would talk about over drinks at 7pm on Friday. But then, out of nowhere, Laurel goes “Dara, I’m about to become your best friend.”
Naturally, I’m confused because that’s a pretty weird thing to someone you just met even if you travel in the same circles. BUT then she pulls out a pair of Dear Evan Hansen tickets and says “I happen to have an extra ticket for tonight’s show, and Alex mentioned that you’ve been dying to see the show. Wanna come?” And I’m pretty sure I might have shed a tear in the middle of the bar before Laurel and I raced across the city to make the show.
It was amazing experience from setup to stage-door and I am so incredibly thankful to have such amazing and generous friends.
And if I still haven’t sold you on the show, listen to the musical’s breakout song below to get a taste of what’s in store.
I promise you that if you can somehow get yourself a ticket, you will not be disappointed.
P.S. If you’re in NY you can enter the daily lottery digitally at: http://www.dearevanhansenlottery.com/ Good luck!