“i’ve learned to slam on the brake
before i even turn the key
before i make the mistake
before i lead with the worst of me
give them no reason to stare
no slipping up if you slip away
so I got nothing to share
no, I got nothing to say”
those were the first lines i ever heard from Dear Evan Hansen months and months ago, and if i’m being truthful? my first thought was, “yeah, me too.” finally, someone had words more eloquent then i could come up with for how i felt. the more i listened, the more i connected with almost everything out of the main character’s mouth. evan’s loneliness, his desire to matter, his anxiety, the overly cautious outlook on life, feeling completely lost in a day where “connecting” only happens superficially on social media, his feeling hopeless more often than not… “no i’d rather pretend i’m something better than these broken parts // pretend i’m something other than this mess than i am…” i get it. i think in some way or another, we’ve all been there. i might not have the same exact social anxiety as he does, but the same root feelings are there, and there are often days where hiding is easier than answering (well-meaning) questions. “yup, all good!” is always an easier lie to tell, isn’t it? less messy. less heart-lying-on-the-table exposed.
but where does that leave us at the end of the day? unknown. feeling lost in the shuffle. like no one knows how to actually love us as we are, much less love us well… not friends, definitely not family… we still don’t know how to talk about or address mental health struggles in our society. we’re told, “just get over it already! quit being afraid, just go for it! just, ya know, do what you want to do!” but anyone who struggles with it, knows that’s the least helpful thing to hear. no one knows quite what to say. but this show? it dives head first into the mess. into all the hurt, neglect, anxiety, depression, suicide, coping, loneliness, mental health issues… and offers hope that you will be found right in the middle of it all. that you are not alone. whether you’re the parent struggling to know how to best love your kid, or the person going a million miles an hour trying to do it all and leave a mark, or the person who just tries to remember to take deep breaths most days (guilty as charged), you will leave this show feeling a little less alone and a little more hopeful. if you’re honest, there is a character on that stage that you will relate to, guaranteed. and gosh being able to relate is a powerful thing, isn’t it? and when you put that message with a insanely talented cast, directors, and the genius of pasek and paul writing the music, you’ve got pure gold.
… And ben platt… ohhh dear. i left the theatre saying “i just feel like i need to give him a hug!” ben platt is nothing short of endearing and completely brilliant, and i have a feeling no one will bring the same passion, tenderness, and raw talent to make Evan come to life like he does. how do you leave your heart and soul on the stage 8 times a week like that? he has every tick, every mannerism, every vocal inflection, the body language… all pieced together perfectly, and my gosh the man leaves ALL the emotion poured out onto the stage every single time. by the end of the show, my entire row was in tears, including the two 65 year old women on one side of me, and the 40 year old man on the other. you can’t help but be incredibly moved by this story and his performance.
i knew i had to see him in it before he moves on, and it was truly my favorite, most memorable performance i’ve ever seen an actor give. ever. the cast, writers, directors… they’re all phenomenal. but ben is the superhero. and in his beautiful, unique way, offers so much hope by the end of it all. every teenager, every parent, heck i think every PERSON should see this show. it’s a story that NEEDED to be told. it has the power to change the way we relate to one another by opening up a real conversation, if you’re brave enough to ask, and then brave enough to tell the truth. it opens eyes and gives perspective in this social media driven culture we find ourselves in. i’m beyond thankful i had the privilege to watch all 8 of the original cast family in this show, and i’m so grateful for what these stories, characters, and words have offered to me personally over the past 6 months, in a season where i’ve needed something to grasp onto the most. thank you, thank you, thank you Dear Evan Hansen for the reminder that #youwillbefound.
i’m seriously amazed by this cast, and the fact that they can all give a performance like that (TWO shows the day i saw them!) and still come out to say hi and sign an autograph. i hope every single person at the stage door told them a big ‘thank you’. they’re incredible, and kind, and gracious, and give more of themselves to these roles than anyone should have to. rachel bay jones just won the tony award for her role in this show, and it was SO well deserved. she was fantastic in such a raw, emotional part to play. the main thing i wanted to say to each of them (besides ‘thank you!’) was to let them know that the work they do matters. that their specific job and the role they play, what they bring to it… it matters. i’m not exaggerating when i say that i’m sure the music and message of this show has saved lives that otherwise would have ended too soon. these actors make it all come to life 8 times a week in such a unique, beautiful way. this job that they do day in and day out, it matters. big time. and i’m so humbled that each one of them looked me in the eye to receive my thanks and appreciation.
i may or may not have loved michael park since his ‘as the world turns’ days ;) this was the 2nd show i’ve seen him in, and he just gets better and better!seriously. they could have each just moved down the line, signing one playbill after another as quick as possible to go rest between shows (what i would have done) but each one paused, looked me in the eye, and thanked me for coming. they’re the best of the best. pretty sure this photo is proof that we’re new BFF’s ;) “you will be found” bracelet can be found on etsy HERE, and it’s my new favorite accessory and daily reminder :)
“have you ever felt like nobody was there?
have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere?
have you ever felt like you could disappear?
like you could fall, and no one would hear…
even when the dark comes crashing through
when you need a friend to carry you
when you’re broken on the ground
you will be found”