After winning a six Tony Awards on Broadway, including ‘Best Musical’, Dear Evan Hansen opens in London in November 2019. It’s a story of social anxiety, wanting to fit in and creating new identities, with sensitive themes like teen suicide. But far from being tragic, the musical is thought-provoking, receiving rave reviews for its ability to tackle such issues. It’s wildly successful across the pond, selling a record-breaking $2 million of tickets for its eight-week run at Des Moines. Now landing in the West End, Dear Evan Hansen is set to stun and break the hearts of London’s theatre-goers.
The musical surrounds high school teenager, Evan Hansen, who suffers from extreme social anxiety. He has few friends and even less female attention, left feeling isolated and bullied. Evan’s relationship with his divorced mother is also a little strained, not to mention their lack of money for college funds.
Following the death of a student at his school named Connor, Evan finds himself at the centre of the tragedy. He fabricates a friendship with him to comfort Connor’s grieving family, but his lie quickly spirals out of control. Sharply thrust into the spotlight with his social standing higher than ever, Evan now must make a decision. Should he come clean or forever lost himself in the fantasy he created.
The complex story of real adolescent issues came from Benji Pasek’s own experience at high school. Pasek noticed that his peers capitalised on the death of a former student, pretending to have been friends with him. With his songwriting partner, Pasek and Justin Paul began working the musical, creating tracks such as ‘Waving Through a Window’ and ‘You Will Be Found’. ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ won ‘Best Original Score’ in 2017, alongside a heap of other mega awards. Time Out refers to the score, orchestrated by Alex Lacamoire, ‘brims with tuneful and thoughtful songs that sound like they could be on the radio tomorrow’, while The New York Times noted it has the ‘finest, most emotionally resonant score’.
The most relevant and important musical of Broadway makes it way to London’s Noel Coward Theatre. Book tickets now and find out why ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ is the most ‘gorgeous heartbreaker of a musical’ (The New York Times) you’ll ever see.
Named after the famed English playwright, Sir Noel Coward, the theatre has become a beacon for theatrical productions in the West End since opening in 1903. It’s first production of ‘Rosemary’ kickstarted the theatre’s success, where it has seen many legendary actors and playwrights showcase their talents for over a century.
The theatre was first called the New Theatre, changing names several times to tribute various contributors. Following a major refurbishment in 2006, it settled on the Noel Coward Theatre, honouring the playwright who wrote and acted in his first play there in 1920 - ‘I’ll Leave It To You’.
The venue was also associated with driving forward the career of John Gielgud, as well as seeing famous faces such as Laurence Olivier, Peggy Ashcroft, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Helen Mirren, Sir John Hurt, Vanessa Redgrave and many others on its stage. It also housed Sadler's Wells and Old Vic theatre companies temporarily in the period following the Blitz, where many other theatres were destroyed.
The productions were often plays of Shakespeare, which has continued forward to this day. However, contemporary audiences can enjoy a range of shows, including musicals, contemporary and classic plays.
Its architecture and decor also lends to the classical theatre experience. Designed by W.G.R. Sprague, the exterior flaunts a classic, elegant design while the interior is ornate and showcasing baroque furnishings. Seating is spread across four levels, adding to the drama and elegance.
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