Review: Dear Evan Hansen – Amanson Theatre – Los Angeles

With social media and the fast pace of the modern world, I can’t imagine what it’s like being a teenager these days. As a xenial (the generation in between millennial and Gen X), I grew up in the slow paced 80s and 90s and as I was coming of age, life was hard enough. Dear Evan Hansen is about a nervous teen that deals with mental health, anxiety and the desire to fit in. 


The musical begins with a monologue by Evan. He rambles on with run-on sentences in a manic fashion. He talks to his friends on social media and is obsessed with his “likes” on Instagram. He likes this girl at school, Zoe Murphy (played by Alaina Anderson) but doesn’t know how to approach her. His therapist tells him that he needs to write letters to himself about how good each day will be. Evan’s mom tells him to ask people to sign his cast to make friends. He tries but his two friends refuse to.


Connor Murphy finds one of Evan’s letters and discovers that he has a crush on his sister Zoe. He signs Evan’s cast and then pushes Evan to the ground and tells him that he is going to show the school the letter. Evan is called into the Principal’s office days later because Connor committed suicide. The letter to Evan was found in Connors’s jacket insinuating that Evan and Connor are close friends. They think Connor wrote the letter. Connor’s signature on Evan’s cast validates the letter.


Evan goes to the Murphy’s house for dinner and he tells them what he thinks they want to hear and so he spins his web of lies. Anthony Norman gives a spectacular performance as Evan. He is manic, anxious and confused. When you are a teen you can feel invisible; his character spun the web of lies to become popular and a social media sensation. He is a people pleaser and creates a fictional character of himself as “best friends with Connor.” Through fake backdated emails, he creates a story with many holes that eventually leads to his downfall.


The characters are complex and filled with depth. The first act sets up the story and is a little slow but as the story continues in act two, you see the complexity of each of the characters and how their lives are interwoven together. I found the character of Cynthia Murphy (played by Lili Thomas) who plays Evan’s very concerned mother to be filled with passion, drive and the ultimate love for her son. This working single mother will do anything to provide for her son and goes to school during the day and works at night. Her lack of presence in Evan’s life causes him resentment and pushes him to tell more lies.


The story shows how social media can spread like wildfire and how there are consequences for every action. The optics of a post are so important and can make or break you. The overall message of the musical was that people can feel small or alone. Teens live in a world where they are striving to be accepted and many times will feel alone. This can cause detrimental mental health, feelings of distress, and never feeling like you are good enough. 


Evan comes from a broken family, with his dad abandoning him and his mother at a young age. He gets a taste of what its like to be accepted by the Murphy’s which are a nuclear family and tells them what they want to hear so they continue to care for him. To Evan, the grass is greener on the other side and he definitely lets him mother know that. 


The music is emotional and will have you feeling empathetic; it will tear you from your heart. You can feel the tension between characters and the tears that they cry. Though the first act is a bit slow, wait for the second and you will definitely ride the rollercoaster of social media, fame and consequences. Watch the web of lies unfold. 

Dear Evan Hansen is playing at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles through July 31st, 2022. 

For tickets, click here

David Christopher Lee


David Christopher Lee launched his first online magazine in 2001. As a young publisher, he had access to the most incredible events and innovators of the world. In 2009, he started, one of the largest portals for all things luxury including 5 star properties, Michelin Star Restaurants and bespoke experiences. As a portrait photographer and producer, David has worked with many celebrities & major brands such as Richard Branson, the Kardashians, Lady Gaga, Cadillac, Lexus, Qatar Airways, Aman Hotels, just to name a few. David’s work has been published in major magazines such as GQ, Vogue, Instyle, People, Teen, Men’s Health, Departures & many more. He creates content with powerful seo marketing strategies.

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