Defending Evan Hansen (from today's Broadway Maven Weekly Blast)
Posted by: TheBroadwayMaven (DavidBenkof@gmail.com) 07:36 pm EST 01/26/23

From today's Broadway Maven Weekly Blast:

Since Dear Evan Hansen debuted on Broadway in 2016, the titular character has been widely condemned online as a schemer and a manipulator, a liar and an abuser.

While Evan has all those qualities, focusing on his personality flaws misses much of the point of the show. Evan’s mental illness (never quite defined, but certainly he has social anxiety disorder at the very least) as a serious impediment to his ability to think clearly, and he thus deserves some sympathy for his ever-deepening web of lies.

More importantly, though, the show’s theme is not “Don’t be like Evan.”

To me (and this is underscored by the show’s social-media-obsessed set), Dear Evan Hansen is about the ways the modern media environment can take small things and explode them, and the difficulty of extricating oneself from the persona the Internet has given you.

And let’s be fair: Evan is a dynamic character. Some viewers don’t find the ending satisfying, but clearly he has learned from his ordeal. That’s good enough for me.

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