The Walter Kerr review
Posted by: broadwaybacker 10:42 am EDT 05/26/23
In reply to: re: Newly uncovered review of DEH by Brooks Atkinson (Read on, you question will be answered at the end of the review) - steveva 10:22 am EDT 05/26/23

stevea, here ya go. I used DEH again so that we could compare, and all I can say is wow:

"Dear Evan Hansen, a perplexing theatrical endeavor that sets out on a grand mission but stumbles along its ambitious path. This production, with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, a book by Steven Levenson, and direction by Michael Greif, presents a narrative that grapples with the complexities of adolescence and the desperate yearning for human connection. While its intentions are noble, the execution falters, leaving the audience with a sense of unease and unresolved conflicts.

The central character, Evan Hansen, as portrayed by [insert lead actor's name], is a fragile and socially anxious teenager who becomes entangled in a web of deceit and manipulation. [Lead actor] delivers a performance filled with genuine vulnerability, embodying Evan's insecurities with a sense of authenticity. However, the character's transformation is hindered by the muddled storytelling, which often relies on contrivances and implausible plot devices.

The score, composed by Pasek and Paul, boasts a handful of memorable tunes that resonate with the audience. Songs like "Waving Through a Window" and "You Will Be Found" possess melodic hooks that linger in one's mind. Yet, despite these moments of musical splendor, the overall impact of the score feels uneven and lacking a cohesive artistic vision. The songs, while individually appealing, struggle to integrate seamlessly into the narrative fabric, resulting in a disjointed and disconnected experience.

Levenson's book delves into the modern complexities of social media and its impact on human relationships, seeking to explore the themes of identity and loneliness. However, the execution falls short of its lofty ambitions. The characters often feel underdeveloped, relying on predictable archetypes and shallow motivations. As a result, the emotional connections between the audience and the characters remain tenuous, hindering the depth of engagement that this story so desperately needs.

Under Greif's direction, the production presents a visually striking landscape, with set designs and lighting that effectively convey the shifting emotional terrain. However, the staging feels overly busy at times, with distracting movement and choreography that detract from the heart of the story. There is a missed opportunity to create moments of stillness and introspection, where the audience can truly connect with the internal struggles of the characters.

Dear Evan Hansen aspires to be a thought-provoking exploration of the human condition, but it falls short in its execution. Its ambitious themes and desire to touch upon the universal struggles of adolescence are overshadowed by contrived plotlines and inconsistent characterizations. While there are moments of musical beauty and flashes of genuine emotional resonance, the overall impact of the production feels muddled and unsatisfying."

The message concluded with the following analysis, which is all the more incredible after comparing the Kerr review to the Atkinson review.

"In the hands of Walter Kerr, a critic known for his sharp wit and discerning eye, this review would likely highlight the missed opportunities and lack of coherence that hinder Dear Evan Hansen from achieving its full potential."

Previous: re: Newly uncovered review of DEH by Brooks Atkinson (Read on, you question will be answered at the end of the review) - steveva 10:22 am EDT 05/26/23
Next: re: The Walter Kerr review - AlanScott 03:22 pm EDT 05/26/23

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