Dear Evan Hansen: Plot and Characters

Learning the Story’s Plot

Dear Evan Hansen: the story that conquered Broadway
The musical that appeared on the stage of Broadway in 2015 has already won the hearts of the audience all around the world. From the very opening monologue to the ending of the story the play keeps the viewers on their toes.

The script of the musical is based on the book by Steven Levenson. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul turned it into a masterpiece that shows the scrutiny of social anxiety - a mental disorder so common amongst the American youth.

It is hard to answer the question: what is Dear Evan Hansen about? It is a social drama, a coming of age story but most of all its setting shows the problematic society, where the need to maintain a public face is so acute that people drown in loneliness and anxiety. For two of the characters suicide is a viable option to escape from the world they can’t cope with. But we are sure, you will find the whole new layers of sense in Dear Evan Hansen synopsis below.

Dear Evan Hansen Summary

The plot of Dear Evan Hansen shows us the young Evan Hansen, a school student suffering from social anxiety. He lives with his mother, Heidi Hansen and undergoes therapy, writing letters to himself about the good things every day.

Evan’s classmate, Connor Murphy, lives with his parents, Larry and Synthia, and his sister, Zoe Murphy. We see him using drugs and his mother unable to make contact with her kid - so much like Heidi.

Meanwhile Heidi offers Evan to ask his schoolmates leave a sign on his cast, so he can make new friends. Evan comes to school and ask his acquaintances - Jared Kleinman and Alana - to sign the cast but they refuse. Then he meets Connor. He is aggressive towards Evan because of drugs. Zoe comes to apologize, but leaves before he asks her to sign the cast.

Evan returns home devastated and writes a bitter letter to himself. He wonders if anyone notices his disappearance and writes about feelings towards Zoe. He comes to school the next day to print the letter and meets Connor again. Connor accidentally sees Zoe’s name on Evan’s letter, becomes furious and runs away with the paper.

Soon Evan learns that Connor has committed suicide. Connor’s family asks Evan to come. They found Evan’s letter near the body of their son. It started from “Dear Evan Hansen”.

Evan is unable to tell the truth. He finally feels the attention in Murphy family and he lies that he and Connor were best friends and had secret correspondence. After that Connor’s parents and Zoe warms up to him. The Murphys decided to gather funds to fix the orchard where Connor (according to Evan’s story) spent time with Evan. To make his stpry more plausible, Evan fakes letters from and to Connor.

Evan’s friend, Alana posts the fake correspondence online to gather more money for the orchard. People start to see inconsistencies in Evan’s story and suspect that the Murphys murdered their own son. When Evan sees that Larry and Synthia are about to divorse because of that, he breaks and tells them the truth saying that he was lying because he always wanted a family like theirs.

Evan returns to his mother, apologizes and admits that he also was suicidal. Heidi promises to be with him no matter what happened.

The story ends after a year. Evan meets Zoe and thanks her and her parents for forgiving him. After that he writes the last letter, reconciling with himself.

Dear Evan Hansen Characters Breakdowns & Current Cast

A great part of the success of the musical is the choice of the main cast. The first leading actor was Ben Platt. He explicitly showed the drama and confusion that fill Evan. At first Platt’s Evan didn’t understand where his way went to, but then he descended into a nightmare, not knowing how to end it. Ben Platt showed both the humanity and the insanity of the character so skillfully that the audience hardly believed that the actor himself was mentally healthy.

The current performer of this role is Andrew Barth Feldman. He plays the role milder and his way to portray Evan’s suffering is the one more of us can relate. Feldman’s Evan is the one we could see in our own high school. His monologues are filled with emotions we all felt in our teens and this makes his performance more plausible.

Laura Dreyfuss, the actress playing Zoe, acts so naturally that it’s hard to believe that the actors don’t date in real life. We didn’t give her much space in plot overview, but Zoe’s character has her own breakdowns: first when her brother commits suicide and than the destruction of her growing feelings to Evan. Zoe shows us the perspective of a sane person, who is traumatized by these events but manages to move on.

Another great choice for a female role is Rachel Bay Jones as Heidi Hansen. Heidi is one of the most underestimated characters in Dear Evan Hansen. Even her scarce description hints that she is just a background character. But Heidi’s care and her ability to overcome her own misery and finally give her son the unconditional love he needed becomes a cure for Evan and his way to salvation. Heidi’s heroism and sacrifice rarely gets noticed, but it is a major plot driver.

Between the Lines: Dear Evan Hansen Analysis

Lots of people wonder: is Dear Evan Hansen based on the true story? The answer is both yes and no. There was no real Evan Hansen. But the people who suffer from a similar mental disorder and are living in personal hell are around us.

The storyline of Dear Evan Hansen and the very background of the play is familiar to us. People with social anxiety are rarely as delusional as Platt’s Evan. They resemble Feldman’s Evan more: we can’t distinguish them from unhurt ones until it’s too late. We see that nothing can protect a person from themselves (Connor had everything and still felt miserable enough to commit suicide).

The main message of the story is awareness. We all should understand that anyone around us can fight their own battles and we never know how devastating it can be. This story teaches us to be more attentive to each other, care about beloved people, and never ignore the problems of others. It shows us how to survive and which mistakes to avoid. The ending involves solid food for thought, and you should really see it!

So, are you ready to visit Dear Evan Hansen? Buy Dear Evan Hansen tickets

Hurry up to buy tickets! The play has two acts full of drive and dynamics. Dear Evan Hansen running time is roughly 2,5 hours, including a single intermission. The director managed to change a small stage into a platform for the intimate living room and deliver several messages at a time that matters to each and every teen and parent. We believe that this musical is worth everyone’s attention as it reflects the most common problems in the life of any teenager today.