We view them as complementary experiences, but each is meant to be enjoyed on its own. We're not trying to replace the experience of seeing the show. We take your privacy really seriously. I think the show speaks to different audiences, and different generations of theatre-goers, in different ways. We began the casting process almost a year ago, traveling back and forth to London for auditions, and we have an absolutely incredible company of actors, some of whom will be familiar to a West End audience, and others who just graduated drama school in the spring, for whom this is their first or second professional production. They played a big part in how we wanted to dive into the character of Connor especially, but also in how we get to know more about Evan and his mother, and all the family dynamics. Hear an excerpt from the Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel audiobook, read by current tour star Ben Levi Ross: Enjoy live events at insider prices. Benj, Justin, and I certainly love those American high school films, too. We had always talked about what that really was. After talking, Evan drops a letter, and Connor discovers it. Val has gotten into the world and written beautiful and meaningful backstories that help us understand the characters so much more. five years before his death, and it’s an autobiographical story of what it’s like to be a struggling musical theatre composer in New York City in 1990, when you have so much to say, and no one is interested in hearing it. By signing up you are confirming you are 16 or over.
We Brits love American high school films, so can we expect something akin to that lineage?
I am currently writing the screenplay for a film adaptation of tick, tick…boom! We wanted to leave it to the audience to decide for themselves who this person was, and the even trickier question of what to do with the work he left behind.
At the climax of the story, there was a point where Evan wasn't as emotionally demolished as much as he is in the show, and they wanted more of that.
We had to figure out how to tell that story in a way that both didn’t feel like the version we’ve all seen a million times before, and also in a way that allowed us to understand the character without ever slipping into glamorising, or in any way excusing, his behaviour.
What were you like as a high school student? But the guys found that to be inorganic.
It probably wasn't him being a menace; it was probably because he was a kid who had emotions that he couldn't control and had an outburst. Its writer Steven Levenson, tells us more... Dear Evan Hansen is not your obvious musical smash.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, who brought me on board to write the script, will be making his directorial debut with the movie, which we’re doing for Netflix. I think it’s great that we are now talking about these things openly and not allowing predators to hide in the shadows. Do you remember when he threw a printer at Mrs. G in second grade, because he didn't get to be line leader that day?" We always said there was more to that story. The difficulty and awkwardness and pain of growing up, but also the humour and the joy and exuberance of it.
In a two-and-a-half-hour musical, you have to narrow your focus such that you can't go down a lot of roads and explore tangents. Did you take the show's fan base into consideration when creating this book and expanding the Dear Evan Hansen universe? A certain aspect of humanity that fascinated you? Like Fosse/Verdon, it’s the story of a legendary figure in theatre history but, in contrast to Bob Fosse, Jonathan Larson’s genius was never fully celebrated or realised until after his death. Dear Evan Hansen is a book that's going to be viral and everywhere very soon. We have the facts and figures at our disposal. It really attacks you from all angles, with the music, the amazing acting, the innovative production qualities, and on top of that, the really passionate audience response. Then I saw the show and I thought less so that it could be a novel. which was a stage musical written by Jonathan Larson who later created the musical Rent. Dear Evan Hansen is the high school musical you actually need to see. Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel is available now in book and audio formats, with Emmich, Levenson, Pasek, and Paul embarking on a national speaking and performance tour to promote the publication. Dear Evan Hansen is a teen/young adult drama novel written by Val Emmich and Steven Levenson. I don’t think it was an accident that he kept that story out of his movie, because it’s a story that directly challenges his own mythology about himself as the auteur who was responsible for every single aspect of his creations.
I tried at first to insert lyrics from the show. At the same time, there were questions about these characters that we had left unanswered that we were always curious about. ©2020 The Book of Man, LTD. All Rights Reserved. Dear Evan Hansen is on at the Noel Coward theatre now. Steven Levenson: When the show opened on Broadway, we were so stunned by the response; in particular, we were amazed by the number of people responding to the show who hadn't even seen it.
How do you think it’ll go down over here?
So, it’s a very different kind of artist’s story. Right now it feels like a constant whipsaw between these two extremes, and it feels like the more we chip away at certain kinds of behaviours and attitudes, the more those behaviours and attitudes reemerge in other areas of society.
What’s your take on the debates around masculinity and toxic masculinity today?
After conquering Broadways, it's hitting the West End, and you won't want to miss it. And like those movies, Dear Evan Hansen is ultimately a coming-of-age story about what it means to grow up. Over the course of this story Evan will find himself in a situation where he can get all of those things, but it will come at a very high cost. Things are changing for the better in some aspects, and then in other ways it feels like we are actually going in the opposite direction.
And yet, it has proved a box office hit on Broadway and won two armfuls of Tony Awards.
Well, plane trips to NYC and ticket prices for this Tony nominated (9!) What other projects can you tell us about that are coming up?
It’s the story of an anxiety-riddled high school outsider whose therapist advises him to write nice notes to himself, which of course ends up in comedic misunderstandings as well as tragedy; mental health and suicide hang heavy over the story.
Is it more difficult to bring the stories of real people to life, in that viewers already have certain expectations?
I think we are living in a profoundly divided, almost schizophrenic, moment. But the mysterious thing about writing, of course, is that the world we’re living in – the contradictions and the crises – tends to come out on the page whether we are conscious of it or not. I was a theatre kid, which should probably come as no surprise.
It’s the story of an anxiety-riddled high school outsider whose therapist advises him to write nice notes to himself, which of course ends up in comedic misunderstandings as well as tragedy; mental health and suicide hang heavy over the story. With the story of real people, and especially celebrities, the public part of their lives is written for you – the challenge, and the opportunity, is to imagine what might have happened in the moments when no one else was watching. There’s definitely a challenge in telling stories based in real events, but there’s also a great freedom within those constraints, because we already know the skeleton of the story. The other big challenge was how to tell the story of a charming, brilliant artist who could also be an incredibly toxic, abusive, and destructive person.
It involves figuring out how to combine your vision with the vision of other artists to make something that can be greater than the sum of its parts. Why do you think it has struck a chord? Not only has Val written novels before, in a style and voice that really resonated with us, but he's also a musician. I loved being part of theatre, and I really found a community and a home there. Probably the most obvious challenge was figuring out how to tell the story of Bob Fosse in a way that would be different and unique in light of the fact that he already told that story so memorably, and so brilliantly, in his film, All That Jazz.