With theatre productions placed on hold during all the lockdowns from Covid-19, it only makes sense that we are seeing more theatre productions making their way to the movie screen in a variety of different adaptations. And while most of those, like In The Heights and Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story are all based on plays built around big dance numbers, this next adaptation comes from a play that is all about its deeply emotional story rather than big musical numbers – though it does have a few of those too.
Titled Dear Evan Hansen, the play has been one of the most successful Broadway musicals of recent years, earning nine Tony Award nominations in 2017 and winning six, including Best Musical and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for its star Ben Platt. The play tells the story of Evan, a shy high school student struggling with loneliness, who becomes wrapped up in a massive lie after one of his classmates, Connor, dies by suicide. Desperate for a sense of belonging that he has long lacked, Evan creates a false story about being friends with Connor, becoming increasingly entangled with Connor’s family in the process.
Dealing with the topic of suicide, loneliness and mental illness, it’s not exactly the most upbeat stage production you can imagine and based on the first trailer we are seeing for the film, it will be bringing its tragic story and the required waterworks to the movie screen in a big way:
I’ve never watched the original stage production, but it’s always sounded to me more like a story that would be perfect for a movie drama and this trailer proves it. This places very little emphasis on the musical numbers, except at the end, and firmly shows the emotional weight of the story which is bound to be its main drawcard.
And to ensure that this story is told with a dramatic weight that is needed, Universal has brought in a stellar cast for this movie including Platt returning in the lead role and backed by other big stars like Julianne Moore, Kaitlyn Dever, Amy Adams, Danny Pino, Colton Ryan, Amandla Stenberg, and Nik Dodani. While its subject matter is not going to make this a movie for everyone, expect it to still get a fair amount of attention based on the hefty subject matter and cast alone when it releases later this year.
Last Updated: May 21, 2021