Could Dear Evan Hansen be heading to London's West End? We speak to the cast and creatives
We speak to Ben Platt and Rachel Bay Jones.
It's one of the biggest hits on Broadway right now and as Dear Evan Hansen is gearing up to see if it can take home the Tony Award for Best Musical at the 2017 ceremony next week rumours are circulating that the show could find itself in London's West End in 2018.
After originally opening at the Arena Stage in Washington D.C back in 2015, the musical had its original New York Production off-Broadway at the Second Stage Theatre before transferring to Broadway where it officially opened on 4 December 2016 at the Music Box Theatre. Since opening the show has become one of Broadway's most successful musicals, regularly taking in over $1million a week and playing to standing room only crowds.
With such excitement surrounding the musical, could a London West End production be on the cards in the coming years?
Tony Award-nominee Rachel Bay Jones who plays Heidi Hansen, Evan's mother seems hopeful as we recently spoke to her in New York last week.
"We’re all hoping for that!" she exclaimed as we asked her about plans for a London transfer. "I’m not sure if it’s too American, but we are all hoping for it because it’s kind of a dream of mine to go over there." The Broadway star of Pippin and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown was certainly keen to make the trip over the pond. "Never!" she claimed as we asked if she had previously performed in London before, "I want to! We’re putting it out there...".
Ben Platt who stars in the title role of Evan Hansen has been working the awards circuit for the past few weeks and is looking set to take home the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Speaking to him about creating the difficult role, he told us how he first approached the part to make him connect with audiences.
"I think it was a combination of things" he commented. "Our book writer Steven Levenson had a really specific, jumping-off point of this kid that he had in mind in terms of the way he wrote his rhythm and his self-effacing comedy. His deep inability to connect was such a great place to jump off from and I think it was then a mixture of using that as an impetus for some instincts physically and also thinking about kids from my own past at high school that also had a difficulty connecting and were social outcasts and taking tidbits from them. I tried to create a kid that was specific enough that you felt you knew him from somewhere in your life, but universal enough that you could see yourself in him somewhere."
The universality of Dear Evan Hansen is something that composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul also commented on, which would make a move to London's West End highly likely. "We do hear from people who are touched and feel that the show is resonating with them" Justin commented as we spoke in New York. "They feel like they are represented on stage. That’s a really special thing. I think there’s no greater gift to receive as a writer than to know that something you have written has resonated with someone who maybe feels like your friend and maybe feels like they haven’t been represented before. Now there is someone like them on stage. We owe that as much to the cast because they are so authentic and so real in their portrayals of these characters. I think everyone can relate to them because they are so true to life."
Stay tuned for new of a London production of Dear Evan Hansen in the West End...