How does the Broadway musical (2016) compare to its film adaptation (2021)?
By: Carlos Glick
On April 21, 2022, I saw the Broadway musical production of “Dear Evan Hansen” and I absolutely loved it!
“Dear Evan Hansen” opened its doors to the public on December 4, 2016 at the Music Box Theater.
“Dear Evan Hansen” tells the story of a high school senior, Evan Hansen, who is battling with social anxiety disorder and depression.
He goes on a remarkable journey of self discovery when a letter he wrote to himself for a writing exercise falls into the wrong hands-and that person suddenly takes his own life.
Both the recent film adaptation and the Broadway musical tell the same story in a similar way but there are a few notable similarities and differences between the two portrayals.
In an article titled “Dear Evan Hansen: The Movie’s 8 Biggest Differences from the Musical” by Shane Redding, Redding goes on to state the detailed differences between the Broadway production and the film.
The first area of difference that Redding discusses is the songs that were cut from the movie, some of which include “Anybody Have a Map”, “Good for You”, “To Break in a Glove”, and “Disappear.” Even though these songs failed to find their way into the movie, we can still hear a glimpse of the uncut songs throughout the movie.
The next category that Redding mentions, which does tie into the first, are the new songs that debuted in the film. Despite the fact that various songs from the original Broadway production didn’t make the final cut, two new songs were added for viewers to enjoy: “The Anonymous Ones”, sung by the character Alana Beck, and “A Little Closer”, sung by the character Connor Murphy.
Redding proceeded to discuss the variation between the casts.
With the exception of Ben Platt reprising his role as Evan Hansen, the film has a lot of recognizable actors from other TV shows. In the Broadway production, different actors routinely come and go.
As pointed out in the aforementioned article, Jared holds a significantly larger role in the Broadway production than he does in the film. In a way, the Broadway production utilized Jared as if he were Evan’s conscience.
Redding pointed out that the film incorporated a more significant role for Alana. In the Broadway production, Alana has a minor role, but the movie offered much more content related to the character and her backstory.
In the Broadway musical, we see Connor appear fairly frequently, as he persistently encourages Evan to keep his memory alive. However, in the film, Connor is scarcely involved onscreen.
In the Broadway production, as Redding highlighted, Evan visits the Murphy family and confesses the truth to them and them only. In the movie, on the other hand, Evan doesn’t only confess the truth to the Murphys; he appears to want to confess the truth to the whole world.
The last section of Redding’s analysis is titled “Getting to Know Connor.” While we see the movie’s Evan truly wanting and striving to discover more about Connor during the third act, the play only briefly mentions this towards the end.
These are just some of the differences between both the movie and the musical. Most importantly, both versions are notably similar in terms of the overarching storyline and the message that is largely being conveyed to viewers.
“Dear Evan Hansen” is a must-see Broadway phenomenon. So get out there and experience it for yourself because trust me, it is worth it.