APPLETON — The Grammy- and Tony-winning musical “Dear Evan Hansen” will take the stage at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center from April 19-24.
“Dear Evan Hansen,” which received rave reviews after it opened on Broadway in 2016 and made its way to the big screen in 2021, was originally scheduled to air at Fox Cities PAC in June 2020, but had to be rescheduled after the COVID- 19 pandemic hit.
The musical tells the story of high school student Evan Hansen who faces severe social anxiety and a sense of isolation from his peers. After a classmate dies by suicide, Evan forms a close bond with the classmate’s family through an elaborate lie.
The show focuses heavily on themes of mental health issues and feelings of isolation — something many people have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ actress says. , Jessica E. Sherman.
“We all had that for 20 months – just the feeling of total isolation and tapping on screens and only talking to people through it,” Sherman said.
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Sherman plays Evan’s mother, Heidi Hansen. She originated the role in the musical’s international debut in Toronto, Canada in 2019, then joined the US national tour the same year. After the pandemic shut down live theater everywhere, Sherman, along with the rest of the cast from the “Dear Evan Hansen” U.S. tour, took an extended break from performing.
The “Dear Evan Hansen” US tour began touring the country again in December 2021, with a majority of the same cast and crew that were involved before the shutdown. Sherman said revisiting the show after so long apart gave the cast a new perspective on the show.
“We all came back heavier, I guess. The weight of the world was different for us,” Sherman said. “I think we all came back with a real sense of the importance of history more than ever now.”
Because they had seen the success of “Dear Evan Hansen” before the pandemic, rehearsals upon their return were largely stress-free, with “no fear” that the musical would not be well received, he said. she declared.
“It was like a reunion in some ways, in that love that you felt for everyone that you missed for so long,” Sherman said. “Coming back to a room full of these people who love and care so much about each other has been a real blessing.”
In 2017, “Dear Evan Hansen” was nominated for nine Tony Awards, winning six of them. In 2018, the cast album received the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. A film version of the musical was released last year. With success in the world of musical theater over the past few years, Sherman said “Dear Evan Hansen” has a loyal fan base.
“The show means so much to people. … A lot of people come in knowing they’re going to see themselves validated and represented on stage,” Sherman said.
Whether or not audience members know “Dear Evan Hansen” before entering the theater, Sherman said they’ll likely see parts of themselves and loved ones in the musical’s characters.
“I think everyone will see themselves reflected in it — in one or more characters, in aspects of certain people,” Sherman said. “These are all very real, flawed individuals who try so hard in their own way. And all of them never quite achieve their goal – failing, as we all do all the time.”
Tickets for “Dear Evan Hansen” can be purchased online through Ticketmaster, by phone at 800-982-2787 or through the Fox Cities PAC box office in person or by phone at 920-730-3760. The PAC ticket office is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
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