Dear Evan Hansen: Why Don't I Love You?

evan-hansenDear Evan Hansen:

I know your therapist wants you to write self-affirming letters to yourself to help you improve your self-image and cope better in interactions with the people around you. And I know you won a whole bunch of Tony Awards last year and that you inspire lots of people. But does that mean I have to love you?

Barb and I booked our tickets to see your show at The Music Box Theater in New York City months ago. Last Sunday, travel umbrellas held high, we sloshed the mile and a half to the theater to see the matinee. We weren't quite sure what your story was, and we weren't familiar with the music, but that never prevents us from enjoying a really great show.  We didn't know much about "Hamilton" before we saw that either...

Anyway, umbrellas securely tucked out of the way, we settled in for what we hoped would be two and a half hours of being swept away. The stage was hung with giant Twitter feeds and highlights from other social media, so we knew the show would be hip and au courant. And we had pretty good seats, eighth row, a bit left of center, just like my politics. We were ready!

And then your tale began. You were a good kid, but like all high school kids you had some problems. Then one of those damn self-affirming letters you wrote wound up in the wrong place. Misinterpreted, it put you into a "situation" that you exaggerated, and eventually outright lied about. First good things happened, then bad things happened, and then we fast forwarded a year and things looked brighter. The end.

During the course of your story, you sang some songs and everyone else sang a few too. I wish I could remember even one melody! And I can't put my finger on it, but all the actors seemed just a beat or two off. Maybe it was because that show was the last performance for one of your costars, the guy who transforms from your early nemesis to your post hoc best friend. But the curtain call was great, as we got to see the cast bid him a tearful farewell. That was true emotion!

The playbill compared your story to the likes of  previous Broadway teen romps like "Hairspray," "Grease" and "Next to Normal." But the first two rocked, and the latter was more about adult mental illness than teenage angst. I'm sorry Evan, I think you just have a bad case of Young Adult Fiction Syndrome. Painful, but it won't last forever.

I know you are coming to Chicago next year. I recommend you look up Ferris Beuler and spend some quality time at Wrigley Field with him. I promise you that you'll feel a whole lot better. No self-affirming confessions required!

Sincerely,

Me

 

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