Librarian Liz Burke; teachers Mayra Fanning and Sarah Monnerat; Sr. Mary Taymans; and seven students had the opportunity to hear from the creators and authors of "Dear Evan Hansen" on October 9. NPR's Ari Shapiro interviewed the creators as they shared how their DC-developed, Broadway hit became a separate novel that could stand apart from its musical backstory.
Noted Ms. Burke, "The story is about the struggles of adolescence, in particular the struggle to fit in, and issues of mental health. In the end, 'Dear Evan Hansen' is ultimately about love -- how the love of one person can make a difference in the life of another, and it is about self-acceptance and love of oneself." Knowing that there would be people who might never get to see the musical, Ms. Burke shared, the creators were inspired to write a book that might reach teenagers with a need for the characters and the mental health issues explored in its story.
Priya Kelly '22 fell in love with musical while listening to Spotify one day, and was thrilled to attend the event. She admired "the masterful portrayal that Ben Platt had taken on as the social outcast," said Priya. The group of students who attended the event bonded over pizza beforehand. "This event allowed for me to have a deeper understanding of the way the story and songwriters catered both the show and the music based upon the original actors. Maybe that’s why Ben Platt plays Evan Hansen so well? It allowed for me to to have a deeper understanding of the musical that it so close to my heart," she said.
Students also had the opportunity to meet Kathleen Leahigh Whisenhunt '85, who happened to be at the event and recognized the Visitation uniform students were wearing. She is photographed with the group.