SALT LAKE CITY — In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the national tour of Dear Evan Hansen to shut down while the show was playing in Salt Lake City. Almost exactly three years later, the tour of Dear Evan Hansen, directed by Michael Greif, is back in Utah at the Eccles Theatre. With a book by Steven Levenson and music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Dear Evan Hansen is a sensational and very relatable show. It has been a hit with critics and audiences everywhere since its debut in 2016 and won six Tony awards in 2017 and the Best Musical Theatre Album at the Grammys in 2018. In a world where conversations between people are more and more electronic than in person, Dear Evan Hansen addresses the personal feelings of loneliness and disconnection that unfortunately have been an effect of modern society.

Show plays in Salt Lake City through March 5, 2023.

Evan Hansen (played by Anthony Norman) is a high school senior starting his first day of school with a cast on his arm. His mother, Heidi Hansen (played by Coleen Sexton), challenges him to get his friends to sign his cast at school that day. However, Evan does not have many, well actually any, friends, and his severe social anxieties make it extremely difficult for him to ask people to sign his cast. At the end of the first day, Evan runs into Connor Murphy (played by August Emerson) who bullies him, signs his name in large letters right across the front of Evan’s cast, and takes a letter off the printer that Evan wrote to himself for only his therapist to see. Later, Evan gets caught up in the tragedy of Connor’s suicide when Evan’s letter was found in Connor’s pocket and everyone else begins to believe that Evan was Connor’s best friend. A project to remember Connor Murphy takes off and Evan’s dreams of fitting in and getting to know Connor’s sister, Zoe (played by Alaina Anderson), actually happen. However, Evan finds himself entangled in so many lies that he has no idea what to do or how to ever tell the truth. Although Dear Evan Hansen is overall an uplifting show, it is a show that is deeply felt with themes of suicide, drug abuse, loneliness, social acceptance, and family dysfunction and is recommended for audiences 13 and above.

Norman is outstanding in his role as Evan Hansen with his nervous twitches, snorts, and movements of self-conscious insecurities. His acting and singing were phenomenal as he led the cast in the inspiring and memorable songs “Waving Through a Window” and “You Will Be Found.” As he stood on a blank stage alone in the spotlight performing a speech at the school assembly and dropped his note cards and trembled in physical fear of public speaking, the audience was completely captivated and silent. What followed was the most inspirational and moving part of the night as the Norman sang “You Will Be Found,” and the rest of the cast joined him.

Sexton played the role of Heidi Hansen with a relatable feeling of a single parent never knowing what to do and how to be enough for a teenager. Her performance of “So Big/So Small” was heartfelt yet amazingly powerful as she sang, “Your mom isn’t going anywhere, your mom is staying right here.” Anderson’s take on Zoe Murphy was quiet and reserved. Her tender version of “Requiem” was touching, and her acting was heartfelt as she expressed her feelings to just be herself and not have to be known as Connor’s sister.

Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Pablo David Laucerica played Jared Kleinman, a school friend of Evan’s who helps him write letters from Connor. Laucerica served as comic relief throughout the night with his comments and takes on what Evan was messing up with. His performance in “Sincerely, Me” with Emerson and Norman was thrilling and engaging to watch.

One of the most fascinating parts of the night were the scenes designed by David Korins and the projections designed by Peter Nigrini. The set was minimal, with moving platforms that slid effortlessly on and off the stage. Large and multi-sized screens also moved around the stage and projected screenshots of phones, computers, letters, photos, and much more. The projections created a sense of the high-tech modern world its excessive digital connection and information overload.

With less than one week in Utah, audiences won’t want to miss this opportunity to experience the inspirational show that has swept the nation with its relatable connection and has touched the hearts of so many. Most of all, Dear Evan Hansen reminds viewers that, “No one deserves to be forgotten” and the need for all of us to remember that “You are not alone.” If you are struggling, please reach out, find another foothold, hold on, and keep going.

The national tour of Dear Evan Hansen plays Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7:30 PM, Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM, and Sundays at 1 PM and 6:30 PM through March 5 at the Eccles Theatre (131 South Main Street, Salt Lake City). Tickets are $69.50-$229.50. For more information visit

These reviews are made possible by a grant from the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Parks program.