Some shows can really hit you hard the second time around. Really, really hard. My friend was surprised with tickets to Dear Evan Hansen by her parents and they invited me to come as an early birthday present. Having seen the show before, I knew what to expect and I was excited to see the show again.
The first time I went I saw the entire original cast but this time we saw Asa Somers, who is the standby Larry Murphy, go on instead of Michael Park. From the first moment the lights go up on stage, on Ben Platt sitting on the bed, the entire audience burst into applause. I found that seeing the show for the second time, the tears came sooner. By the end of "Disappear" and for the duration of "You Will Be Found" my friend and I, as well as so many of the people around us were sobbing. One of the moments that really got me was when Larry (played by Asa Somers that night) finally comes to terms with his son Connor's (played by Mike Faist) death. You can see him start to break down until Cynthia, his wife, (played by Jennifer Laura Thompson) comes over to help him up.
The emotional depth the actors have is astounding. From the mezzanine, you can see the tears coming down their cheeks and how emotional they get onstage. For an actor to put themselves through that 8 times a week, obviously must take an emotional toll on them.
Emotions continue to run high through the second act, especially when Connor asks Evan, "Did you fall, or did you let go?" in reference to how he broke his arm. While the show hints that Evan tried to take his own life by letting go of the tree branch, this is the first time it is clear that that is the case, and is made even more clear later when he tells his mom (played by Rachel Bay Jones) "you would hate me if you knew what I tried to do".
While I didn't stage door the first time I saw the show, I did this time. Rachel Bay Jones came out to say hi to everyone but didn't sign. However Asa Somers came out and signed everyone's playbills, going from underneath one umbrella to the next. He is a very lovely person and a very talented actor.
This show is something everyone should see. The story is real life, these things to happen, and it allows every audience member to understand why these things can happen and to see flaws in the characters that they may then find in themselves, and understand how that can be changed. While Ben Platt leaves the show on November 19th, Kristolyn Lloyd who plays Alana will be staying until March and everyone else will stay until May.