Home Features Q&A: ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ Comes to Florida

Q&A: ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ Comes to Florida

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Photo by Matthew Murphy

Dear Evan Hansen comes to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts from Tuesday, March 26 through Sunday, April 7, and to two locations in Central Florida: at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts from April 9-14, and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts from April16-21. It  is the winner of six 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, features a book by Tony Award-winner Steven Levenson, a score by Grammy, Tony and Academy Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman), and direction by four-time Tony Award nominee Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal).

Declared “one of the most remarkable shows in musical theater history” by the Washington Post’s Peter Marks, Dear Evan Hansen opened at the Music Box Theatre to rave reviews on December 4, 2016, where its broken all box office records and struck a chord with critics and audiences alike.

In addition to winning six Tony awards, Dear Evan Hansen has won numerous other awards, including the 2017 Drama League Award for Outstanding Musical Production and for the off-Broadway production, two Obie Awards, a Drama Desk Award, and two Outer Critics Circle Awards and two Helen Hayes Awards. The show’s original cast won a Daytime Emmy Award for “Best Musical Performance on a Daytime Talk Show” for their April 2017 performance of “You Will Be Found” on NBC’s “Today Show,” only the second Broadway show in history to win that category. The Broadway production recently celebrated its two-year anniversary with a special donation to the Smithsonian, where the show’s iconic blue polo and arm cast will now be part of the permanent collection at the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C.

The Grammy Award-winning Original Broadway Cast Recording of Dear Evan Hansen, produced by Atlantic Records, was released in February 2017, making an extraordinary debut on the Billboard 200 and entering the chart at #8 – the highest charting debut position for an original cast album since 1961 – and went on to win the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. A Deluxe Album of the Grammy-winning cast recording, with six bonus tracks including “Waving Through a Window” performed by pop star Katy Perry, was released digitally by Atlantic Records on November 2, 2018.

A special edition coffee table book authored by Levenson, Pasek and Paul, Dear Evan Hansen: through the window is now available, offering an in-depth, all-access look at the musical, including never-before-seen production photos and cast portraits, behind-the-scenes stories, and a fully annotated script by the authors.

It was a pleasure to sit down with Stephen Christopher Anthony, who plays the Evan Alternate and grew up right here in Florida.

At what age did you begin performing, and how did it happen?

I started performing when I was about 10 years old. My mom encouraged me to audition for a show and I literally have not stopped since then. I did five shows that very first year. I then went to an arts middle school, and have been in musical theater since.  

What was your first professional/paid role?

When I was 10 I was in the Secret Garden at Actors Playhouse on Miracle Mile. I then I did Summer Stock all through college and fresh out of Florida State I did Catch Me If You Can

How did you get cast in this Broadway Across America production of Dear Evan Hansen?

My agents reached out with the opportunity to audition, and after my first audition I went and saw the show. After seeing the show I did eight rounds of auditions and I was in Miami visiting family when I found out I got the job.

Knowing the role of Evan won the Tony Award, is there a lot of pressure performing it?

There is a certain amount of pressure, but it’s less about the award and more about that the show is a gift to the audience. It’s rare you do a show that is changing lives. So many people are able to find themselves in these characters.

Other than this role, what has been your favorite to play?

This is my favorite thing I have ever done, but I did love doing Catch Me If You Can as I loved playing a chameleon that got to blend in.

What is your fantasy role?

I would love to do The Last Five Years.

How did you meet your partner?

We were set up on a blind date four years ago, and we instantly broke out in nervous sweats. We sort of knew right away.

Is it hard to be apart?

It’s very hard to be apart, as he is an actor also and travels. We try and meet yup as much as possible and see new cities together.

Are you looking forward to coming back to Florida?

Yeah, I can’t wait as I am going to be staying in my home with my family and playing with my family dog. I am also so excited to go back to the beach.

What should our readers expect from this production of Dear Evan Hansen?

It is one of the most intimate experiences that I have ever felt as an audience member. Every person sitting in the audience can see themselves in some way on the stage. It’s a show about healing and embracing yourself, scars and all, and making the most of every day. I am so excited to be bringing this show back to my home state.

If you want to find out more about Stephen, follow him on: Instagram.com/_StephenAnthony

Tickets for Dear Evan Hansen will be available at the Broward Center AutoNation Box Office, 201 SW Fifth Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Browardcenter.org or by calling 954.462.0222. Ticket prices start at $55.25.

Tickets for Dear Evan Hansen will be available at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts box office at 1010 North W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa, FL, or by calling 813.229.STAR  or online at StrazCenter.org, and at the Dr. Phillips Box Office at 445 South Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, FL or by calling 844.513.2014 or online at DrPhillipsCenter.org.

For more information, please visit DearEvanHansen.com.

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