Dear Evan Hansen, Broadway’s Tony Award-winning Best Musical, will make its anticipated Miami premiere at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County from February 15-20. Miami-born actor, Stephen Christopher Anthony, leads the North American Tour cast in the title role.
A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. Dear Evan Hansen is the deeply personal and profoundly contemporary musical about life and the way we live it.
Dear Evan Hansen has struck a remarkable chord with audiences and critics everywhere, including The Washington Post, which says Dear Evan Hansen is “one of the most remarkable shows in musical theater history.” The New York Times calls it “a gut-punching, breathtaking knockout of a musical.” And NBC Nightly News declares the musical “an anthem resonating on Broadway and beyond.”
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It was a pleasure to sit down with native Floridian, Stephen Christopher Anthony, for this Hotspots exclusive interview:
At what age did you begin performing and how did it happen?
In fifth grade we did a school play at Howard Drive Elementary, and I was trying to take over every job. I wanted to play my character, and direct everyone else, and be the stage manager. That summer, I was ten, my mom encouraged me to audition for a production at Actors Playhouse on Miracle Mile, and I ended up doing four more of their productions that season, and I just never stopped.
What was your first paid gig?
I did summer stock throughout college. We did four musicals, alternating night to night. I sold concessions before the show, performed three roles, swept popcorn out of the audience afterward, took down the sets and set up the next night’s show, played keyboard and guitar backstage, and choreographed the whole season; I was making like $250 a week. It was amazing.
When did you know performing would be your career?
I struggled with this decision. Performing has always been my first love, but as a teenager I didn’t have any insight into the industry, and I feared I would fail, so I left the decision to chance. I met high school students today who audition for fifteen different Musical Theatre BFA programs. I auditioned for just one— Florida State. I said, if I get in, then it’s meant to be. If I don’t get in, I’ll study something else. Looking back that sounds ludicrous, but I felt very at peace with it at the time, and it all worked out.
Other than this one, what has been your favorite role so far, and why?
I did “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” in summer stock and it’s the best time I ever had onstage. The improvisational aspect with audience participation made every single night unpredictable and thrilling. I mean, my grandma was a guest-speller onstage one night. I got to perform a musical with my grandma onstage, how many people can say that?
What’s your fantasy role (a role you haven’t played but want to)?
Honestly after it opened on Broadway, I told a hundred people that Evan Hansen was my dream. I can’t imagine what’s going to be more stimulating than this, but I can’t wait to see. I hope it’s something that hasn’t been written yet that somebody’s writing now.
Is there pressure playing Evan knowing all the Tony’s it won on Broadway?
The quality of the material actually takes some of the pressure off— the words feel good to perform. There is definitely pressure in knowing how much the show means to people. I know I’ve had transformative experiences sitting in an audience and I want to give that to people.
How did you meet your boyfriend and what makes him the perfect man for you?
We were set up on a blind date seven years ago! I don’t know that anyone’s perfect for anyone, but we do work very hard at our relationship, improving our communication and care for each other. He makes me laugh like nobody else in the world, that’s super important. And he is willing to grow with me- neither of us are the same person we were seven years ago, and he accepts every new weird change of mine.
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How hard is it being away from your boyfriend while touring?
He’s gonna hate me for this but it might be harder being away from our puppy. Kidding (am I?) This role, in particular, is so emotional and cathartic, all I want in the world is to come home after to some snugs and laughs with the both of them, it’s very difficult. I will actually be with them both for a week after Miami 🙂
What did you do/accomplish during the pandemic?
We got a puppy. We moved in to our first apartment together in NY. I took a semester of political science online at MDCC (literally during the 2020 election- I don’t recommend studying poli sci during volatile election cycles while in lockdown, for the record). I started my yoga instructor certification. I mastered the Rubik’s Cube. I knit a blanket. Mostly just sat around and panicked though!
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Has The Range
What should our readers expect from this touring company of “Dear Evan Hansen”?
You’re gonna laugh, you’re gonna cry, and you’re gonna leave having great conversations, I hope!
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For more information on Stephen, go to: Instagram.com/_stephenanthony or go to his website: stephenchristopheranthony.com
Tickets to Dear Evan Hansen are $40, $55, $75, $95, $115 and $135* and may be purchased now at the Adrienne Arsht Center box office by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at arshtcenter.org.
For more information, please visit DearEvanHansen.com.