"Dear Evan Hansen" Might Be the Most Star-Studded Movie Musical in Ages

"Dear Evan Hansen" Might Be the Most Star-Studded Movie Musical in Ages
"Dear Evan Hansen" Might Be the Most Star-Studded Movie Musical in Ages
Elena Nicolaou
·6 mins read

From Oprah Magazine

  • Dear Evan Hansen is a Tony Award-winning musical that premiered on Broadway in 2016.

  • Couldn't see the musical on Broadway? The tear-jerker is becoming a movie starring Julianne Moore, Amy Adams, Ben Platt, and more.

  • Here's what you need to know about the Dear Evan Hansen movie, from plot to release date.

With Hamilton's release to Disney+ and The Prom coming to Netflix, we're living in the golden age of movie musical adaptations. Now, after stints in New York and London's theatrical centers, Dear Evan Hansen is finding a home on the big screen.

Universal Pictures confirmed the Dear Evan Hansen movie back in 2018, featuring Stephen Chbosky as director and the musical's writer Steven Levenson penning the screenplay. With big-name castings rolling in recently, like Julianne Moore and Amy Adams, the movie is becoming a reality.

Dear Evan Hansen is a hit Broadway show with an unlikely premise. The six-time Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of a high-schooler loner who, in the wake of a classmate's suicide, becomes entangled in a web of lies (not to mention other people's lives). The series of misunderstandings begins when one of Evan Hansen's letters to himself is mistaken for his classmate's suicide note.

Unlike Hamilton, which captured the original cast's theatrical performance, Dear Evan Hansen will be a complete cinematic extravaganza, much like the forthcoming adaptation of Lin Manuel Miranda's other musical, In the Heights. Here's what you need to know about the adaptation, from its tear-jerker of a plot to its impressive cast and release date.

Ben Platt will reprise his Tony Award-winning role.

As suspected, Ben Platt—the originator of the role of Evan Hansen—will work the same magic that eventually earned him a Tony in 2017. Today, you may recognize him from the Netflix satire The Politician, but Evan Hansen (along with Pitch Perfect) launched his career. Get ready for more crooning musical numbers.

Talking to James Corden in August of 2020, Platt explained that the movie will expand the universe displayed in the theatrical version. "[We] really see what this school is like, what the kids at the school are like and what these families are like in their homes and how they're different in terms of upbringing," he explained.

The musical will also give a more detailed depiction of Evan's character. "You get a little bit more personal insight into Evan in ways that you don't in the show because only when he's singing and speaking, you get to see who he is. The nice thing about being on film is you spend the whole film in my mind," Platt said.

Kaitlyn Dever and Amandla Stenberg will play Evan Hansen's classmates, among others.

Dear Evan Hansen's excellent cast is drumming up even more excitement—understandable, once you see the line-up. Kaitlyn Dever was cast as Zoe Murphy, Hansen's longtime crush. Zoe's 17-year-old brother, Connor, took his own life, and is the catalyst for the entire movie. Dever is best known for her work in Unbelievable, a wrenching Netflix miniseries based on a true story of sexual assault, and Booksmart, a moving and modern high school comedy.

Amandla Stenberg, who starred in the YA adaptation The Hate U Give, will play Evan's classmate, Alana Beck. DeMarius Copes, who was in the original musical, will be Oliver, one of Zoe's friends.

Photo credit: Steve Jennings - Getty Images
Photo credit: Steve Jennings - Getty Images

The cast is rounded out by A-Listers like Julianne Moore and Amy Adams.

Julianne Moore and Amy Adams starred alongside each other in the thriller The Woman in the Window–and will reunite for this musical.

Moore, whose most recent films include Gloria Bell and After the Wedding, will play Evan's mother, Heidi. Her husband, Mark, left the family years ago, and started a family with another woman in another state. Working as a nurse's aid, Heidi struggles to keep her life, and her son's, together. "Sometimes I feel like my mom works so hard just so she can hold up an invisible cross-country middle finger to her younger replacement," Evan sings in the musical.

Photo credit: Pascal Le Segretain - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pascal Le Segretain - Getty Images

Amy Adams will also play a mom in Dear Evan Hansen. Her character, Cynthia's, kids are Zoe and Connor. Adams' stint in the Disney movie Enchanted proved she can sing, and definitely can pull off the song "Does Anybody Have a Map?"

Photo credit: Gregg DeGuire - Getty Images
Photo credit: Gregg DeGuire - Getty Images

Dear Evan Hansen's plot revolves around social anxiety and a lie spun out of control.

Imagine your most awkward day in high school. For Evan Hansen, every day is his most awkward day. The 17-year-old senior struggles with social anxiety, which was exacerbated by his father's abrupt departure when he was seven.

Evan is encouraged by a therapist to start writing letters to himself as a way to sort through his feelings. The musical's catalyst occurs when Connor Murphy, Evan's classmate, takes his own life—and is found with a printed-out copy of Evan's letter in his pocket. Afterwards, Connor's family suddenly thinks that Evan and Connor were best friends, and welcome him into their fold.

Fueled by a desire to be accepted and find community, Evan ends up perpetuating this lie, and becoming close to the Murphy family. Dear Evan Hansen focuses on the convergence of adolescence, social media, mental illness—and sets it to music.

Don't expect the movie to come out anytime soon.

The movie hasn't begun filming yet, so a release date isn't within reach. Given widespread coronavirus-related filming delays, Dear Evan Hansen's premeire may be even later than expected. That said, The Prom is finishing up filming amid the pandemic—the show, indeed, goes on.

But you can stream the soundtrack now.

The hit musical's music and lyrics were written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul—the duo behind The Greatest Showman and La La Land's original music. Simply put? You know the songs are going to be memorable.

Ahead of the movie's release, get acquainted with the original Broadway cast recording. Listen for the musical's most famous lines, like, "You will be found" and "On the outside always looking in / will I ever be more than I've always been?"

Shop the Original Broadway Recording

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