GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) — The musical performance of ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ will give mental health issues a voice in Greenville. The Tony award-winning musical opens on October 11 at The Peace Center.

7NEWS spoke with Anthony Norman, who plays Evan Hansen; and Nikhil Saboo, who plays Connor Murphy, in the national tour of the musical.

Can you tell us something about your character?

Evan Hansen is a 17-year-old kid and he’s a very isolated teenager. He gets caught up in a lie that he never meant to tell, and he gets caught up in something that’s just much bigger than himself, according to Norman.

Aside from that and the plot of the show, he’s an isolated teenager who just always feels like he’s on the outside of everything that’s happening, according to Norman.

How did you go about preparing for your character?

I feel that sort of feeling every day of feeling like I’m on the outside of something. Even though at my age and, you know, a level of success that’s happened in my life, I still feel like I’m missing out on a lot of things in life and missing out on a lot of connections and friendships, relationships, whatever, according to Norman.

But that’s a very overwhelming thing to think about. So I have to really focus and center it towards something whether it’s something I talk about in therapy or something that happened in my childhood. Sometimes I think about my nephew who is he’s on the spectrum and I think about him growing up and like possibly not having a hard time fitting in with people and that helps me access the sort of emotions that I need to reach, according to Norman.

What would you like audiences to take away from your portrayal of this character?

I didn’t know other people felt this way. If like if people leave the theater and feel that way, that’s like I’ve done the best job in the world. I’ve had kids reach out to me that are like, “I feel this exact way, and I had no idea someone else could feel this way. So thank you,” Norman said.

Nikhil Saboo plays Connor Murphy, who commits suicide early on in the musical. He said to play the character, Saboo recalls moments of feeling isolated in his past.

It’s the feeling that we all know of truly just feeling alone. That feeling when you truly just feel alone even to your closest people, even to the people who are your blood, according to Saboo.

The feeling of being isolated, of not being able to use your voice or your heart at any moment. It’s such a specific yet universal feeling that we all feel.

How have audiences reacted to the performances?

It varies from night to night, which is a really wild thing and it’s a very exciting thing. It’s thrilling to not know what you will get each night in certain instances from each audience, from different cities. It’s been wildly exciting and scary, but also thrilling.

Because I think the coolest thing about live theater versus TV or film or even sports events is that everyone in that room is going on a journey together.

Run time and age recommendation

·       Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission

·       The show recommends ages 12 and up. Children under the age of four are not permitted. 

·       This production contains adult themes, including discussions of suicide.

Awards

·       Winner of six 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical; 9 Tony nominations total

·       Winner of the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album

·       Winner of three Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical

Interesting facts

·      The story is loosely based on real-life events that writers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (LaLa Land, The Greatest Showman) experienced in high school and college. 

·      Evan Hansen wears a real fiberglass cast custom-molded to his arm. Each night, a new cast is applied at the start of the show and sawed off at intermission.

Tickets

$55 – $105

Tickets may be purchased online at peacecenter.org or by calling the Box Office at 864-467-3000.  Box Office hours are 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 90 minutes before each performance.

Follow the show on social media

·       Website: https://dearevanhansen.com/ 

·       Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DearEvanHansen/ 

·       Twitter: https://twitter.com/DearEvanHansen 

·       Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dearevanhansen/