Dear Evan Hansen & Preview Footsteps of Peace

New edition- as heard this morning on WICC 600:

“Welcome to Katz Reviews. This is Ed Katz of Katnip Marketing- marketing consultant by day, theater critic by night- with my weekly review segment, Katz Reviews, here for you on WICC 600.

With Broadway preparing to announce their Tony Award nominations May 2nd, I’m spotlighting leading contenders for Best New Musical. Today I review ‘Dear Evan Hansen.’

Because half the music and lyric team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul were graduates of Staples High School in Westport, ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ has received a lot of local attention. Pasek and Paul received even more attention when their music won the Oscar for ‘La La Land,’ which infamously almost won Best Motion Picture.

As played in a remarkable performance by Ben Platt, Evan has anxiety issues. He feels invisible and neglected by his peers, his over-worked single mom and the girl he has a secret crush on. But when a private letter he writes becomes public- and is misunderstood- it makes Evan a hero. But it’s a lie. So what does he do?

The book, written by award-winner Steven Levenson, is surprisingly funny even while building the suspense to Evan’s inevitable moment of truth. Directed by the talented Michael Greif, who also directed ‘Rent’ and ‘Next to Normal,’ the show packs an emotional wallop while maintaining hope. And, combined with Pasek and Paul’s indie rock score and smart lyrics, it delivers the goods.

This show is the whole package and, so far at least, THIS is the best musical I’ve seen all year. Timely, with a heartfelt, compelling story and a must-see performance by Ben Platt, get your tickets now because when they announce the Tony Award nominations next week- and it will receive many- tickets will become even harder to get. I give ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ the elusive 5 stars out of 5. It succeeds on all levels- a marvelous, rare achievement.

Locally, in downtown Bridgeport, The Klein Memorial Auditorium presents Joel Martin’s “Footsteps of Peace” concert this Friday, April 28th. Full disclosure: I’m a board member of The Klein but I saw the last “Footsteps” concert and it was a truly wonderful, moving night filled with a dazzling array of talented performers. Highly recommended! And this year, Thurgood Marshall will be honored. For tickets and info visit The Klein dot org.

Catch my reviews right here and on my Facebook page and website, Katz Reviews dot com.”

This is Ed Katz talking theater for WICC 600!

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