Dear Evan Hansen has a new polo-wearing star and he is shining brighter than ever. Andrew Barth Feldman already dished with us what it was like going from Jimmy Award® winner to Broadway star (part 1 of our interview here). Now he shares what he hopes audience members experience at Dear Evan Hansen, his recommendations for things to do around New York City, and his advice to theatre kids everywhere.
Broadway Inbound: Many people who come to see this show are around your age. What is it about this show that you think resonates with them so much?
Andrew Barth Feldman: I think Evan articulates something that’s very difficult for teenagers to articulate because we’re feeling it for the first time, and that’s that profound isolation. Steven Levenson’s book is pretty much perfect. It is able to look at the teenage experience with the appropriate amount of distance to talk about it without any vague lack of understanding, but still bring it to life from the view of a teenager. What’s also brilliant is that Evan isn’t the only one who feels that loneliness. It’s every character in the show, just like it’s every teenager in the world.
BI: Speaking of theatregoers your age, what things would you recommend they do around New York City while they’re visiting?
ABF: I’m a really big fan of themed things, so one of my favorite places to go is Ninja. It’s a Japanese restaurant styled like an ancient Japanese village, and there are ninjas. That’s really all you need to know. They’re opening up a Void location at the World Trade Center which is a very cool virtual reality experience that I highly recommend, and also Max Brenner’s Chocolate Bar is a must for chocolate lovers.
BI: What do you think audience members, regardless of age, can learn from seeing Dear Evan Hansen? Is there a message you hope they walk away with?
ABF: I really hope everyone comes to see Dear Evan Hansen because it teaches empathy and forgiveness, and I hate it when people say this, but those are two tools that we really need to be using right now. I think it opens up a conversation about themes like love and family as well as more specific, often stigmatized topics such as mental illness and loneliness. We need to be talking about these things, and I’m so proud that our show gives people an avenue to start that conversation.
BI: What advice do you have for theatre students who hope to one day be on the Broadway stage?
ABF: Don’t stop working. There’s no limit to how much you can grow. I’m not saying drive yourself crazy, but don’t ever think you’re done growing and changing and learning. Take that class, do that show, etc. and just open your mind to everyone’s process. You’re no better or worse than anyone else. If you keep growing, you will get here one day.
Between schooling and show time, we know Andrew has an incredibly busy schedule, so a huge thank you to him for making the time to chat with us! Don’t miss out on seeing his incredibly moving performance, visit the show page below and book your group tickets to see Dear Evan Hansen now.