‘Dear Evan Hansen’ Cast Performed Live As ‘Les Mis’ – Director Explains Why It Was Vital

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Dear Evan Hansen will join the ranks of many 2021 movie musicals when it releases on September 24. The film is based on Tony’s award-winning musical of the same name. And Ben Platt is reprising his winning role of Tony as the main character. The film took a page from the Wretched playbook by having its actors sing live during filming. In a recent interview, the Dear Evan Hansen Director Stephen Chbosky has revealed why having Platt and his co-stars sing live was vital to the story.

Ben Platt and Julianne Moore in ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ trailer | Universal Images / YouTube

Will “Dear Evan Hansen” be streaming?

Dear Evan Hansen will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 9 and in theaters on September 24. In the heights, which debuted in theaters and on HBO Max, Dear Evan Hansen will not get dual cinema and streaming output. It’ll hit theaters first, and given it’s produced by Universal, it’ll likely end up on Peacock. According to Reuters, the Universal films will be added to the streaming service four months after the theatrical debut.

However, tickets were made available for the digital screening of the premiere in person at TIFF earlier this year. If you’re one of those people who landed a ticket before it ran out, you’re in luck! For these fans, Dear Evan Hansen premieres on the TIFF Bell Lightbox website on September 9.

RELATED: “Dear Evan Hansen”: Ben Platt Receives Casting Nepotism Charges Due to Father’s Role as Producer

The cast of the movie “Dear Evan Hansen” sang live during the filming

So what can viewers expect to see in the movie musical? Dear Evan Hansen is all about Evan Hansen de Platt, a lonely high school student struggling with his sanity. He feels more and more isolated because of social networks. But he suddenly finds himself making friends and finding community when people mistakenly think he was a close friend of his classmate Connor Murphy, who took his own life. Too fearful to lose the support he suddenly found, Evan lets people believe he and Connor were best friends and goes to great lengths to make the fake friendship real.

Platt is the originator of the role in the Broadway show. In the film, he is joined by Julianne Moore as Heidi Hansen, Amy Adams as Connor and mother of Zoe Murphy, Kaitlyn Dever as Zoe Murphy, Colton Ryan as Connor, Amandla Stenberg as Alana Beck, Danny Pino as Larry Mora (the Connor and Zoe’s step – dad, a change from the original Larry Murphy Broadway show) and Nik Dodani as Jared Kalwani (named Jared Kleinman in the show).

All of these actors will be performing live when you see them in theaters. Chbosky told Variety that singing live was important in keeping the emotional stakes of the dramatic storyline. He said:

“For me, the live vocals were the cornerstone of this particular movie. I had an instinct that the more we could talk about music, the more dialogue and lyrics were almost indistinguishable in the way we approached them, that the tone would be more grounded and real. We are dealing with real grief, real emotions; there really is no fantasy.

RELATED: 24 Broadway Shows You Can Already Stream Online

Ben Platt movie musical has emotionally powerful songs

Chbosky noted the challenges Dear Evan Hansen poses for the cinema, claiming that setting up the film’s musical numbers required more nuance of acting and staging than a large production number. He said:

“The difficulty with a musical is usually finding a reason to sing. And with some of the other musicals I’ve done and enjoyed, it’s usually performance-based or fantasy-based; it’s in a cabaret where it’s a Disney princess. But a dining room is different from a chateau and a teenager’s bedroom is different from a cabaret. So we had to find the right path in each song.

The director praised the music and lyrics of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul for their ability to convey powerful emotions. (You heard their work in La La Land and The greatest showman. Yes, they are responsible for “This Is Me”. While most of those movies featured pre-recorded vocals, there are also moments of live singing from the cast members.) He said:

“We talked a lot about the tone and what each song is intrinsically about. Take “Waving Through a Window,” which opens the film. When we broke it down, we said, ‘It’s a thought in his head. He does not speak, he reflects. So visually, we approached him as being separate from everyone else. He goes to high school, he’s the outsider.

It’s inspired by those incredible shots where you see a person in a crowd. We weren’t going to let him do a “High School Musical” style choreography. Again, with every song there was a dramatic reason to sing. And that’s what makes Pasek and Paul so special: there is no song for the song. It’s all about moving forward with history.

Get ready for an emotional ride, folks.

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