Ben Levi Ross returning as Evan in Dear Evan Hansen has been one of the highlights of my year.
Few Broadway musicals have stuck with me and resonated as deeply as Dear Evan Hansen. The emotional story that follows a young boy with extreme anxiety has been a light in the darkness for so many of us out there.
I have been fortunate enough to see and experience Dear Evan Hansen live and in person a handful of times. I have experienced different actors take on the emotionally taxing role and make it their own each time. And each time, these incredibly talented Evans reduce me to a puddle of tears that ends up causing water damage to my beloved Playbill.
Hitting The Lottery
I was feeling pretty down and decided, on a whim, to enter the Dear Evan Hansen lottery at the last minute. “Did you really need to go again?” Everyone seemed to ask this. Of course not. But I needed something to make me smile and a depressing musical was just the ticket.
I hadn’t seen Ben Levi Ross perform live before and I never thought that I would be able to. It was very lucky for me indeed that I was granted the opportunity because Ben blew us all away.
Before I even took my coat off, the young girl sitting next to me asked if I had ever seen Ben Levi Ross perform before. I told her that I hadn’t, and was very curious and excited about what was to come. She told me I was about to be changed forever. She was 100% correct.
Evan Hansen, A History
My first experience with this show was Taylor Trensch who had a meticulous take on Evan that I appreciated because I saw much of myself in his performance. I saw Jordan Fisher in the role, who brought lots of tears and high notes that had me feeling like I was having a religious experience.
And of course, Ben Platt, who originated the role and stabbed us all in the heart and had us leaving his performances grasping desperately for tissues. Ben Platt also brought the role to the big screen in the movie adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen, and despite what critics and grumpy Twitter trolls say, his performance is just as soul-crushing and mind-blowing as ever.
Mentally, I find myself ranking the Evans that I have seen. Each one is more amazing than the next, but equally wonderful. The first thing my seat-buddy had mentioned to me was that Ben Levi Ross had exceptional comedic timing. Laughing at a Dear Evan Hansen performance? Maybe laughing through my tears.
A New Balance (Ba Dum Tsh)
The comedic elements that Ben brought to this performance were truly a wonderful addition. It created a balance and nuance for Evan that is seldom given a chance. The cringey awkwardness and sometimes painfully humorous aspects that intense social anxiety sometimes brings was something I was all too familiar with.
The emotion, the pain, the tears, all of the things that we associate with Evan Hansen, were still there and as well done as ever. During the climactic scene of Evan’s panic attack, my heart hurt and I felt myself get choked up as Ben’s performance seemed to mirror my own past.
This is a Ben Levi Ross stan account now. pic.twitter.com/tjs9jFlohy
— Dear Evan Hansen (@DearEvanHansen) April 8, 2022
It truly felt that Ben Levi Ross was captivating. A performance so beautiful and haunting, it will make you wish this current engagement was longer than 8 weeks.
Yes, you will cry. Yes, you will feel seen. Yes, you will find yourself wanting to raise your hand in the air as those high notes are hit. Maybe that’s just me. I was pleasantly surprised and happily blown away whenever Ben Levi Ross would sing. So many people worry that such a demanding vocal role will be disappointing but “disappointed” is the last thing you will be.
I am officially a Ben Levi Ross stan and cannot wait to see what they come up with next.
Tickets are on sale now for Dear Evan Hansen. If you are interested in seeing Ben Levi Ross in the role, you may purchase tickets now until May 17th, when Zachary Noah Piser takes over as Evan Hansen.