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Watch Ben Platt Perform in ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ | Anatomy of a Scene

NYT, 24 Sep 2021
Adapting the Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen” for the big screen gave the director Stephen Chbosky an opportunity to interpret some of the show’s themes in fresh visual ways.

In this sequence, the lead character Evan Hansen (Ben Platt) is struggling with anxiety on his first day of school. He sings one of the show’s signature songs, “Waving Through a Window,” as he walks the hallways. But the sequence isn’t choreographed or performed like a traditional musical.

“What is distinct about the scene,” Chbosky said, “is that if you look at what’s actually happening, even though he is singing, what the singing in this moment represents is a thought in his head.” So the character isn’t so much bursting into song as he is thinking into song.

Rather than “High School Musical”-style moves, Chbosky and his team instead went for a kind of visual choreography. That involved locker slams to the beat of the music and some quick cuts to represent Evan’s feelings of being both overwhelmed and ignored.

“It was really choreographed to his emotions,” Chbosky said. “That was always the main thing. Where is he living? What does this mean? How does it affect him emotionally?”

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