This article contains spoilers for the show, you have been warned.
The Dear Evan Hansen Cast Recording is out! This new Broadway musical, with songs by the Oscar nominated Pasek and Paul, follows a high-schooler struggling with anxiety throughout the course of what happens when a lie snowballs out of control. The show also covers topics such as suicide, mourning, and single parenting.
1) Anybody Have a Map?
This song, that could be dubbed a mom anthem, opens the show and introduces us to the main cast of characters, Evan (Ben Platt), Heidi (Rachel Bay Jones), Cynthia (Jennifer Laura Thompson), Conner (Mike Faist), Zoe (Laura Drefuyss), and Larry (Michael Park). Evan and Heidi make up the Hansen family while Connor and Zoe are the children of Cynthia and Larry Murphy. This song gives a glimpse into the family that each morning has, leaving Heidi and Cynthia wondering if anybody has a map to parenting.
Stand Out Lyric: ‘I don’t know if you can tell but this is me just pretending to know.’
2) Waving Through a Window
Perhaps one of the most relatable songs in the show, Waving Through a Window illustrates how Evan feels when dealing with his anxiety. On stage (And on Seth Meyers), there is a brief spoken part in which Evan tries, and embarrassingly fails, to hold a conversation with Zoe. As someone with anxiety, I feel that this song hits the nail on the head about how it feels.
Stand Out Lyric: ‘On the outside always looking in, will I ever be more than I’ve always been?
3) For Forever
Onstage Between Waving Through a Window and this song, we learn that Connor Murphy has killed himself, and had a note that Evan wrote to himself for therapy in his pocket when he did so. The Murphy parents find it and assume it was a note from Connor to Evan. They think that they were best friends, while in reality it was quite the opposite. Evan’s anxiety gets the better of him and he goes along with it. This song is him making up a story to Connor’s family about the time that they (didn’t) spend together, a story that illustrates a perfect friendship.
Stand Out Lyric: ‘All we see is light, cause the sun burns bright. We could be alright for forever this way.’
4) Sincerely Me
We meet him earlier in the show on stage, but Sincerely Me introduces a new character to the recording, Jared Kleinman (Will Roland). A ‘family friend’ of Evan’s, Jared helps him make fake emails to show the Murphy family to prove that him and Connor were friends. This goes okay, Evan and Jared bantering over what should be said the emails. This song is by far the most humorous in the show, and my personal favorite.
Stand Out Lyric: ‘We’re close but not that way, the only man that I love is my dad.’
Now presented with emails that they think are really exchanges between Connor and Evan, the Murphy family is questioning everything. To them he was estranged, but in the email he seems to be a completely different person. This leads them, especially Zoe, to question why they should pretend to grieve this person that they never really saw a good side of.
Stand Out Lyric: ‘Cause when the villains fall, the kingdoms never weep.”
6) If I Could Tell Her
Another somewhat humorous anecdote, this song consists of Evan going a long winded false rant about the things Connor loved about Zoe, when in the reality they’re things that he loves about her. To Zoe, he is singing about her brother, but to Evan and an outsider who knows that it’s a lie, Evan is sing-confessing his love to her. On stage, the song ends with Evan’s feelings very awkwardly getting the best of him.
Standout Lyric: ‘He thought you looked really pretty, er it looked pretty cool when you put indigo streaks in your hair.’
This is Alana Beck’s (Kristolyn Llyod) musical entrance, and what I would say is the Act 1 turning point song. Connor, well who Evan hears in his head as Connor, talks to him about the fact that no one deserves to feel forgotten. In an effort to show that no one deserves to be forgotten, Evan turns to Alana and Jared to help him start The Connor Project. This sweet song illustrates why the lie can’t be exposed, it’s helped the Murphys too much for Evan to turn back now.
Standout Lyric: ‘No one should flicker out, or have any doubt that it matters that they are here.’
8) You Will Be Found
This Act 1 finale ties up the first act in nice little bow made of tears. The song follows Evan’s speech about Connor going viral, and people all over the country being moved by it. The message of Evan’s speech is that even when you’re in the dark, it won’t last forever and you will be found. It’s a message all of us need to hear at times, and a great pick me up song.
Standout Lyric: ‘So let the sun come streaming in, cause you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again.’
9) To Break in a Glove
Though dubbed ‘the song you skip’ by some fans, the song still serves a vital purpose in the plot. Larry Murphy, who up to this point has been a very closed in person, opens up to Evan like a dad. Him sharing something important to him, the baseball glove, with Evan represents the trust that he has put in him. Evan’s dad wasn’t around growing up, so it has a big impact on him as well.
Standout Lyric: ‘You do the hard thing, cause that’s the right thing.’
10) Only Us
A musical isn’t really a musical without a love song, and this is Dear Evan Hansen’s. It follows Zoe seeing Evan’s insecurity about their new relationship. He can’t understand why anyone, especially someone like Zoe, would show interest in him. She reassures him, and the song paints a good picture of what relationships are like for someone with anxiety. This concludes the ‘everything is going good’ part of the show.
Standout Lyric: ‘You don’t have to be scared you’re not enough, cause what we’ve got going is good.’
11) Good For You
It’s all downhill from here. Between Only Us and Good For You, Evan’s mom finally found out about everything. She is unsettled by the fact that Evan seems to have a better bond with the Murphy’s than he does with her, and feels like she wasn’t enough for him. On Jared and Alana’s side of things, they’re upset with Evan because they feel like they’re being dragged along and used. Them confronting him leads Evan to his breaking point.
Standout Lyric: ‘So you found a place where the grass is greener, and you jumped the fence to the other side.’
12) Words Fail
This song immediately follows Evan breaking and confessing to the Murphy’s that he lied. He knows it was wrong, and knows that there isn’t really anything he can say to fix it. He talks to the Murphys, and to himself, about why he let the lie snowball. In the Murphy’s, he had the perfect parents and the perfect girl. He had everything he ever wanted and he didn’t want that to go away. The song also includes a tear inducing reprise of Waving Through A Window.
Standout Lyric: ‘No I’d rather pretend I’m something better than these broken parts.’
13) So Big/So Small
Evan’s mom forgives him when she finds the note that Evan wrote to himself that started the whole mess, and realizes how much he was really hurting. She tells him about the day is his dad left, and how scared she’s been that she’s not doing good enough as a single mom. The song is wrapped up with her promising to always be there, no matter what.
Standout Lyric: ‘Your mom isn’t going anywhere, your mom is staying right here.’
The short final song in the audience is simple in that it reprises For Forever, but that doesn’t make it less vital to the show. It shows that Evan is learning to live with himself, that and everyone is learning to move on. It is widely theorized that Evan takes his own life at the end of the song, but this hasn’t been confirmed.
Standout Lyric: ‘All I see is sky for forever.’