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> Vice President Joe Biden launches the Biden Cancer Initiative > Russian Oligarchs: Diamonds & Debutante Balls > Going Into Town, A Love Letter to New York > Stanley Kubrick at The 21 Club > Seeking the Starman on the Streets of SoHo
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36 VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN REDRAWS THE BATTLE LINES IN AMERICA’S LONGEST WAR The fight against cancer continues by JacobM. Appel MD, JD 48 GOING INTO TOWN Renowned illustrator Roz Chast draws a love letter to New York by Roz Chast 62 BROADWAY’S DEAR EVAN HANSEN After the curtain comes down, the conversation about teen suicide and social anxiety continues by Iris Wiener 72 ONE BAM, TWO CRACK, MAH JONG’S BACK! by Bonnie Adler
The Ed Sullivan Show and Westport’s Staples High School introduced the biggest names in Rock & Roll by DanWoog 96 THIRD EYE: GENERATION WEALTH Bling dynasty and new oligarchy by photographer and filmmaker, Lauren Greenfield 106 FICTION: THE HEIRS A proper upbringing: Brearley, Vassar, the Upper East Side by Susan Rieger 118 SATIRE: COLONIAL DAY ALONG THE GOLD COAST Create the ultimate colonial shoppe by J.C. Duffy
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DEPARTMENTS 24 TRAIN OF THOUGHT Saint in the City: Seeking the Starman on the streets of SoHo byMichael Gentile 130 I’LL TAKE MANHATTAN Midtown moments 132 LIKE A ROLLING STONE Continental drifting, island hopping and winter slopeside adventures 160 LOOKBOOK Chill out with Norwegian Wool outerwear 164 HISTORY MAKERS Happy 25th Anniversary, Jay Heritage House by Suzanne Clary 168 STATE OF MIND Facing Addiction, a Call to Action by JimHood 174 ROOM WITH A VIEW 1 Atlantic 176 APPRAISED AND APPROVED Natural Living 191 SCHOOL GUIDE The Case for Taking a Gap Year by Ethan Knight, Executive Director and Founder of American Gap Association
Independent Schools, Universities, Summer and Gap Year Programs 240 COMMUNITY ROOM Dog Sitting at the 21 Club photograph by Stanley Kubrick
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Editor & Publisher Eric S. Meadow Editor Celia R. Meadow Art Director TimHussey Executive Editor Debbie Silver Travel Editor Susan Engel Editors at Large PaulaKoffsky, HerschelMeadow, Rich Silver, Simone Bonnie Adler, JacobM. AppelMD, JD, Elise Black, Roz Chast, Suzanne Clary, J.C. Duffy, Michael Gentile, BarryHimmel, JimHood, EthanKnight, SusanRieger, Carly Silver, IrisWiener, DanWoog Cartoons BobEckstein Contributing Photographer LaurenGreenfield Cover Illustration CamilloFerrari Web Designer Alexis Tiganila DistributionManager Man inMotion LLC Advertising Sales Manager Libby Rosen Advertising Sales Representatives JensenFrost, DianeHomer, Casey Edison, Mike Edison, PaulMcNamara, Bart Smidt, InnerstreamMedia Advertising & Editorial Inquiries (203) 451-1967 Weston Magazine, Rye Magazine, Westport Country Capitalist, Greenwich Country Capitalist,NewCanaanCountryCapitalist,HamptonsCountryCapitalist,Westchester Country Capitalist, Long Island Country Capitalist, Litchfield County Country Capitalist, TriBeCa Magazine, SOHO NYC Magazine, The Upper East Side Magazine, Central Park West Magazine, and Alpine NJ™, Issue #61, are published 4 times per year by WestonMagazine, INC. P.O. Box 1006, Weston, CT 06883. Tel: 203/451-1967. Email: email@example.com westonmagazinegroup.com Copyright 2017 by Weston Magazine, INC. All rights reserved. Weston Magazine/Country Capitalist/ Rye Magazine/The Upper East Side Magazine/Central ParkWest Magazine/TriBeCa/ Soho NYC/Alpine NJ™ are trademarks of Weston Magazine, INC. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced either in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. Weston assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Print subscription rate: four issues, $100. Back Issues, $10. Attention Postmaster: send address corrections toWeston, P.O. Box 1006, Weston, CT 06883. Printed in Canada. General Counsel Bruce Koffsky, Esq. Contributors astudio/Shutterstock.com Social Media Director
IT’S STRANGE when you yearn to return to another time and place, realizing the past is not the way you tend to see it, and most likely not the way things occurred. On a recent late spring day I caught myself immersed with mixed emotions, mostly nostalgia, walking along the curvy brick wall that surrounds St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral on Mulberry St. David Bowie lived in Manhattan at 285 Lafayette Street from 1999 on. The back of his building faces that churchyard. I wondered, when Bowie sipped his morning tea, was this the view contemplated out his window? Maybe, or it’s just my imagination. Or maybe Bowie thought about the Venerable Pierre Toussaint, a devout religious Haitian once buried in St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral cemetery, who’s a current candidate for canonization. That’s when the Catholic Church declares that a person who has died is worthy of becoming a saint. Possible connections? Early one winter morning in 1990, in a crow’s nest seat facing Mulberry St., the graveyard visible from the top floors located in the Puck Building, I watched Toussaint’s body being exhumed. The Catholic Church started the disinterment on November 1st, “All Saints Day.” The purpose was to verify Toussaint’s remains before proceeding with the sainthood process. Pierre Toussaint was brought to NewYork City as a slave and eventually gained his freedom. He took the name Toussaint to honor Toussaint L’Ouverture, the leader of the slave revolution who liberated Haiti from the French. Toussaint is French, meaning “all saints.” All Saints was also the name of Bowie’s instrumental compilation released in 2001. I played that record for five days straight after 9/11. The album also includes an obscure song he wrote called All Saints . Cherry picking? You decide. In July 1895, Nikola Tesla was investigating and performing experiments with x-rays and a radio-controlled boat located in his 46 E. Houston St. laboratory, less than a city block away from where Bowie lived. In another strange twist, Bowie’s stunning portrayal of Nikola Tesla in the 2006 film The Prestige , shows how his creative endeavors keep intersecting with the lives of his memorable neighbors. I worked for the New York Press during the 1990s as their founding art director in the Puck Building, a distinctive Romanesque revival landmark on the Houston and Lafayette St. corner. The Puck Building is awash in publishing and print history. Standing above the building’s entrance, the troublemaking gold cherub, “Puck” still greets you. The New York Press offices were on the ninth floor. The offices’ previous tenants, Vanity Fair ’s E. Graydon Carter and WNYC’s Studio 360 host Kurt Andersen, co-founded and produced Spy magazine in the same space. My publisher Russ Smith had Carter’s old office, the floor’s prime location
with impressive city views. Looking west on Houston St., the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White’s elegant Cable Building sat nestled on the horizon. Carter greeted us with a kind gesture when we arrived: he left an excellent bottle of champagne. The “soon-to-be-lost” view from that room is one you never forget. This sweeping panorama included many other iconic residences and unusual sights: one could see Jeff Koons’ old studio on the corner of Broadway and Houston St. Koons’ Balloon Dog was in the making. And that’s where, “I spoke into his eyes” briefly during an April Fool’s Day reception for Bowie’s 21 Publishing venture and Modern Painters Magazine. The Koons studio event was an art occasion Warhol would’ve adored. I’ll never forget the courteous and gracious handshake I received from a man wearing a stunning brown suit. Also, you could see Sonic Youth’s apartment across Layfayette St. and watch shoppers enter Keith Haring’s Pop Shop, next to an auto repair garage and a taxi-filled gas station. Those two buildings are gone, a sleek glass
and steel designed complex is currently under construction, and that stunning Puck view, will disappear forever. The Puck Building has undergone transitions too, now a jewel of Kushner Properties, it’s crowned with ultra- luxury rooftop penthouses. A short walk down Jersey St., which runs parallel to the Puck, was The Magic
and I wonder if they only knew. Maybe not. The alley is eerily similar and feels like The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust album cover. I hope I’mnot alone inmy veneration for David Bowie’s sainthood as I take the opportunity to reflect, “just for one day.” > A version of this story first appeared on Splicetoday.com *
BOWIE’S STUNNING PORTRAYAL OF NIKOLA TESLA IN THE 2006 FILM THE PRESTIGE, SHOWS HOW HIS CREATIVE ENDEAVORS KEEP INTERSECTING WITH THE LIVES OF HIS MEMORABLE NEIGHBORS.
--- Michael Gentile is recognized for mentoring a generation of artists to produce some of their best work as founding art director for the iconic New York Press and continues cultivating visuals and writing. The list includes: Splicetoday, NYLON, LA Weekly among others. WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM 25
Shop, a recording studio on the corner of Crosby St., where Blackstar was recorded. Sadly, the studio has closed, another gentrification victim. One can’t help but feel Bowie’s presence still lingers on the once desolate Jersey St. The Supreme store kids are sitting on the curb, busy trying on newly purchased chic sneakers
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BY JACOB M. APPEL MD JD
47TH VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AND DR. JILL BIDEN, CO-CHAIRS OF THE BIDEN CANCER INITIATIVE, TALKWITH BOARD MEMBER DR. DAVID AGUS AT A LAUNCH EVENT ON JUNE 26, 2017, AT FACEBOOK OFFICES IN NEWYORK, NY. PHOTO COURTESY BIDEN CANCER INITIATIVE
I know of no cadre of people in the world more desperately in need of hope than the sixteen million people with cancer,” Vice President Joe Biden told the nation’s leading cancer researchers and clinicians at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago on June 6, 2016. The speech occurred a year after the death of the Vice President’s own son, Beau, from glioblastoma, and six months after President Obama, in his State of the Union Address, had asked Biden to lead a “Moonshot” against the nation’s second most deadly killer. “As I travel the world, and I’ve now traveled over a million, two hundred thousand miles as Vice President... with any leader I met, without exaggeration, the first thing they said to me was, Mr. Vice President, before we begin, can I talk to you about your Moonshot?”
The Moonshot was the latest salvo in a war on cancer that began when American troops were still on the ground in Viet Nam. Although Congress authorized the National Cancer Institute as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1937, and later incorporated the agency into the National Institutes of Health, both the military language of the “war on cancer” and its rise as a matter of serious political concern originated in the Nixon Administration. In his 1971 State of the Union Address, President Richard Nixon declared, “The time has come in America when the same kind of concentrated effort that split the atom and took man to the moon should be turned toward conquering this dread disease. Let us make a total national commitment to achieve this goal.” What followed was the National Cancer Act of 1971, a law that both reorganized
continue to die each year of cancer—as many as perished in World War II, Korea and Viet Nam combined. In 2003, the head of the National Cancer Institute, Andrew Von Eschenbach, claimed that an additional $600 million in annual funding could eradicate cancer by 2010. Needless to say, that did not happen. While patients had benefited from major breakthroughs in the treatment of certain cancers, like some leukemia and lymphomas, mortality rates for others, like pancreatic adenocarcinoma, remained largely unchanged. Yet the highly public battles of long-serving Senators Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania against cancer, and the publication of Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies , a comprehensive, Pulitzer-Prize winning history of the war on cancer and its shortcomings, created a groundswell of renewed interest in the struggle.
Shortly after announcing the Cancer Moonshot in his State of the Union address, an effort modeled on President Kennedy’s successful pledge to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s, President Obama established a task force in the Office of the Vice President to recommend a new battle plan in the ongoing war on cancer. The effort also led to the creation of a blue ribbon panel of scientific experts, co-chaired by Dr. Tyler Jacks of MIT, Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee of Johns Hopkins and Dr. Dinah Singer, Acting Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute, whose seven working groups addressed specific research challenges. As the panel’s final report noted, “The Cancer Moonshot has brought the entire cancer community, industry, and patients and families together
government efforts against the scourge and funded fifteen new cancer research centers. Nixon’s effort made curing cancer a national priority—at least in theory. The following four decades have certainly witnessed significant advances. Public health initiatives to drive down tobacco use and widespread screenings, such as mammography and colonoscopy, prevented countless cancer diagnoses and premature deaths. On the treatment front, researchers identified the genetic origins of cancer, most notably oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, while treatments advanced for some cancers to include targeted monoclonal antibodies and novel immunotherapies. By 2016, the federal government was spending $5.2 billion annually on cancer research. Yet for all of those efforts and advances, approximately six hundred thousand Americans
in a way that we haven’t seen before.” A Cancer Moonshot Summit occurred June 2016, drawing four hundred thought leaders to the nation’s capital and another 7,000 participants to three hundred local gatherings to brainstorm and exchange ideas. Even in a Washington beset by gridlock, lawmakers proved willing to take action. “The only bipartisan thing left in America is the fight against cancer,” Biden told audiences at the SXSW festival in 2017. One short-term product of the Moonshot was passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, bipartisan legislation signed by President Obama on December 13, 2016, that included $1.8 billion in new funding for the “Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot” as well as more controversial provisions designed to speed drug approval. When the Vice President left office, he established the Biden Cancer Initiative to continue the efforts of the Moonshot
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endeavor as a nonprofit venture. The venture is being directed by Gregory C. Simon, the former executive director of the Moonshot Task Force, who previously served as Vice President Al Gore’s Chief Domestic Policy Advisor and as a senior vice president at Pfizer, the pharmaceutical conglomerate. Of note, Simon is also a cancer survivor himself—having successfully defeated a diagnosis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. In a phone interview, Simon outlined the two underlying goals of the Initiative: to foster a sense of urgency behind the war on cancer and to generate more effective strategies for the fight. “We are not a funding organization,” explained Simon. “Our focus is on being a catalyst for change.” Simon sees the environment now as fundamentally different from what Nixon faced in 1971. “As Vice President Biden says,” he observed, “When President Nixon declared war on cancer, he had no weapons. He had no army of researchers trained in oncology. He had no winning strategy.” But forty-six years later, many aspects of the effort are being conducted using the same antiquated methods that had been state-of-the-art in the early 1970s. “We still do things by hand in an automated world,” Simon explained. “If any other business operated the way [the anti-cancer effort does], they wouldn’t be competitive in the market.” information make no sense. Similarly, access to clinical trials is often illogically limited by demographic and geographic factors. Large swaths of the country, both rural areas and some urban centers, are what Simon calls the equivalent of “food deserts” for medical research. Simon foresees a world where patients receive care where they live, rather than having to travel great distances to enroll in drug trials. He also anticipates improved access to information, so patients can more easily make educated choices about treatment alternatives, and measures that will make medications more affordable. Earlier this year, at the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland, Vice President Biden made an even more hopeful prediction: “I see the day when those younger people of you in this room, when you take your children and grandchildren later for their school physical, that they will—at the time they get their vaccination against measles and mumps, they’ll be vaccinated against certain types of cancer.” It is only fair to note that Vice President Biden’s approach to confronting cancer has been met with tempered criticism in some circles. Cancer researcher Vinay Prasad of Oregon Health and Science University, co-author Ending Medical Reversal: Improving Outcomes, Saving Lives , wrote in the Washington Post that the best way to cure cancer is to fund science across the board, rather than targeting cancer specifically. He explained that “a serious moonshot would require funding science broadly, consistently and in steadily increasing amounts. This money would go to The core of the Biden Cancer Initiative’s mission is facilitating modernization and collaboration in both research and the delivery of care. One crucial aspect of this effort is the free exchange of data. “To get funding, researchers [often have to] keep their data behind proprietary walls,” lamented Simon. “The raw data can be locked up behind a wall for a year.” From the perspective of patient welfare, those barriers to exchanging
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cancer biology research, but also to physiology, molecular biology, genetics, physics, chemistry, social science, clinical trials, supportive care and on and on.” Science is incremental, according to Prasad, and it is impossible to predict the origins of the next breakthrough. Similarly, Gina Kolata and Gardiner Harris, writing in the New York Times , observed that “the chances of reaching a moment of victory as
the analogy ‘moonshot’ suggests seem entirely unrealistic.” But the Vice President remains optimistic. He told the assemblage at Davos that “the collaboration between cancer centers, drug companies, the insurance industry, and government is where the solution lies—and how we’ll end cancer as we know it.” The difference between Biden and his critics may not be whether a Moonshot is achievable, but rather what is meant by a Moonshot. “We won’t have one turning point in the war on cancer,” explained Simon. “We’ll have many.” Or, as the Vice President explains it, the mission is to “double the rate of progress” and accomplish “a decade’s worth of advances in five years instead of ten.” The Initiative, which was formally launched at the end of June, stands in the very early stages of a long mission. Simon concluded our phone conversation by emphasizing that everyone has a part to play in the war on cancer. We can all be foot soldiers, so to speak: ensuring friends and family members engage in preventive screening, for instance, or advocating at the grassroots level. “We [at the Biden Cancer Initiative] don’t own this,” emphasized Simon. “The American people have turned this into a movement.” For more information about the Biden Cancer Initiative: bidencancer.org --- Jacob M. Appel is a psychiatrist and attorney in New York City. His thirteenth book, Millard Salter’s Last Day, is due out in November 2017. *
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GOING INTO TOWN by Roz Chast
For native Brooklynite and quintessential New Yorker Roz Chast, adjusting to life in the suburbs (where people own trees!?) was surreal. But she recognized that for her kids, the reverse was true. On trips into town, they would marvel at the strange world of Manhattan: its gum-wad-dotted sidewalks, honeycombed streets, and “those West Side Story things ” (fire escapes). GOING INTO TOWN is part playful guide, part New York stories, and part love letter to the city, told through Chast’s laugh-out-loud, touching, and true cartoons. Roz’s parents, featured prominently in her inimitable #1 New York Times -bestselling and National Book Critics Circle award- winning graphic memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? , make several appearances in these pages, including stories of going “into town”—as they called it—to see a musical, armed with food and warnings, and in the cover drawing of young Roz subway-bound with her mom. Copyright 2017 Roz Chast. Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury.
ROZ CHAST GREW UP IN BROOKLYN. Her cartoons began appearing in the New Yorker in 1978, where she has since published more than one thousand. She wrote and illustrated the #1 New York Times bestseller Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? , a National Book Critics Circle Award and Kirkus Prize winner and finalist for the National Book Award; What I Hate: From A to Z; and her cartoon collections The Party, After You Left and Theories of Everything. rozchast.com
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Breaking the Fourth and Fifth Wall: How Dear Evan Hansen Has Gone Beyond the Stage to Impact Teen Suicide, Bullying, Mental Illness and Social Media BY IRIS WIENER
D ear Evan Hansen began as a germ of an idea about the yearning for a connection with others; co-lyricist and writer Benj Pasek was considering the embellished ties his teenaged peers had to a suspected victim of suicide. Pasek went on to explore the idea of connecting with a tragedy further alongside writing partner, Westport’s Justin Paul, during their college years, and before long the pieces of the story began to come together. Skip ahead to more than a decade later, and the Tony Award-winning musical is transcending the stage as it breaks a proverbial fifth
BELOW: BENJ PASEK AND JUSTIN PAUL PHOTO BY DIRTY SUGAR PHOTOGRAPHY
Beyond the performance Though DEH is unique to all other musicals in its effectivemessages, its awareness-raising is accomplished through methodology that exceeds most any to come before it. The cast participates in traditional talkbacks
how the showneeded to offer supportive outlets for people who were experiencing similar problems. “From very early on, I didn’t feel that it was right to put on a performance of this show without some resource in the program that said, ‘Here’s where you can call to talk about it some more,’” she recalls. The DEH team began very carefully and strategically gathering the right not-for- profit partners: Child Mind Institute, The Trevor Project, JED, Crisis Text Line and Born This Way Foundation. Working with such organizations organically brought them much needed attention, simultaneously promoting the show and its important messages. Mindich says that the foundations’ work with them has spread “in a very natural way that feels a lot like the show itself.” In May, Child Mind Institute, whose goal is to “transform the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders,” presented Mindich and DEH book writer Steven Levenson with the Visionary Award at their annual Change Maker Awards. CMI President Howard S. Koplewicz has received a tremendous amount of positive feedback from patients and clinicians about DEH ’s impact on lifting the stigmas surrounding mental health disorders. “We cannot discount the power that this show has to make people feel a part of something,” Koplewicz says. “When I see a conversation between Evan and his mother play out, and it feels so real, and I hear amother in the row behind me sniffle and wipe away tears, I know I have been in the presence of something fundamental. That is the first step towards a broad conversation and consensus about child and adolescent mental health.” The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, and the JED Foundation, which promotes mental health and approaches for preventing suicide, also presented DEH with distinguished awards this year, due to its far-reaching lessons and outreach.
“People see their friends and family in these characters,” says Koplewicz. “They are seeing the truth, and they are open to spreading the message and changing their attitudes.”
occasionally, though Mindich points out that they mostly hold them for organizations supporting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, as the cast is always drained after performing. She also notes that people often want to leave the theatre “and be alone with their thoughts, or talk to someone about their thoughts.” Talkbacks are not crucial to the poignancy of DEH . Schools flock to the Music Box Theatre, so much so that DEH ’s team didn’t have to set out to work with them; the content spoke for itself. In the coming year, entire schools will be attending performances, and many of them plan days completely dedicated to the show, featuring programs before and after they have taken in the piece. Karen Devlin, a high school English teacher on Long Island, says that DEH “was the catalyst for some great class discussions about the social pressures teenagers face, mental illness, the hyper connectivity of social media, loneliness, parenting…” The discussions in her classes weren’t limited to the students who had actually seen the show. “All of my students had a lot to say about these issues. It has created an incredible opportunity to have really important conversations. Plus, it cautions students about the danger of judging others WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM 63
wall. After all, Dear Evan Hansen doesn’t end when the curtain drops, nor does the show simply reach beyond the stage to its audience; an integral aspect of this production has always been its outreach, which producer Stacey Mindich admits has far exceeded the Ben Platt plays the title character in the show about an isolated, lonely teenager who unintentionally becomes a social media sensation and a representation of the compassion that is lacking in most high school students. DEH centersonthemesofteensuicide, bullying, mental illness and social media, amongst others, which ledMindich to consider DEH team’s expectations. Laying the Foundation
Changing lives To understand how DEH is reaching people on a very visceral, profound level, one must not look further than Rye’s Daniel Pellegrini, whose mother has dubbed him the “real-life Evan Hansen.” Laura Pellegrini remembers a life- changing day earlier this year when 11-year-old Daniel, who has been diagnosed as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)/ ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), brought her his phone and simply said, “Does this help?” before walking away. On that phone? “Waving Through a Window.” “You have to speak ‘Daniel’ sometimes,” she says of her son’s occasionally literal and scriptive mode of speaking. “When he gave me the phone I knew that was his way of saying I was supposed to interpret the words, because this was him trying to say the words to me , that this is how he feels when he is trying to talk to his own friends and they shut him out, so it’s like he’s not even there. This song is so empowering for him.” The song meant so much to Daniel that he decided to sing it at his school talent show – in front of
and it encourages compassion.” The extensive study guide at DearEvanHansen.com provides in-depth interviews with the cast and creative team, as well as questions and activities that allow students to critically think through reading, writing, performing and artistic expression. It also places emphasis on social media and its effect on communication and self- perception. Professionals, such as Aliza Weinberger, the Audience Development Assistant at Mashable, weigh in on the topics covered, simultaneously prompting students to reflect on themselves. Weinberger writes: “The Internet is a complex place. Terrible things can happen there, like bullying, no privacy, and miscommunication. You can waste so much time scrolling through other people’s Instagram photos or swiping through Snapchat stories and imagining their lives are better than yours. But the Internet is also pretty amazing.” Students are directed to consider their online selves: Is the persona you project through social media the real you? Why or why not? Do you behave differently on different forms of social media? Additionally, the guide inspires teenagers to be “seen” through their art, their words and their voices, in similar fashion to the show itself. Mike Faist, the actor who plays suicidal teenager Connor, told Interview magazine, “the biggest thing between all of the young characters is that they don’t want people to see them, because if we allow ourselves to be seen, actually seen, and allow [ourselves] to be vulnerable, then we lose the game. Teens don’t want to let people know how they are actually feeling. That’s… where everyone feels marginalized and displaced a little bit.” YouTube has made it clear that schools are helping students to be seen and to find their voices – just check out any number of videos of concerts and graduations featuring Pasek and Paul’s score. Mindich remembers that early on, teachers and principals were calling regularly to get permission to use the music because they felt that “You Will Be Found” was an especially important song of hope and perfect for endings and beginnings at schools.
DANIEL PELLEGRINI WAS ASKED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE BEN PLATT FAN CLUB RECENTLY TO PARTICIPATE IN AVIDEO GIFT THEYWERE MAKING FOR BEN FOR HIS BIRTHDAY. IT IS A NUMBER OF HIS FANS HOLDING UP LYRICS TO “YOUWILL BE FOUND” AND THE ACCEPTANCE SPEECH HE GAVE AT THE TONY’S. THISWAS THE LINE DANIELWAS ASSIGNED, SO HE CREATED THE POSTER AND SENT IT IN.
“As early as a couple of years ago we started seeing photos on Instagram and Twitter of graduates with their caps decorated to say [“Waving Through a Window” lyrics] ‘Step out into the sun.” The artwork in the Music BoxTheatre is also a product of DEH ’s initiative to help teenagers find their voices. In 2016, Mindich started a program called Art2Art with the not-for-profit organization ArtsConnection, in which groups of fifty New York City public high school students are invited to attend DEH , and then create original works of art to express their responses to the music visually. The art extends all the way to the DEH casts’ dressing rooms, as well as to Mindich’s office. Many of the teenagers have never seen a Broadway show, nor do some of them even have art programs at their schools. Mindich recalls the talkback with the first group of students that participated in the program. “It was really powerful to hear them say, ‘you’ve made me feel less alone,’ and then to hear them tell their own stories.”
the very bullies who had been teasing him. “When I was being bullied, that song felt like the person singing it was almost like me, like the song was made for me,” he says. “When I realized that some of the people that bullied me were [at the talent show], I felt a little bit awkward.” Daniel remembers the big day well. “I was like, ‘What are they doing out there?’ But then I started treating them like any other audience, how I usually do, and then I did great. They congratulated me afterwards!” Mindich got word of Daniel’s story and invited him and his parents to take in DEH , followed by a meeting with the cast. “It was interesting for us to watch him watching the show, because it was like he was looking at himself,” says Laura. “He couldn’t take his eyes off of Ben the whole time.” Daniel and Laura saw a lot of Daniel in Ben’s Tony Award- winning performance, including many of his mannerisms, his lack of eye contact, and his over-talking. “I think Daniel has become much more aware of the people around him
and the differences between people, which is interesting because he’s usually in another world,” Laura says, reflecting on how Daniel has changed because of DEH . “It has definitely given himmore confidence.” Daniel agrees that he has changed through listening to the DEH songs. “It really helpedme with that time in my life, and made me feel a littlemore comfortable anda little less upset and ‘trapped in the dark.’” However, DEH has not convincedDaniel that he shouldbe a performer when he grows up; he holds steadfast to his dream of following in his father’s footsteps as a police officer. “I’d be helping the world around
disorder. This is an incredibly important takeaway for parents who throw up their hands, who can’t get their children to listen, who want them to get better but instead see ambivalence and opposition. Finding yourself— helping yourself—amid the tumult and mixed messages of adolescence is hard for even the most well adjusted teen. It is a real challenge for those who struggle with unseen problems like anxiety or depression.” DEH succinctly demonstrates the different layers of this challenge, and Child Mind Institute’s patients continue to respond favorably.
extends beyond the world of mental health is what makes DEH so authentic. “The real connection I found in being a parent is just how important the dialogue is, and how you should talk to your kids and be there for them.” When Mindich finds herself standing in the back of the Music Box Theatre, she is often told secrets and stories from other parents. “Their stories make me feel a lot better about myself, because I realize that we can’t always be there talking to our kids, but even just being in the same room every once in a while and being there for them is actually really helpful. There’s this little club that
me and protecting people, and I don’t want people to be picked on or messed with; police officers can stop that.” DEH has better equipped Daniel with the tools he needs to deal with bullies in the future.
forms of strangers in the theatre every night who walk out talking about these things!” The ideas in the show are certainly universal, and Koplewicz points to two specificmessages
“Finding yourself—helping yourself—amid the tumult and mixed messages of adolescence is hard for even the most well adjusted teen. It is a real challenge for those who struggle with unseen problems like anxiety or depression.”
He says he would stay calm and would fight back, if necessary. “I think I would feel stronger too.” ThePellegrini family’s reflection on DEH is not uncommon. “People see their friends and family in these characters,” says Koplewicz. “They are seeing the truth, and they are open to spreading the message and changing their attitudes.” Mindich says that the show has received more than thousands of letters, emails and Tweets from “people who share very bare, true stories about themselves, or their kids or their brothers, or how this
that are changing thewaypeople think. “On the outside, young people are aware that they are struggling, that they want connection, and that they want to reach out for help if other people are there to meet them,” he says of the first point. “The other message is about parents. Over and over I am struck by theplain truthof this lyric: ‘Does anybody have a map?’ Telling the stories of whole families, letting people relate to people with different challenges than they have, is vital and central to busting stigma and improving
MIKE FAIST AND BEN PLATT PHOTO BYMATTHEWMURPHY
Starting a dialogue Young adults are not the only people experiencing the far-reaching hands of DEH. Adults with and without their own children are relating to all of the characters in the show. “I think the four young people we’re presented with in this show have similar, very adult problems, even though they’re 17 and 18,” says Will Roland, who plays Evan’s friend Jared. “That is a very important takeaway, because the adults in the show share 30-years-older versions of the same problems, an inability to communicate, a feeling of not being seen by those around them, and a feeling of not being accepted.” Mindich notes the fact that the show
show helped them accept who they are.” She notes that much of the correspondence quotes Platt’s Tony Award acceptance speech, in which he said: “The things that make you strange make you powerful.” “It was a potent way of making people feel better,” saysMindich fondly. Child Mind Institute’s patients have experienced tremendous change after having experienced DEH. Koplewicz points to its relatability in that Evan’s journey is not classically heroic. “[Evan] ends the play in a place of apprehension and confusion, shame balanced with hope,” he says. “It doesn’t get more relatable for the millions of teens just like him who are ‘tapping on the glass,’ particularly those who are struggling to find themselves while coping with an anxiety
openness and access to care.” For L aur a Pel l eg r i n i, t he show compounded much of what she already knew about Daniel’s challenges with communication, but it also reminded her of how important it is to be able and willing to listen to her children. “I tell all parents now that they need to really listen to their kids and hear what they’re saying,” she says of what she has taken away from DEH. “They’re trying to tell you something. Daniel was trying to tell me something, and Ben gave him the words.” --- Iris Wiener is an entertainment writer and theatre critic. Visit her at IrisWiener.com or on Twitter @Iris_Wiener * WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM 65Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 68 Page 69 Page 70 Page 71 Page 72 Page 73 Page 74 Page 75 Page 76 Page 77 Page 78 Page 79 Page 80 Page 81 Page 82 Page 83 Page 84 Page 85 Page 86 Page 87 Page 88 Page 89 Page 90 Page 91 Page 92 Page 93 Page 94 Page 95 Page 96 Page 97 Page 98 Page 99 Page 100 Page 101 Page 102 Page 103 Page 104 Page 105 Page 106 Page 107 Page 108 Page 109 Page 110 Page 111 Page 112 Page 113 Page 114 Page 115 Page 116 Page 117 Page 118 Page 119 Page 120 Page 121 Page 122 Page 123 Page 124 Page 125 Page 126 Page 127 Page 128 Page 129 Page 130 Page 131 Page 132 Page 133 Page 134 Page 135 Page 136 Page 137 Page 138 Page 139 Page 140 Page 141 Page 142 Page 143 Page 144 Page 145 Page 146 Page 147 Page 148 Page 149 Page 150 Page 151 Page 152 Page 153 Page 154 Page 155 Page 156 Page 157 Page 158 Page 159 Page 160 Page 161 Page 162 Page 163 Page 164 Page 165 Page 166 Page 167 Page 168 Page 169 Page 170 Page 171 Page 172 Page 173 Page 174 Page 175 Page 176 Page 177 Page 178 Page 179 Page 180 Page 181 Page 182 Page 183 Page 184 Page 185 Page 186 Page 187 Page 188 Page 189 Page 190 Page 191 Page 192 Page 193 Page 194 Page 195 Page 196 Page 197 Page 198 Page 199 Page 200
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