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


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