ARTS WILL BE FOUND!

August 29, 2018 at 4:45 am

The hit Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen” is the inspiration behind a unique educational experience for NYC public high school students.

Aired on August 28, 2018. 

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>>> BROADWAY SENSATION "DEAR
EVAN HANSEN" IS DOING MORE THAN
SELLING TICKETS, IT'S CHANGING
LIVES.
IT HAS PARTNERED WITH ARTS
CONNECTION, A NEW YORK
CITY-BASED NONPROFIT TO BRING
THE BRIGHT LIFE IN ACTION OF THE
GREAT WHITE WAY TO DOZENS OF NEW
YORK CITY PUBLIC SCHOOL KIDS
EVERY SUMMER.
WE FOLLOWED THE JOURNEY OF THREE
STUDENTS AS THEY MADE THEIR WAY
THROUGH THE PROGRAM OF SEEING
THE PROGRAM FIRSTHAND, AND HOW
THEY CREATED ART.
IT WAS A TRANSFORMATIVE
EXPERIENCE FOR THESE THREE VERY
TALENTED AND SELF-AWARE YOUNG
PEOPLE.
>> THIS IS LIKE SOMETHING I
WOULDN'T HAVE THOUGHT OF DOING.
USUALLY I JUST LIKE DREW AND
LIKE SKETCHED, BUT LIKE FOR
MYSELF, LIKE A STRESS RELIEVER.
WHEN I WAS LITTLE I USED TO TELL
LIKE EVERYBODY, OH, I'M GOING TO
BE AN ACTRESS WHEN I GROW UP.
NOW I HAVE THAT FEELING AGAIN.
>> I DRAW MORE THAN JUST SWIRLS,
BUT WHEN I DRAW SWIRLS IT'S LIKE
ALL OF MY ANXIETY, ALL OF MY
FEELINGS, ALL OF MY STRESS JUST
COMES OUT ONTO THE PAPER.
IT RELAXES ME A LOT.
AND IT DISTRACTS ME FROM
EVERYTHING ELSE HAPPENING IN MY
LIFE.
WHEN PEOPLE ASK ME WHAT I WANT
TO DO, I SAY I WANT TO BE AN
ARTIST.
BUT IT'S MORE THAN THAT, AND IF
THIS IS WHAT I'M TALENTED AT I
WANT TO BE ABLE TO INSPIRE
PEOPLE IN THIS WAY.
>> I ALWAYS COME BACK TO ART,
WHETHER IT'S LIKE VISUAL OR
PERFORMING, BECAUSE THERE'S JUST
LIKE SOMETHING ABOUT LIKE WHEN
I'M PAINTING OR WHEN I'M SINGING
THAT MY BRAIN KIND OF GOES ON
AUTO PILOT AND I'M AWARE OF WHAT
I'M DOING, BUT I'M ABLE TO LIKE
EXPRESS EVERYTHING THAT I CAN'T
REALLY LIKE NECESSARILY WRITE
DOWN COMBINING THEATER AND ART.
IT'S HELPED ME GET THROUGH LIKE
A LOT, AND "DEAR EVAN HANSEN"
ESPECIALLY.
>> A SHOW LIKE THIS REALLY
RESONATES WITH HIGH SCHOOL
STUDENTS BECAUSE WHERE YOU ARE,
THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU, YOU WANT
TO CONNECT SO BAD WITH THEM, BUT
YET YOU FEEL ALONE.
§ ON THE OUTSIDE -- §
>> IT IS A CLASSIC COMING OF AGE
STORY IN SO MANY WAYS.
A BOY, A HUMAN BEING WHO'S NOT
YET AN ADULT, ENCOUNTERS A
PROBLEM AND OVERCOMES IT
ULTIMATELY.
>> MOST OF YOUNG AMERICA FEELS
VERY ALONE AND MISUNDERSTOOD.
YOU HAVE TO PRR TRAY YOUR LIFE
THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY ON SOCIAL
MEDIA.
WE'RE SHOWING THE REAL STUFF
THAT'S GOING ON.
>> IT'S REALLY ABOUT
COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR CHILD OR
YOUR PARENT.
IF YOU'RE A PARENT, OR YOU'RE A
CHILD, YOU'RE GOING TO BE
AFFECTED BY WHAT YOU SEE ON
STAGE.
SO IT IS VERY BASED, IT'S ABOUT
PARENTS AND CHILDREN.
>> "DEAR EVAN HANSEN," A SHOW ON
BROADWAY, THAT'S WHY WE'RE HERE,
ONE OF THE REASONS.
>> WE PUT ARTISTS IN SCHOOLS AND
COMMUNITIES TO WORK WITH
CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE AND WE
GIVE THEM ART MATERIALS TO
CREATE A SPECIFIC ARTWORK BASED
ON THE THEMES OF THE PRODUCTION.
>> IT DEALS A LOT WITH ANXIETY
AND DEPRESSION SO IT'S NICE TO
BE IN A SHOW THAT SHOWS THAT
THAT'S A REAL THING.
OFTENTIMES WE'RE EMBARRASSED BY
IT.
MOST OF MY CAST MATES HAVE
ANXIETY OR DEPRESSION.
>> I HAVE A LOT OF ANXIETY.
I RELATED TO THAT A LOT.
IT MADE ME FEEL A LOT LESS
ALONE.
>> THEY HAD US MAKE A COLLAGE.
I MADE THAT BECAUSE THERE'S SO
MUCH IN MY HEAD.
SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE I'M UNDER
WATER AND LIKE I'M TRYING TO
BREATHE AND GO UP TO THE
SURFACE, AND I CAN'T AND IT'S
JUST LIKE AN OVERWHELMING
FEELING
§ WHEN IT ALL FEELS SO THICK §
>> MY MOM IS A SINGLE MOTHER,
SHE RAISED ME AND MY TWO
SIBLINGS ALONE.
MY DAD LEFT JUST LIKE EVAN'S
DID.
THAT'S WHY I RELATE TO THAT
FEELING OF EVAN GOING TO HIS MOM
AND BEING VULNERABLE.
>> YOU'RE GOING TO CREATE A
FROZEN PICTURE THAT WHATEVER IT
IS TO YOU GUYS REPRESENTS THIS
THEME.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT THIS
MIGHT BE PORTRAYING?
YES.
>> EMOTIONAL SUPPORT.
>> EMOTIONAL SUPPORT, LOVE THAT.
>> I ALWAYS COME BACK TO ARTS,
WHETHER IT'S LIKE VISUAL OR
PERFORMING BECAUSE THERE'S JUST
LIKE SOMETHING ABOUT LIKE WHEN
I'M PAINTING OR WHEN I'M SINGING
THAT MY BRAIN KIND OF GOES ON
AUTO PILOT AND I'M AWARE OF WHAT
I'M DOING BUT I'M ABLE TO LIKE
EXPRESS EVERYTHING THAT I CAN'T
REALLY LIKE NECESSARILY WRITE
DOWN.
>> §
EVEN IF YOU'VE ALWAYS BEEN THAT
BARELY IN THE BACKGROUND KIND OF
GUY §
>> I REALLY LIKE ACTING BECAUSE
OF YOU CAN LIKE GO INTO A WHOLE
DIFFERENT WORLD AND BE A
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSON.
§ THAT THE WORLD'S PASSED YOU
BY §
>> AND WITH ART YOU PUT LIKE
YOUR MIND ON PAPER.
>> WE'RE LOOKING AT KIDS WHO ARE
TALENTED IN ONE ART AREA, AND
WE'RE ASKING THEM TO LOOK AT A
SECOND ART AREA, AND LEARN ABOUT
IT AND LOOK AT IT THROUGH THE
LENS OF WHAT THEY'RE INTERESTED
IN AND WHERE THEIR EXPERTISE
LIES.
>> A LOT OF THE KIDS, THIS IS
THEIR FIRST BROADWAY EXPERIENCE
AND THEN AFTER THEY'VE SEEN THE
PLAY THEY ACTUALLY HAVE A
TALKBACK WITH MEMBERS OF THE
CAST.
>> COMING TO SEE THEIR FATHER IN
THIS.
>> THEY'RE GETTING INSIGHTS INTO
THE PLAY THAT MOST THEATER GOERS
NEVER HAVE.
>> RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU HAVE A
QUESTION.
OKAY, COOL.
>> LIKE, WHAT'S THE MOST LIKE
IMPORTANT THING THAT YOU'VE
DRAWN FROM THE SHOW?
>> WE ALL HAVE THESE FRAILTIES.
WE ARE ALL SO FLAWED.
WE ARE ALL HOT MESSES.
AND YOU CAN SEE IT IN EACH AND
EVERY ONE OF THESE CHARACTERS.
>> THE CHARACTER I CONNECTED
WITH THE MOST WAS DEFINITELY
EVAN.
>> I'VE FELT THAT BEFORE, HAVING
LIKE SO MANY PEOPLE AROUND YOU,
BUT STILL FEELING ALONE.
>> YOUR JOB AS AN ACTOR IS JUST
TO LIKE TELL THIS STORY, SERVICE
THIS PLAY AS BEST AS YOU CAN, AS
HONESTLY AS YOU CAN AND HOPE
THAT PEOPLE RESPOND TO IT AND
SEE THEMSELVES ON STAGE.
>> THE ABILITY TO SEE A
PRODUCTION AND TALK ABOUT IT AND
LEARN ABOUT IT, THEN TO GO BACK
AND CREATE WORK BASED ON WHAT
THEY'VE SEEN.
I THINK IT'S REALLY BEEN
PHENOMENAL FOR THE KIDS WHO HAVE
BEEN INVOLVED.
>> WHAT IS THIS --
>> I'M SO EXCITED.
>> IT'S NOT EASY TO GO THROUGH
REALLY HARD THINGS IN LIFE.
AND DEAL WITH IT IN A HEALTHY
WAY.
LIKE SOME PEOPLE JUST LIKE KEEP
IT IN.
LIKE MY MOM, ESPECIALLY, LOVES
THAT WE'RE ABLE TO FIND SO MUCH
LIKE CREATIVITY AND PASSION IN
ART.
GO LISTEN TO A SONG, YOU BROKE
UP WITH YOUR BOYFRIEND, PAINT.
IT'S JUST -- IT FEELS LIKE A
HEALTHY WAY AND A PRODUCTIVE WAY
BECAUSE IT'S WHAT I LOVE DOING
TO GET IT OUT.
>> THEY EXPRESS THROUGH THEIR
ART A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF
THE THEMES IN THE SHOW AND HOW
IT AFFECTS NOT ONLY THEM BUT THE
WORLD AT LARGE.
THEIR VERBALIZATION OF WHAT THE
SHOW HAS MEANT TO THEM AND HOW
THEY'VE EXPRESSED IT IN THE ART
HAS BEEN VERY INTERESTING TO US.
>> ONCE WHEN I GOT DOWN TO
PAINTING I WAS VERY RELAXED AND
I LIKE FELL IN LOVE WITH THE
FEELING AND NOW I FEEL LIKE I
WANT TO KEEP ON WORKING ON ART.
>> I WANTED TO GET SOMETHING
VERY RELATABLE, LIKE SOMETHING
WITHOUT WORDS THAT'S JUST ON MY
CANVAS, THAT SHOWS A LOT OF
AMBIGUITY WITH GOOD AND BAD.
>> BEFORE THIS MUSICAL I WOULD
MAKE NEGATIVE WORDS INTO
ARTWORK.
THAT'S HOW I WAS FEELING
SOMETIMES.
AND NOW IT'S JUST CHANGED THE
POSITIVITY, I'M GOING TO MAKE A
LOT MORE POSITIVE ARTWORK, AND I
REALLY WANT TO DO ARTWORK WHEN I
GROW UP.
>> FOR ME, THE SATISFACTION
COMES FROM GIVING KIDS AN
AUTHENTIC ARTS EXPERIENCE THAT
THEY CAN LEARN AND GROW FROM AND
SEEING THEM TAKE THAT EXPERIENCE
AND RUN WITH IT AND BE BETTER
INFORMED INDIVIDUALS WHEN
THEY'RE FINISHED.
>> SEEING MY OWN KIDS LIVE THEIR
DREAMS IS LIKE THE GREATEST GIFT
FOR ME.
WATCHING THEM, YOU KNOW, ABLE TO
HAVE THOSE POSSIBILITIES, I
THINK, YOU KNOW, THAT'S THE BEST
THING.
THERE'S NOTHING BETTER FOR ME.
MORE THAN ANYTHING, THAT'S WHAT
I WANT FOR MY KIDS.
>> WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU'LL BE
IN FIVE YEARS?
>> I'M 16 RIGHT NOW.
I'LL BE 21.
I HOPE TO BE IN COLLEGE IN THE
CITY MAJORING IN PSYCHOLOGY AND
THEATER, DOUBLE MAJOR.
I HOPE TO STILL BE CREATING ART,
AND JUST HELPING PEOPLE FEEL NOT
ALONE WITH MUSIC AND PSYCHOLOGY.
YEAH.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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