METROFOCUS WEB EXCLUSIVE: ARTS WILL BE FOUND

Dear Evan Hansen is doing more than selling tickets at the box office, this Broadway show is changing the lives of young people through art.

 

TRANSCRIPT

♪ Another stellar conversation for the scrapbook Another stumble as I'm reaching for the right thing to say I'm kinda coming up empty Can't find my way to you Does anybody have a map? ♪

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.

BECAUSE ON SOCIAL MEDIA YOU HAVE TO PORTRAY YOUR LIFE IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY. OR SHOW THE GREAT THINGS YOU ARE DOING SO NO ONE IS SHOWING THE REAL STUFF THAT'S GOING ON.

'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 PANIC 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 'SO BIG SO SMALL' SO MUCH I RELATE TO THAT FEELING OF EVAN GOING TO HIS MOM AND BEING VULNERABLE.

SHE IS THE CORE FIGURE IN MY LIFE THAT I HAVE TO LOOK UP TO

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.

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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