MEET THE NEW EVAN HANSEN

We have a conversation with the new Evan Hansen, Long Island’s very own Andrew Barth Feldman. The young actor shares his remarkable story of landing one of Broadway’s biggest roles.

Aired on September 5, 2019. 

TRANSCRIPT

> THE TONY AWARD WINNING MUSICAL TELLS THE STORY OF A SOCIALLY ANXIOUS AND CONFUSED 17-YEAR-OLD HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT, EMOTIONALLY TITLE ROLE HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN PLAYED BY ACTORS IN THEIR 20s INCLUDING BEN PLAT WHO WON A TONY.

NOW A LOCAL NEW YORKER IS STARRING AS EVAN HANSON.

ANDREW MADE HIS BROADWAY DEBUT LAST JANUARY.

AS THE 'NEW YORK TIMES' SAID, IF THERE IS A WORLD IN WHICH THEATER KIDS RULE, HE SEEMS TO LIVE THERE.

THIS TEENAGER IS RIGHT PLACE RIGHT TIME STORY IS ONE FOR THE BOOKS.

WE'RE DELIGHT TODAY HAVE HIM HERE WITH US TODAY TO TALK ABOUT HOW HE GOT THAT ROLE.

IT'S SO NICE TO HAVE YOU WITH US.

SO NICE TO BE HERE.

I WANT TO START OFF BY CONGRATULATING YOU.

MY WIFE AND I HAVE SEEN THE SHOW WHEN IT FIRST OPENED.

IT WAS WONDERFUL.

I HAVE SEEN HOW YOU HAVE TAKEN THAT ROLE AND VERY MUCH MADE IT YOUR OWN.

I WANT TO TALK ABOUT HOW YOU GOT THERE.

YOU SAW THE SHOW EARLY ON YOURSELF.

I DID.

I SAW IT I THINK TWO WEEKS AFTER IT HAD OPENED.

WHEN YOU SAW IT -- YOU ARE SOMEBODY WHO HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN THEATER FROM A VERY YOUNG AGE.

YES.

ABSOLUTELY.

AS SOMEBODY WHO HAS BEEN SO EMERSED IN THEATER, BUT NOT YET PROFESSIONAL THEATER ON BROADWAY, WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE SHOW?

BEN PLAT'S PERFORMANCE WAS SO REAL.

AND I WAS REALLY TAKEN ABACK BY SOMETHING THAT A PERFORMANCE CAN DO THAT MUCH.

THE STORY OF EVAN'S JOURNEY AND HOW THE STAKES WERE SO HIGH BUT SO REAL AND THE ANXIETY OF BEING A TEENAGER WAS SO REAL.

I WAS AT A LOSS FOR WORDS.

YOU RELATE SO MUCH TO EVAN BECAUSE THE BOOK IS SO RELATABLE.

ALSO, THAT'S JUST HOW LIFE IS AS A TEENAGER, YOU REALLY FEEL FOR HIM AND FEEL THE WEIGHT OF THE STORY ON YOUR SHOULDERS.

SO THE WAY THIS HAPPENS I THINK IS FASCINATING.

YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN THEATER.

YOU WERE A NATIONAL AWARD WINNER, NATIONAL MUSICAL THEATER.

I LIKE TAXIS, TRAINS, BROOKLYN WHEN IT RAINS.

HOW DID THAT THEN LEAD TO THE AUDITION?

I MEAN, IT WAS A DIRECT ROUTE.

THE CASTING DIRECTOR WAS ONE OF THE JUDGES AT THE AWARDS WHICH IS SUCH AN INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY IN THE FIRST PLACE.

AND THE AWARDS THIS PAST YEAR WERE SPONSORED BY THE SHOW.

WHEN YOU SAW AND HE CAME TO TALK TO US AND THE LEAD PRODUCER AS WELL AS SOME OF THE TEAM WERE IN THE AUDIENCE THAT NIGHT.

ACCORDING TO HER SIDE OF THE STORY, SHE LOOKED AND SAID I THINK THAT'S OUR NEXT EVAN.

I GOT AN E-MAIL.

TARA CAME UP TO ME THAT NIGHT AND WAS LIKE LET'S MEET AND TALK.

BEFORE THAT I GOT AN E-MAIL ASKING TO COME AUDITION.

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THAT?

WHEN YOU OPEN THE E-MAIL AND YOU FIRST SEE WOULD YOU COME AUDITION FOR THE LEAD WHAT DID YOU THINK?

IT'S MY FAVORITE SHOW.

IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN MY FAVORITE SHOW SINCE IT OPENED.

BUT IN THAT SAME VEIN, A LOT OF OTHER PAST A NOMINEES WHO WERE RETURNING NOMINEES HAD SAID I GOT AN E-MAIL TO AUDITION AND NOTHING CAME OF IT AND IT WAS A COOL OPPORTUNITY.

IT'S AN AUDITION FOR A MAJOR ROLE.

I THINK I KNEW THAT I WAS RIGHT FOR THE ROLE.

I THINK I REALLY CONNECT TO EVAN ON A REALLY, REALLY PERSONAL LEVEL SKPMPT IT JUST SEEMED LIKE SOMETHING THAT WAS REALLY IN MY WHEELHOUSE.

A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO GET MY FOOT IN THE DOOR.

IF NOTHING ELSE, YOU CAN SAY I AUDITIONED FOR THE ROLE.

EXACTLY.

YOU THEN AUDITIONED AND YOU GOT THE ROLE.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FIRST PERFORMANCE.

YOU KNOW, I WAS COASTING OFF ADRENALINE, PURE ADRENALINE.

I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER IT THAT WELL.

WHAT I EXPECTED WAS THAT I WOULD BE SO PUMPED WITH ADRENALINE THAT I WOULD FORGET EVERYTHING.

I REMEMBERED EVERYTHING SO WELL AND IT WAS SO IN MY HEAD.

THE CLARITY THAT SOMETIMES ADRENALINE GIVES YOU.

BECAUSE I DUMPED SO MUCH ADRENALINE, FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK MY BODY WAS TRYING TO PLAY CATCH UP.

THE REST OF THAT WEEK WAS REALLY HARD.

THAT FIRST NIGHT, THE AUDIENCE WAS SO ENERGETIC T. WAS LIKE 500 PEOPLE THAT I KNEW THAT HAD BOUGHT TICKETS TO COME THAT FIRST NIGHT.

THEY WERE SO ENERGETIC AND RESPONSIVE AND WHAT EVERYONE TOLD ME BECAUSE THE SHOW IS SO PAUFRL IS AT THE BEGINNING THEY WERE LIKE HE'S DOING IT.

A FEW MINUTES INTO THE SHOW THEY LET THE STORY TAKE ITS COURSE.

♪♪

YOU'RE THE FIRST ACTUAL TEENAGER TO PLAY HIM ON STAGE DOES THAT PROVIDE YOU WITH -- I DON'T WANT TO SAY AN ADVANTAGE, BUT PERHAPS AN INSIGHT OR MORE EASILY ACCESSIBLE INSIGHT TO THE ROLE?

ABSOLUTELY.

AND I THINK ESPECIALLY BECAUSE SOCIAL MEDIA IS THE BACK DROP OF THE SHOW.

I'M A TEENAGER IN THE SAME ERA.

AND THAT'S NOT SOMETHING THAT CAN BE SAID ABOUT THE OTHERS THAT THEY GREW UP WITH SOCIAL MEDIA AS SUCH AN IMPORTANT AND CONSTANT PART OF OUR LIVES.

IT'S ALWAYS LIKE A BLINKING LIGHT IN OUR BRAIN.

I THINK THAT HELPS A LOT.

ALSO, I'M SO USED TO DOING COMMUNITY THEATER AND YOUTH THEATER AND PLAYING SOMEBODY OLDER THAN ME AND AN ADULT BECAUSE THAT'S THE OPPORTUNITY THAT'S GIVEN.

SO TO -- IF I EVER NEED TO DROP INTO IT, I IMAGINE THAT I'M IN A SCHOOL HALLWAY AND THESE ARE MY PEERS EVEN IF THE PEOPLE I'M WORKING WITH ARE A LITTLE BIT OLDER, THEY LOOK VERY YOUNG.

AS I SAID IN THE VERY BEGINNING, YOU HAVE DONE A MARVELOUS JOB OF MAKING THIS ROLE AN ICONIC ROLE AND MAKING IT YOUR OWN.

AND I SUSPECT WE LOOK AT THE JOURNEY IN NURSERY SCHOOL WHERE YOU HAD TO HIDE BEHIND EVERYBODY ELSE TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW, I THINK YOU ARE DOING PRETTY WELL.

THIS IS GOING TO BE THE FIRST STOP ON A LONG JOURNEY FOR YOU.

CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU.

IT'S JUST A FABULOUS JOB THAT YOU'RE DOING THERE.

YOU'RE BOTH ENTERTAINING PEOPLE AND MAKING A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AGAIN.

YOU CAN SEE ANDREW STARRING IN DEAR EVAN HANSON AT THE MUSIC BOX THEATER.

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