What better way than to get back into the groove of moviegoing than with the musical? Into the Heights will usher us back to cinemas. (No shame if you’re still uneasy about visiting theaters; I am too!) Then, later this year, we’ll have Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake to round out the holiday season. And now, we have our first look at the film adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen. And it looks hellbent on robbing us of breath and thrusting us into full-on sobs, just as its Broadway forebear did.
The original iteration of Dear Evan Hansen was written by Steven Levenson, with music and lyrics by writing duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. The stage musical made its world premiere on Washington D.C.’s Arena Stage in 2015; the following year, it ascended to Broadway, where it won a slew of Tony Awards. (The top honor for musicals included among the lot.)
This new take on the material hails from director Stephen Chbosky, whose previous foray in the genre was the film adaptation of Rent. While that one didn’t pan out quite so well, Chbosky is no slouch in the creative department. In 1999, Chbosky published the seminal high school novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower; he directed the moving film adaptation 13 years later.
Per Universal’s press release, Dear Evan Hansen follows “Ben Platt … as an anxious, isolated high schooler aching for understanding and belonging amid the chaos and cruelty of the social-media age.” Platt revives the role he created for the stage, starring in the film alongside an all-star cast. Julianne Moore, Amy Adams, and Kaitlyn Dever headline; Colton Ryan, who understudied as Connor Ryan on Broadway, will play the role in the film. Amandla Stenberg, Danny Pino, Isaac Cole Powell, and Nik Dodani star as well.