Universal Pictures Presents
DEAR EVAN HANSEN
Based on The Musical Stage Play
|Music and Lyrics by:
Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
|and Amy Adams|
The breathtaking, generation-defining Broadway phenomenon becomes a soaring cinematic event as Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner BEN PLATT reprises his role as an anxious, isolated teenage boy aching for understanding and belonging amid the chaos and cruelty of the social-media age.
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker STEPHEN CHBOSKY (The Perks of Being A Wallflower, Wonder), the film is written for the screen by the show’s Tony winner STEVEN LEVENSON based on his book for the musical stage play, with music and lyrics by the show’s Oscar®, Grammy and Tony-winning songwriting team of BENJ PASEK & JUSTIN PAUL (La La Land, The Greatest Showman).
Evan Hansen (Platt) is on the outside always looking in, a high-school senior who’s all but invisible to his classmates. A motivational letter Evan writes to himself is stolen by Connor Murphy (COLTON RYAN, Little Voice), a volatile loner in Evan’s class, and is later found by Connor’s mother, Cynthia (six-time Oscar® nominee AMY ADAMS), and stepfather after the boy takes his own life. The letter, they hope, means that their son had found his only friend in Evan. To console a grieving family, Evan spins a tale of a friendship that never existed.
What starts as an innocent lie of compassion spirals in ways Evan didn’t expect and isn’t prepared for. As he begins to be celebrated for someone he isn’t, Evan struggles to find the courage to tell the truth and be seen for who he truly is.
Featuring songs from the Grammy winning album, including the iconic anthem “You Will Be Found,” Dear Evan Hansen also stars Oscar® winner JULIANNE MOORE as Evan’s mother, Heidi; KAITLYN DEVER (Booksmart) as Connor’s sister, Zoe; AMANDLA STENBERG (The Hate U Give) as Alana Beck, an ambitious classmate of Evan’s; NIK DODANI (Atypical) as Jared Kalwani, Evan’s sole confidante; and DANNY PINO (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) as Connor and Zoe’s stepfather, Larry Mora.
The film features two new songs written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul: “A Little Closer” performed by Colton Ryan and “The Anonymous Ones” performed by Amandla Stenberg, who co-wrote the lyrics and music with Pasek and Paul.
Dear Evan Hansen is produced by MARC PLATT (La La Land, Into the Woods, Mary Poppins Returns) and by ADAM SIEGEL (2 Guns, Drive), and is executive produced by Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, MICHAEL BEDERMAN (Spotlight) and Tony winner STACEY MINDICH, who produced the musical stage play.
The film’s director of photography is BRANDON TROST (Can You Ever Forgive Me?, The Disaster Artist), the editor is ANNE MCCABE ace (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Can You Ever Forgive Me?), the production designer is BETH MICKLE (Drive, The Suicide Squad) and the costume designer is SEKINAH BROWN (Almost Christmas, Ride Along).
The executive music producers are Tony, Grammy and Emmy winner ALEX LACAMOIRE (Broadway’s “Hamilton,” “Wicked,” “In the Heights”) and Justin Paul. The music is produced by DAN ROMER (Luca, Beasts of No Nation), the score is by Dan Romer and Justin Paul. The film’s choreographer is JAMAICA CRAFT (Lovecraft Country, Empire). Joining the team from the stage play is vocal supervisor BEN COHN (Broadway’s “Wicked,” “The Book of Mormon,” “9 to 5”).
"Waving Through A Window"
by Ben Platt & Dear Evan Hansen Choir
by Ben Platt
by Colton Ryan & Ben Platt & Nik Dodani
by Kaitlyn Dever & Danny Pino & Amy Adams
"If I Could Tell Her"
by Ben Platt & Kaitlyn Dever
"The Anonymous Ones"
by Amandla Stenberg
"You Will Be Found"
by Ben Platt & Amandla Stenberg & Liz Kate & DeMarius Copes & Isaac Powell & Hadiya Eshe’ & Kaitlyn Dever & Dear Evan Hansen Choir
by Kaitlyn Dever & Ben Platt
by Ben Platt
"So Big / So Small"
by Julianne Moore
"A Little Closer"
by Colton Ryan
"You Will Be Found"
by Sam Smith & Summer Walker
"The Anonymous Ones"
by Carrie Underwood & Dan + Shay
"A Little Closer"
"Waving Through A Window"
by Tori Kelly
Meet the Company
Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner Ben Platt has been seen most recently in the highly popular Netflix series by Ryan Murphy, The Politician. Platt stars and serves as the executive producer on the series – his performance in Season one earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and the show received a nomination for Best Comedy. Most recently, Platt dropped two new songs from his upcoming album Reverie (which released August 13) including “Happy To Be Sad” and the highly anticipated single and video for “Imagine,” which marks the first new music from Platt since 2020’s Finneas-produced single “So Will I.” Platt also released a solo concert Netflix Special “Ben Platt: Live from Radio City Hall” along with a deluxe version of his album, Sing To Me Instead last May. He’s currently gearing up to release his second album with Atlantic Records this year. Additionally, it was announced that Platt will be starring with Beanie Feldstein in Merrily We Roll Along directed by Richard Linklater.
Platt is an Atlantic Records artist who released his critically acclaimed debut album, Sing To Me Instead along with a new single not on the album called, The Rain, which he debuted at the 2019 US open. He is also currently in the studio working on new music to be released this year. No stranger to the big screen, Platt has starred in Universal Pictures' smash hits Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2. He has also appeared in Ricki and The Flash alongside Meryl Streep and in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Run This Town, Broken Diamonds, as well as guest starred in the Will & Grace reboot for NBC.
Platt won the 2017 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance as Evan Hansen, as well as the Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance, making him the youngest actor to win the coveted award. Additionally, Dear Evan Hansen won the Tony award for Best Musical and the cast recording took home the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album as well as a Daytime Emmy Award for their performance on The Today Show.
Kaitlyn Dever has amassed tremendous respect and admiration with her dynamic and impactful performances in film and television.
Dever starred in Netflix’s 8-episode, limited series Unbelievable, the true story of Marie, a teenager who was charged with a misdemeanor for falsely reporting being raped, and the two female detectives (Toni Collette and Merritt Wever) who followed a twisting path to arrive at the truth. Dever’s standout performance earned her nominations in the Lead Actress of a Limited Series category for both the Golden Globe Awards and Critics’ Choice Awards, and a 2020 Television Critics Association (TCA) Award nomination in the Individual Achievement in Drama category. Additionally, the series was nominated for a 2020 TCA Award in the categories for Outstanding Achievement in Movie or Miniseries and Program of the Year. Further, Unbelievable won a 2020 Peabody Award in the Entertainment category.
In May 2019, Dever starred in Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, Booksmart, opposite Beanie Feldstein, Billie Lourd and Noah Galvin. Annapurna Pictures produced the film, which was released to critical acclaim in May 2019 following a successful world premiere at SXSW Festival. Dever was recognized by the Hollywood Critics Association as the 2020 Breakthrough Artist Under the Age of 23 and was named an EE BAFTA Rising Star nominee for her performance. The film was named the winner of the 2020 GLAAD Media Award in the category for Outstanding Film – Wide Release.
Dever is currently in production on 20th Century Studios’ Romeo and Juliet revolutionist picture, Rosaline. Following, Dever will commence filming on Universal Studios and Working Title’s film, Ticket to Paradise, opposite George Clooney and Julia Roberts, and will immediately begin production on 20th Century Studios film, No One Will Save You, written and directed by Brian Duffield and the Hulu limited series Dopesick, opposite Michael Keaton.
To come, Dever will star in the third episode of B.J. Novak’s upcoming anthology series, The Premise for FX Networks. Dever will also star next in the half-hour, live-action comedy series, The Wildest Animals in Griffith Park, created by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz (The Peanut Butter Falcon) and executive produced by Margot Robbie.
In August 2020, Dever voiced one of the three leads in the Audible original, When You Finish Saving the World, alongside Jesse Eisenberg and Finn Wolfhard. In September 2020, Dever co-starred in HBO’s satiric special, Coastal Elites, opposite Bette Midler, Dan Levy, Sarah Paulson and Issa Rae. In October 2020, Dever appeared in the anthology series, Monsterland, opposite Jonathan Tucker.
In August 2019, Dever starred in Them That Follow, an independent drama feature that premiered at Sundance Film Festival.
In November 2018, Dever appeared in Sony Pictures’ The Front Runner for director Jason Reitman, opposite Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga and J.K. Simmons. In October 2018, Dever played Lauren in Beautiful Boy opposite Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet.
Dever can previously be seen in director and writer Lynn Shelton’s, Outside In, opposite Jay Duplass, Edie Falco and Ben Schwartz. The feature had its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and was released by The Orchard, and globally on Netflix. Dever and Shelton’s relationship was a continuation from their work in the comedy-drama Laggies, in which Dever appeared alongside Keira Knightley, Chloe Moretz and Sam Rockwell. The film premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival and was released by A24 Films.
In July 2017, Dever took on the role of Karen in Detroit, for Academy Award®-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, with an ensemble cast including John Boyega, Hannah Murray, Will Poulter and Jacob Latimore.
In October 2014, Dever co-starred in Paramount’s Men, Women & Children alongside Jennifer Garner, Ansel Elgort, Judy Greer, Adam Sandler and Emma Thompson. The Jason Reitman comedy-drama is based on a novel of the same name by Chad Kultgen. The film premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
In September 2013, Dever played a supporting role in the coming-of-age feature The Spectacular Now, starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller. Premiering at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, the film garnered much critical acclaim.
In August 2013, Dever delivered a powerful and pivotal performance in the critically acclaimed Short Term 12, opposite Brie Larson. The film first premiered at the 2013 SXSW Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative as well as the Audience Award. Dever was also highlighted as a SXSW breakout for her performance.
Dever’s additional film credits include We Don’t Belong Here opposite Catherine Keener and Anton Yelchin; Grass Stains opposite Tye Sheridan; J. Edgar, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Academy Award®-winning director Clint Eastwood; and the Cameron Diaz comedy Bad Teacher, directed by Jake Kasdan.
On the small screen, Dever co-stars in Last Man Standing as the youngest, toughest and most athletic daughter of the Baxter family. Created by Jack Burditt and directed by John Pasquin, the series also stars Tim Allen, Nancy Travis and Molly Ephraim. After six seasons on ABC, the show moved to FOX and is currently airing its final season.
Additional television credits include FX’s drama Justified, CBS’ crime drama The Mentalist, Starz’s comedy Party Down, ABC’s Modern Family and Private Practice and critically acclaimed HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Dever currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
Amandla Stenberg is one of the world’s most recognizable and sought-after artists for her undeniable talent and unshakable wisdom well beyond her years.
Stenberg garnered international praise as the star of 20th Century Fox’s film The Hate U Give, based on Angela Thomas’s NY Times bestseller. The story is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, with George Tillman Jr. directing the screenplay by Audrey Wells. The film premiered at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival and earned global accolades, culminating with Stenberg co-presenting at the Academy Awards® on behalf of the film, alongside civil rights activist John Lewis.
Pivoting to a new genre, Stenberg is currently in production on A24’s top secret slasher pic, Bodies Bodies Bodies alongside Maria Bakalova, with director Halina Reijn.
Stenberg recently starred on the small screen alongside Andre Holland in Netflix’s limited series The Eddy, created by Damien Chazelle.
Stenberg first gained recognition for her role as Rue in Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games. She earned a Teen Choice Award and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and a Black Reel Award.
In 2017, Stenberg starred in Everything, Everything, directed by Stella Meghi. For which Stenberg won the 2018 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture.
Other film credits include 20th Century Fox’s The Darkest Minds, the WWII drama Where Hands Touch and As You Are, which premiered at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival and went on to win the Special Jury Award.
Stenberg has been praised for her crusade towards improving society and sparking thoughtful conversation. She has shared personal essays on topics such as cultural appropriation, intersectional feminism, mindfulness, biracial identity, police brutality, systemic inequalities and beauty standards. DAZED Magazine proclaimed Amandla to be “one of the most incendiary voices of her generation.” In 2018, Stenberg appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine for their Next Generation Leaders Issue.
Actor, comedian and writer Nik Dodani is one of the most-watched emerging talents in the entertainment industry today.
Dodani co-founded The Salon, a forum for South Asian artists and executives in entertainment to accelerate the creative development of South Asian-Americans in TV and film through community organizing. Earlier this year, Dodani, along with Reena Singh and Rishi Rajani, announced the inaugural Salon Mentorship Program, a year-long program that will connect aspiring South Asian talent to established members of the entertainment industry. The 23 individuals participating in The Salon Mentorship Program were selected from a nationwide pool of over 850 candidates recruited through an open application and robust review process led by Dodani. The finalists were paired with a mentor in one of five tracks—writing, acting, producing, directing, or executive leadership—and will work closely with their respective mentors over the course of 2021 to identify areas of growth, discuss strategy, and expand opportunities. Mentees will also have exclusive access to monthly educational programming.
Throughout last year, Dodani was also active in organizing the South Asian community in support of the Biden/Harris presidential campaign. To kick off the election season, Dodani teamed up with Meena Harris to design and release the iconic "Vote for Aunty" merchandise campaign that celebrated Kamala Harris' South Asian heritage and raised money for Biden/Harris.
Dodani further rallied South Asians from film and TV for a NowThis video to celebrate Kamala Harris' ground-breaking candidacy and to discuss the power of voting, specifically in the South Asian community. Dodani, who wrote, directed and produced the video, was joined by other Hollywood heavyweights, boosting the video to become one of the most-watched political spots of the cycle.
Following the success of his first video, Dodani re-teamed with Maya and Meena Harris (Kamala Harris' sister and niece) to produce and star in a follow-up video to help motivate the South Asian community for the Georgia runoff elections. The video was the first in a series of Georgia voting videos from IMPACT, the Indian American Impact Fund. In addition to directing, Dodani co-wrote the video alongside Meena Harris.
Last year, Dodani also rallied fellow entertainers in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, joining efforts to oust former LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey and co-organized a Netflix town hall in support of the #BlackAutisticLivesMatter movement.
Dodani stars as the quirky and charismatic Zahid on Netflix's Atypical and recurred in season two of Netflix's Trinkets. Prior to this, Dodani wrapped a series regular role on CBS’ continuation of the award-winning iconic series Murphy Brown. On the film front, Dodani had a starring role in Columbia Picture's horror Escape Room and Netflix’s Alex Strangelove. At the start of 2020, Dodani wrapped director Hannah Marks’ sophomore feature, Mark, Mary & Some Other People, which will be premiering at Tribeca Film Festival.
Colton Ryan will next play Conrad “Coco” Roy on the Hulu series The Girl From Plainville alongside Elle Fanning.
He stars as Samuel in Apple TV series Little Voice with executive producers J.J. Abrams, Sara Bareilles, Jessie Nelson and Ben Stephenson. He plays Bruce in Alan Ball's Uncle Frank, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Ryan is the recipient of the 2019 Theatre World Award for his role of Gene Laine in Conor McPherson's Girl From the North Country, which premiered in the U.S. at The Public Theatre before it's Broadway debut in 2020 at the Belasco Theatre.
Other Broadway credits include Dear Evan Hansen (Music Box Theatre., dir. Michael Greif) His Off-Broadway credits include Alice By Heart (MCC Theatre., dir. Jessie Nelson), The White Card (A.R.T., dir. Diane Paulus) and additional film credits include Adam, The Social Ones and television credits include Homeland, The Americans and Law & Order: SVU.
Danny Pino is a versatile actor who has enjoyed success in film, theater and television. He currently stars as Miguel Galindo in the hit FX series Mayans M.C. He most recently starred opposite Hillary Swank in the 2020 drama, Fatale. Prior to Mayans, Danny starred alongside Tony Shahloub in the critically acclaimed CBS series, Braindead, as well as a celebrated role in the police procedural GONE. In 2015, he wrapped his final season of Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit, after playing fan favorite Detective Nick Amaro for multiple seasons, earning him an Imagen Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also attracted attention during his award-winning seven seasons starring as the laconic Detective Scotty Valens on the CBS series Cold Case.
Pino’s feature film credits include the thriller Across the Line opposite Aidan Quinn and Andy Garcia, Across the Hall for Universal and Guillermo Arriaga’s directorial debut The Burning Plain, an ensemble drama featuring Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence and Kim Basinger. He portrayed the iconic Desi Arnaz in the biopic Lucy and starred opposite Tim McGraw as a Wyoming horse-wrangler in Flicka.
Recurring and guest appearances include Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal for ABC, the Netflix hit One Day at a Time, portraying sociopath Armadillo Quintero on the acclaimed series The Shield and on USA Network’s long running series, Burn Notice. On stage, Pino recently appeared in Key Largo opposite Andy Garcia at the Geffen Playhouse (Los Angeles). He has worked on London’s West End in the Wyndham’s Theater production of Up for Grabs with Madonna and in the Public Theater’s New York Shakespeare Festival productions of The Winter’s Tale and Measure for Measure.
Julianne Moore is an Academy Award® and Emmy winning actor, and the first American woman to be awarded top acting prizes at the Cannes, Berlin and Venice film festivals. Moore also is a NY Times bestselling author, for her children’s book series Freckleface Strawberry. She is on the Advisory Council of The Children's Health Fund, a supporter of the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance and in 2015, became founding chair of the Everytown for Gun Safety Creative Council, a creative community established to help amplify the movement to end gun violence in America. Moore has most recently starred in Gloria Bell (2019), After The Wedding (2019) and The Glorias (2020). Additional recent projects include the Apple+ series Lisey’s Story (2021), Spirit Untamed (2021), Woman in the Window (2021), and When You Finish Saving the World.
Six-time Academy Award®-nominated and two-time Golden Globe winning actress Amy Adams has built an impressive body of work, challenging herself with each new role.
Adams is currently in production on Disenchanted, the sequel to her 2007 blockbuster hit, Enchanted, for Disney+. She is reprising her role of Giselle and also executive producing the film. It is expected to release in 2022.
Adams was recently seen starring in Woman in the Window, alongside Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore. Based off of the New York Times best-selling book of the same name, Netflix released the film on May 14, 2021. In 2020, Adams was seen in the Netflix film adaptation of Hillbilly Elegy, in which she stars alongside Glenn Close. The film, based on the best-selling memoir of J.D. Vance and directed by Ron Howard, was released on November 24, 2020 and garnered her a SAG Award nomination.
Adams starred in Adam McKay’s 2018 film, Vice, starring as Lynne Cheney alongside Christian Bale and Steve Carell. Annapurna released the film on December 25, 2018. Amy received a Golden Globe nomination, SAG nomination, Critics’ Choice Nomination, BAFTA Nomination and an Academy Award® Nomination for her performance.
In early 2019, Adams announced the development of her production company, Bond Group Entertainment. The company signed a first look deal with HBO. They are currently developing a multitude of projects: a television adaptation of Robert Beatty’s YA fantasy thriller Willa of the Wood; The Most Fun We Ever Had, a drama-series project for HBO based on Claire Lombardo’s New York Times bestselling novel; The Kings of America, a limited series for Netflix that Adams will produce, star in and reunite her with director Adam McKay, about three women whose lives are entwined with the world's largest company: Walmart; Nightbitch, a feature film based on Rachel Yoder’s darkly comedic debut novel about motherhood in which Adams will star and produce alongside Annapurna; Outlawed, a television series with A24 based on Anna North’s feminist Western novel that debuted at #6 on the NYT bestseller list. Bond Group recently won the rights to Suzanne Simard’s NYT best-selling memoir, “Finding the Mother Tree.” They will produce it alongside Jake Gyllenhaal’s Nine Stories and Amy will star.
In the summer of 2018, Adams starred in HBO’s high-profile drama series, Sharp Objects, in which she also executive produced with Jean-Marc Vallée at the helm as director. Based on Gillian Flynn’s New York Times bestselling book of the same name, the series centers on a reporter who confronts the psychological demons from her past when she returns to her hometown to cover a violent murder. The series, Adams’ debut as an executive producer, was released in July 2018. She won a Critics’ choice award for her role and was nominated for a Golden Globe, SAG and an Emmy for her performance.
Adams starred in Denis Villenueve’s 2016 film, Arrival opposite Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker. Taking place after alien crafts land around the world, the film follows the story of an expert linguist (Adams), who is recruited by the military to determine whether the aliens come in peace or are a threat. For her role, Adams has been nominated for a Critics’ Choice award, Screen Actors Guild award and Golden Globes award in the category of “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama.” In addition, she has been named Best Actress by the National Board of Review on behalf of the film. Paramount Pictures released the film November 11, 2016. The film to date has grossed roughly $200 million worldwide.
In 2017, Adams was seen in Justice League in which she reprised her role as Lois Lane opposite Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot. Directed by Zack Snyder, the DC film was released by Warner Bros. November 17, 2017. Additional 2016 film credits include starring in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, opposite Jake Gyllenhaal. The film, based on Austin Wright's 1993 novel Tony and Susan was released by Focus Features on November 18, 2016. In March 2016 Adams appeared in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, the sequel to the highly successful Man of Steel which was released in 2013. She reprised her role of Lois Lane opposite Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as Batman; The film was released by Warner Bros. on March 25, 2016.
Additional film credits include starring in Tim Burton's Big Eyes opposite Christoph Waltz. In the biographical drama, Adams plays Margaret Keane, and Waltz plays her husband Walter Keane. The film tells the real-life story of the iconic couple who found immense success marketing paintings of large eyed children back in the 1950s and '60s, with Walter taking the credit for his shy wife's creations. Adams won a Golden Globe for “Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy” and earned a BAFTA nomination for the performance. The film was released on December 25, 2014.
Adams starred in David O. Russell's American Hustle opposite Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner. The film was released December 18, 2013 by Columbia Pictures. Adams won a Golden Globe Award for “Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy”, a Critics' Choice Award for “Best Actress in a Comedy” and a SAG Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture” for her performance in the film. Adams' role also garnered her fifth Academy Award® nomination and BAFTA nomination. Adams was also recently seen in Spike Jonze's Her opposite Joaquin Phoenix which was released by Warner Bros. December 18, 2013.
Adams previously starred in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master opposite Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The 1950s-set drama centers on the relationship between a charismatic intellectual known as “The Master” whose faith-based organization begins to catch on in America, and a young drifter who becomes his right-hand man. Adams plays Peggy Dodd, the wife of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Adams' role garnered her a Golden Globe and BAFTA nomination in addition to her fourth Academy Award® nomination.
In summer of 2012, Adams played the Baker's Wife in Into the Woods as part of Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte.
Adams starred in David O. Russell's The Fighter opposite Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. Adams played Charlene, a tough, gritty bartender from Massachusetts who begins dating boxer "Irish" Micky Ward (Wahlberg). The film revolves around Ward and trainer-brother Dicky Eklund (Bale), chronicling their early days in Massachusetts, through Eklund's battle with drugs and Ward's eventual world championship in London. Adams' role garnered her Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA nominations as well as her third Oscar® nomination in five years. Adams also starred in Nora Ephron's Julie and Julia, reuniting with costar Meryl Streep, having previously starred opposite Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman in John Patrick Shanley's Oscar® nominated film Doubt which earned Adams her second Academy Award® nomination.
Adams starred in Kevin Lima's Enchanted opposite Patrick Dempsey and Susan Sarandon. Enchanted is a romantic fable that mixes live action with CG animation for Disney. The film was released November 21, 2007 and grossed over $300 million worldwide and earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress.
It was Adams' role in Phil Morrison's Junebug in 2005 in which she earned her first Academy Award® and SAG nominations. She won an Independent Spirit Award, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, National Society of Film Critics Award, San Francisco Film Critics Society Award and the Breakthrough Gotham Award for her role. Adams also won the Special Jury Prize for Acting at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival for her role as the pregnant, childlike Ashley, who is awe-struck by the arrival of her glamorous sister-in-law.
Adams' other film credits include Robert Lorenz's Trouble with the Curve opposite Clint Eastwood; Walter Salle's adaptation of Jack Kerouac's seminal beat generation novel, On The Road; Disney's The Muppets opposite Jason Segal; Shawn Levy's Night At The Museum 2: Battle at The Smithsonian opposite Ben Stiller; Christine Jeffs and Karen Moncrieff's critically acclaimed film Sunshine Cleaning opposite Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin; Mike Nichols' Charlie Wilson's War opposite Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Phillip Seymour Hoffman; Bharat Nalluri's Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day opposite Frances McDormand, and Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can with Leonardo DiCaprio.
Dance architect and choreography legend, Jamaica Craft, is a multi-faceted creative genius whose talents and skills reach far beyond the dance floor. From crafting some of the most popular iconic ensembles in hip-hop, to developing artists’ professional images, Craft is also the choreographer behind today’s hottest TV shows and franchises, including Lovecraft Country (HBO), EMPIRE (FOX), P-Valley (Starz), Step Up (Starz) and The Boss. The 20-year entertainment heavy hitter continues to carve out a distinct lane of her own.
Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, the self-taught dancer used the influence of her Midwest roots and southern influence to hone her unique dance style and vibe. After dancing for MC Hammer during her senior year of high school, Craft made it her mission to become an entertainer. Today, as the creative director and visionary behind the images of artists like Ciara, Neyo, Usher and Justin Bieber, Craft’s influence in entertainment has garnered her illustrious reputation. Even with all she has done, there is still so much more on her horizon.
Craft’s latest endeavor, Jam Session Entertainment, is a boutique creative experience that develops artists by helping them maximize their natural talents. Guiding them to a greater version of their art via authentic expression, Jam Session Entertainment, through meaningful interaction with the client, takes an idea from good to great, and from great to amazing, creating ideas that are genuinely new by encouraging curated risk-taking. Along with artist branding, the entrepreneur is also developing a fine fragrance candle line and plans to expand her love for the creative into home décor and design.
A laid-back soul who expresses her style as a comfy chic/sneaker enthusiast, Craft enjoys spending time at home and with family. She uses the values instilled in her and her own spiritual lifestyle to stay grounded in a brutal industry. Pulling on her experience and infusing her work with her passionate skill, Craft’s journey is a beautiful reminder of the power of hard work, grit and a dream.
Jordan Carroll is a music supervisor whose passion is to help bring others’ creative visions to life through the marriage of music to visual media.
She played a pivotal role coordinating the musical phenomenon The Greatest Showman, including supervising the creation and promotion of the soundtrack album, which is certified platinum in over a dozen countries and was the highest selling global album of 2018. The album won the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media and the 2018 Golden Globe for Best Original Song and was nominated for the 2018 Academy Award® for Best Original Song and the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media.
Carroll then became the in-house music supervisor for the music-driven film and television production company created by award-winning songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, in partnership with veteran producer Marc Platt. There she aided in developing numerous projects across film, television, recorded music, theater and print media, including associate producing the certified Gold The Greatest Showman: REIMAGINED Album, and Dear Evan Hansen: Original Broadway Cast Recording: Deluxe Album.
Other previous work includes Godfather of Harlem (EPIX) and Clouds (Disney+).
She is currently finishing Better Nate Than Ever for Disney+.
Alex Lacamoire is an award-winning music director, arranger and composer. He is best known for his work on Broadway's critically acclaimed shows Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen and In The Heights, which have won him three Tony Awards for Best Orchestrations and three Grammys for Best Musical Theater Album. He won a fourth Grammy for producing The Greatest Showman soundtrack and won an Emmy for Outstanding Music Direction on FX’s mini-series Fosse/Verdon. Lacamoire was also the recipient of a first-of-its-kind Kennedy Center Honors for his contribution to Hamilton, where the creative team was recognized for “a transformative work that defies category”—a distinction never before awarded by the arts institution. Most recently, Lacamoire served as the executive music producer for Warner Brothers’ hit summer movie In The Heights and executive music producer and composer for Netflix’s animation film VIVO. He will be the executive music producer for Netflix’s Tick, Tick...Boom!
Dan Romer is an award-winning composer, multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter hailing from New York City, now based in Los Angeles. Romer is known for his uplifting and heartfelt themes, collaborations with regional music, eclectic instrumentation and ensembles, and incorporating sound design to build unique palettes that captivate an audience.
Romer won the World Soundtrack Discovery of the Year Award in 2013 for his critically acclaimed score for Beasts of the Southern Wild. The four-time Oscar®-nominated film would go on to be performed across the world at the Barbican in London and by the Brussels Philharmonic in Belgium. Along with director Benh Zeitlin, Romer’s frequent collaborators include acclaimed filmmaker Cary Joji Fukunaga.
Romer met Fukunaga in 2012, scoring his short film Sleepwalking In The Rift using chamber strings and latin choral works. He quickly formed a creative partnership with Fukunaga, composing a stirring hybrid score to the award-winning film Beasts of No Nation in 2015, and later the Emma Stone and Jonah Hill starring series Maniac for Netflix.
Further award recognition includes a 2018 Emmy Award nomination for his score to the urgent climate change documentary Chasing Coral, and an International Documentary Association Award win for his explosive score to Brimstone & Glory in 2018. For the musical palette of Chasing Coral, Romer used hydrophones extensively to record and process sounds and instrumentation underwater, which evoke the feeling of being submerged and bring you closer to the dying coral reefs. Other awards include 2018, 2019 and 2021 ASCAP Screen Awards for his work on the hit ABC show The Good Doctor.
In 2018, Romer composed the music for Ubisoft's flagship video game Far Cry 5, earning him a GANG Award nomination for Music of the Year. In addition to his scoring work, Romer has produced several worldwide hit singles for numerous charting artists including, A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera’s GRAMMY-winning "Say Something," and Shawn Mendes’ “Treat You Better,” which is ranked in Billboard’s 100 Best Pop Songs of 2016. Throughout Romer’s career, his productions have sold in excess of 20 million units.
Romer has also scored Pixar's Luca, Superman & Lois (The CW), the Emmy-winning series RAMY for Hulu and WeCrashed for Apple TV+. On the development front, Romer is in the process of creating a musical episodic, set several hundred years in a post-apocalyptic future.
Outside of his own scoring work, Romer is the founder of the composer collective, Constellation Music, providing mentorship, resources and opportunities to young composers looking to hone their craft.
Sekinah Brown is a style-watcher. A sought-after costume designer for film and television, she keeps her eyes open to street style, body language and looks from all walks of life to create character narratives within her costume design. She knows that inspiration can be found on Crenshaw Boulevard, Rodeo Drive and all points in between. Her study of style never stops.
A native of the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, Brown worked her way up to department lead by starting at the very bottom of the production ladder. At every chance as a young production assistant, she would sneak hopeful glimpses into the costume trailer. It was Oprah Winfrey’s voice echoing from the television one day, encouraging her to answer the call of her own dreams. Brown knew she had to find a way inside that trailer. Shortly after, she received a call to assist a wardrobe stylist on a music video – one that turned out to be the most difficult job of her career to date – and there began her climb. Brown proudly rattles off the list of positions she’s cycled through: “I started as an intern, then I became a PA, set costumer, buyer, assistant designer, and only then became a costume designer. In order to be good at what you do, you must understand how each role within your department plays a major part in bringing your vision to light.”
Brown implements an intricate creative approach to each of her projects. She carefully dissects the script to understand each character inside and out, but there’s much more than just people to consider. “I’m thinking about color palettes and textures… What color chair the actor will be sitting in – what color the walls are. I keep all of these things in mind while also working to make the character as authentic as possible.”
In June 2016, Brown was featured in Vogue Italia for her work as a black woman in costume design. She appeared alongside other notable stylists and designers of color.
In a thankless industry, a bit of magic: Brown recently learned that a university-level journalism professor uses clips of her show Being Mary Jane, whose lead characters work as broadcast journalists, to teach his aspiring students how to dress professionally for their field. Small breaths of fresh air like this, or a moment of mutual admiration and respect captured while working with beloved actress Phylicia Rashad, are among the special memories helping to confirm to Brown that she has indeed answered the call of her dreams.
Brown is an active member of The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and former member of IATSE Local 479.
Anne McCabe ACE
Anne McCabe started as an apprentice editor in the cutting room of Brian de Palma, Sidney Lumet and Woody Allen. She collaborated with director Greg Mottola on several projects including Adventureland and Aaron Sorkin’s award-winning pilot for HBO, The Newsroom and worked closely with Kennenth Lonergan on the films Margaret and Academy Award® Best Actress and Screenplay nominee You Can Count on Me. Her TV credits include Nurse Jackie, Damages, Younger and Succession.
Recently, McCabe has worked with director Marielle Heller on her last three features, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Heidi Schreck’s critically acclaimed What the Constitution Means to Me.
Her next project is directing a documentary featuring Broadway performer and recording artist Idina Menzel for Disney+
Beth Mickle first garnered international acclaim for her work in Half Nelson, directed by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden. The movie went on to earn an Academy Award® nomination for Ryan Gosling, and Mickle was also honored by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the Production Designers to Watch for her work on the film. In 2011, Mickle worked with director Nicolas Winding Refn on Drive, for which she received an Art Directors Guild Award nomination for Excellence in Production Design. The two worked together again on Only God Forgives, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013.
After designing several films starring Ryan Gosling, she collaborated with the actor on his directorial debut Lost River. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014. She then joined directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra in New Orleans and Buenos Aires for their film Focus, starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie, and reteamed with the directors once again on Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Her other work includes The Family Fang directed by Jason Bateman, Collateral Beauty directed by David Frankel, and the HBO series The Deuce. In 2018, she partnered with actor and director Edward Norton on the period film Motherless Brooklyn, and she received a Golden Satellite Award for production design for her work in the film. Most recently, she stepped into the superhero film genre working with director James Gunn on the reboot of The Suicide Squad, starring Margo Robbie, Idris Elba and John Cena. She is currently working with James Gunn on Guardians of the Galaxy 3, completing the franchise’s trilogy.
Other honors for Mickle include a BAFTA Award nomination in 2010 for her work in An Englishman in New York, starring John Hurt. In 2014, Mickle was recognized by Glamour magazine as one of the women in film under 35 to watch (“Meet the Women Who Run Your Favorite Movies and TV Shows”), as well as landing on Variety's Below-the-Line Impact Report in 2013. Mickle currently lives in Hudson, NY with her husband, production designer Russell Barnes.
Los Angeles native cinematographer Brandon Trost is a fourth-generation filmmaker. Raised on film sets, he developed an early appreciation for the craft and enrolled in the Los Angeles Film School where he studied under the tutelage of such Academy Award® winning/nominated cinematographers as William Fraker, Ralf Bode and John Alonzo. As a cinematographer, Trost has experience shooting in all genres and an varied resume with over 35 features including the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog 2, This is the End, Neighbors, The Disaster Artist, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, The Interview, The Night Before, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, Rob Zombie’s Halloween II and The Lords of Salem, Crank: High Voltage, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and SNL’s MacGruber. His feature The Diary of a Teenage Girl won the Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival. In addition to his feature work, Trost’s television resume includes HBO’s Barry and The Righteous Gemstones. He recently made his directorial film debut with the feature film An American Pickle for HBO Max/Columbia Pictures with frequent collaborator Seth Rogen.
Stacey MIndich is a Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning theatrical producer. As the lead producer of Dear Evan Hansen, Mindich nurtured this original musical through an eight-year development that broke every box office record, won six 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and is now set to relaunch on Broadway in London and on a national tour this fall. Stacey Mindich Productions has produced more than 20 other plays and musicals, on and off Broadway. Believing deeply in the need to develop new musical works and nurture new voices, Mindich has also funded and enhanced productions for a variety of not-for-profit theaters, and is a founding board member of the Lilly Award Foundation, which celebrates, supports and advocates for women theater artists by promoting gender parity at all levels of production. She is also the co-chair of the board at New York City Center, which she has guided for the past eight years, particularly focusing on the beloved Encores series. Mindich is currently serving the Biden Administration and was appointed by President Joe Biden to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, which is a program for leadership and public service that provides young Americans experience working at the highest levels of the federal government. Prior to her career in theater, Mindich was a journalist and editor (for the New York Times, Newsday, Self, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Departures and Town & Country), and her essays have appeared in two collections of anthologies called Social Graces. Married to Eric Mindich, her favorite productions include her three sons, Russell, Danny and Charlie.
Michael Bederman executive produced Judd Apatow’s The King of Staten Island starring Pete Davidson for Universal, and Tom McCarthy’s Timmy Failure for Disney+, both of which were released in 2020. Furthermore, Bederman produced Edward Norton’s Motherless Brooklyn starring Norton, Bruce Willis and Willem Dafoe, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019. Bederman is known for his work on Spotlight, which was nominated for six Academy Awards® and won the Oscars® for Best Screenplay as well as Best Picture in 2015. Other credits include David Frankel’s Collateral Beauty, Michael Cuesta’s Kill the Messenger and George Nolfi’s The Adjustment Bureau, amongst many others. Bederman is currently in pre-production for the feature film adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel Salem’s Lot.
Adam Siegel, p.g.a.
Adam Siegel currently serves as president of Marc Platt Productions in Los Angeles.
Siegel most recently produced the feature film Better Nate Than Ever, a musical comedy written and directed by Tim Federle and starring Lisa Kudrow for Disney+. Prior to that he executive produced the Emmy nominated Oslo starring Ruth Wilson and Andrew Scott, and directed by Bartlett Sher for HBO.
Siegel has produced numerous films including Hotel Artemis (2018), written and directed by Drew Pearce and starring Jodie Foster, 2 Guns (2013) directed by Baltasar Kormakur, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, as well as Drive (2011), directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, and Christina Hendricks. The film earned the Best Director prize at the 2011 Cannes International Film Festival. Prior to Drive, Siegel executive produced Wanted, directed by Timur Bekmambetov, starring Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman, as well as Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, directed by Edgar Wright among others.
In the television space, Siegel has produced many live television musicals including Emmy Award winner, Grease Live! (2016) on FOX – the live television event of the beloved musical, directed by Hamilton’s Tommy Kail,
Siegel is a graduate of Wesleyan University. He is married and a father to two kids, and recently one rescue dog named Macguffin.
Marc Platt, p.g.a.
Marc Platt's producing career spans film, theater and television and his projects have garnered a combined 41 Oscar® nominations, 36 Tony nominations and 48 Emmy nominations, and have grossed over $5 billion worldwide.
Among his films are Disney’s Cruella starring Emma Stone and Emma Thompson; Aaron Sorkin’s critically acclaimed The Trial of the Chicago 7 which earned six Academy Award® nominations including Best Picture; Thunder Force for Netflix starring Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer; La La Land which tied the record for the most Oscar® nominations in history with 14, winning six; Bridge of Spies which earned six Oscar® nominations including Best Picture; Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns and Into The Woods which both earned multiple Academy Award® nominations; Legally Blonde; Nine; Drive; Rachel Getting Married; Wanted; The Girl on the Train; and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
Among his upcoming films are two for Disney: live-action feature The Little Mermaid, directed by Rob Marshall; and a live-action Snow White. Additionally, he is producing director Damien Chazelle’s Babylon starring Brad Pitt for Paramount; Oslo starring Ruth Wilson and Andrew Scott, directed by Bartlett Sher for HBO; and for Disney+ Better Nate Than Ever written and directed by Tim Federle based on his popular teen novels.
In theater, Platt produced the blockbuster Wicked, currently in its 18th year on Broadway. His other shows include The Band’s Visit which won 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical; War Paint, Indecent, Oh, Hello on Broadway, If/Then, Three Days of Rain, and Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands. In television, Platt executive produced Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert and Grease Live!, receiving the top Emmy Awards for both productions. He also produced HBO’s 10-time Emmy nominated miniseries Empire Falls. Platt’s other television shows include Rent (two Emmy Awards); A Christmas Story Live; Once Upon A Mattress; The Path To 9/11; and MTV’s series Taking the Stage. Prior to becoming an independent producer, Platt served as president of production for three movie studios—Orion, TriStar and Universal.
Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
Oscar®, Grammy, Tony and Olivier Award-winning songwriters/producers Benj Pasek & Justin Paul are best known for their work on Dear Evan Hansen, La La Land and The Greatest Showman. Their songs “City of Stars” and “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” (co-written with Justin Hurwitz) from La La Land were both nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Original Song, with “City of Stars” winning the Academy Award® as well as the Golden Globe in the same category. The following year, in 2018, Pasek and Paul won their second Golden Globe for Best Original Song for “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman, which was also nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Original Song and a Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media.
Their recent projects include songs for Disney’s live-action movie musical Aladdin, Dreamworks Animation’s Trolls and Amazon’s documentary film Pink: All I Know So Far; and upcoming films include Disney’s live-action Snow White and original live-action musicals with Apple and Sony, amongst several others in development.
On Broadway, they composed the score for the six-time Tony Award-winning Best Musical Dear Evan Hansen, their highly acclaimed original musical for which they received an Obie Award, a Drama Desk Award and the Tony Award for Best Score. The Dear Evan Hansen Original Broadway Cast Recording won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album and is certified Gold. With the release of the novelization of Dear Evan Hansen, Pasek and Paul also became New York Times bestselling authors.
Their albums for Dear Evan Hansen, La La Land and The Greatest Showman each appeared in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200, with The Greatest Showman holding the no. 1 spot for multiple weeks in a row and eventually named the bestselling album in the world in 2018. The Greatest Showman original motion picture soundtrack won the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media, the 2019 Billboard Music award for Top Soundtrack and is certified Platinum in over a dozen countries, including triple platinum in the US, New Zealand, China, Taiwan and Indonesia, quadruple platinum in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Australia, 6x platinum in Singapore, 7x platinum in the UK, 9x platinum in Ireland and 10x platinum in Korea.
Pasek and Paul made their Broadway debut in 2012 with their Tony-nominated score for the Broadway musical A Christmas Story, an adaptation of the classic holiday film, further adapted into a live telecast for FOX in 2017. Their new song written for the telecast, “In the Market for a Miracle,” was nominated for the 2018 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. For television they also contributed several songs to NBC’s Smash, a song for the CW’s musical episode of The Flash and received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for the song “Unlimited,” featured in an Old Navy YouTube campaign.
Their prolific theater careers include the acclaimed 2013 musical Dogfight which was awarded Off-Broadway’s highest honor, the Lucille Lortel Award for Best New Musical. Their earlier theater credits include the children’s musical James and the Giant Peach and the popular song cycle Edges.
Among their numerous honors, in 2007 they became the youngest winners ever of the Jonathan Larson Award for most promising musical theater songwriters, and in 2019, they became the first writers for stage or screen to be honored with the ASCAP Vanguard Award. They are graduates of the University of Michigan and serve on the board of the Dramatist Guild Foundation.
Steven Levenson is a Tony Award-winning playwright, screenwriter and television writer and producer. His plays include If I Forget, Core Values, Seven Minutes In Heaven and The Language of Trees. He wrote the book for the musical, Dear Evan Hansen, which won six Tony Awards, including Best Book and Best Musical, as well as the Olivier Award for Best New Musical. He co-created and executive produced the FX series Fosse/Verdon, which was nominated for seventeen Emmy Awards, including Best Limited Series and Best Writing for a Limited Series, as well as for Critics’ Choice Association and Producers Guild Awards, in addition to winning the Writers Guild Award and an AFI Award for Outstanding Series. Other honors include the OBIE Award, two Outer Critics Circle Awards and the John Gassner Memorial Playwriting Award. Upcoming film projects include the adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen, and Jonathan Larson’s tick, tick…boom!, directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. He is a graduate of Brown University.
Stephen Chbosky is an author, director and screenwriter. He is best known for his award-winning adaptation of his debut novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower (GLAAD, Independent Spirit, People’s Choice, WGA nominee), which spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list. He co-wrote the screenplay for Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast as well as the film adaptation of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder, starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, which he also directed. His first feature, The Four Corners of Nowhere, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Rent and co-created the post-apocalyptic TV drama, Jericho. His second novel, Imaginary Friend, was published in October 2019 and debuted as a New York Times bestseller.
Behind the Scenes
Ben Platt Reveals DEAR EVAN HANSEN Film Will Have a Rewritten Ending and Two New Songs
The film will have its world premiere at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2021 as its Opening Night Gala Presentation, before being released in theaters on September 24, 2021, by Universal Pictures.
Platt reprises his role as the title character, Evan Hansen, an anxious, isolated high schooler aching for understanding and belonging amid the chaos and cruelty of the social-media age.
What is the new Dear Evan Hansen ending?
However, in an interview with The Telegraph, he has revealed that some changes have been made for the upcoming movie, including a revised ending, that allegedly holds Evan more accountable for his actions than was seen in the stage version.
"We see this kid do all these things and tell all these lies in real time, so we need to see the redemption and the forgiveness and the repentance," Platt said. "Watching Evan do the work to figure out who Connor was and heal the family in a much healthier, more removed way, and see him take a breath and heal outside of the trauma he's experienced, is really, really effective."
It was also revealed that two new songs will be included in the film, written by composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. One song is called "Anonymous Ones" and will be sung by the character Alana (played by Amandla Stenberg). The second, for which the title has yet to be revealed, will be sung by Connor (Colton Ryan).
Throughout the rest of the interview, Platt talks about backlash he has received over his casting in the role, as well as his new album "Reverie", his role in The Politician, and much more. Read the full interview here.
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being A Wallflower, Wonder), Dear Evan Hansen is written for the screen by the show's Tony winner Steven Levenson with music and lyrics by the show's Oscar®, Grammy and Tony-winning songwriting team of Benj Pasek & Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman).
Featuring Grammy winning songs, including the iconic anthem "You Will Be Found," "Waving Through a Window," "For Forever" and "Words Fail," Dear Evan Hansen stars six-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams, Oscar winner Julianne Moore, Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart), Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give), Colton Ryan (Apple TV+'s Little Voice), Nik Dodani (Netflix's Atypical), DeMarius Copes (Broadway's Mean Girls) and Danny Pino (NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit).
Dear Evan Hansen is produced by Marc Platt (La La Land, Into the Woods, Mary Poppins Returns) and Adam Siegel (2 Guns, Drive), and is executive produced by Michael Bederman, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Universal Pictures will distribute the film in all territories.
Order the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Available September 24
Origin of Evan
When Benj Pasek and Justin Paul met the summer before their freshman year at the University of Michigan, they forged a bond over their shared love of music. “We were in the same BFA musical-theater program and in all of these classes together,” Paul says. “We were studying as performers, naively thinking we’d become Broadway singers, actors and dancers one day.”
Soon thereafter, the new friends realized that both had an appetite and a knack for creating music. “We each came at it from different angles,” Paul says, “but it was something we both loved. We’d end up in little rehearsal rooms at the music school late at night procrastinating on our homework, cramming and rehearsing music we’d been assigned to sing in our classes.”
Soon, they were veering off assignment and beginning to write songs. “It happened organically that we started writing our own music,” Paul says. “We began collaborating for fun as freshmen but didn’t write anything official or intentional until our sophomore year—and anything we did write was really just out of our lack of focus on our actual schoolwork.” It was the beginning of a partnership that would redirect their careers. “We wrote a collection of theatrically minded songs called ‘Edges’ our sophomore year,” Pasek says. “We’d gotten all this advice about finding what the musical is that you really want to write, and how you can tell a cohesive story in songwriting.”
The budding artists began tinkering with an idea inspired by memories of being high-school juniors during 9/11 and of starting college just as social media was exploding. “We bore witness to and participated in these moments of collective loss and wanted to understand why people felt such a pull to want to publicly showcase their participation in a national tragedy and mine it for something more,” Pasek says. “We wondered what it is about the epidemic of loneliness in society and our increasingly siloed nature that makes us want to overcorrect and claim tragedies as our own. Are we so in need of connection that we might pursue ways of doing so that we would never have considered before?”
The duo workshopped that idea and explored why somebody would be desperate enough to claim friendship with a victim of a tragedy. “That had happened in our high schools, and we both found it to be a phenomenon,” Pasek says. “Suicide rates were rising at the time and have continued to, as well as the sense of loneliness and social isolation amid being more interconnected than ever. Performative grief and public mourning climbed along with it—a sense of inserting ourselves into someone else’s story. We thought that this would be a question we’d be passionate about writing about interrogating.”
Pasek and Paul kept coming back to these themes of searching for self-identity and connection through someone else’s loss and the need for communal grief. Although neither of them thought it was commercial, they wanted to write it for themselves. Several years later they would meet a like-hearted book writer who, with them, would shape those ideas in a theatrical sensation.
A peer of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, playwright Steven Levenson had been fascinated by musicals ever since he saw “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Starlight Express” as a young boy living on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. “I guess there was something about roller skates and an Andrew Lloyd Webber score that sold me on the whole thing,” Levenson says with a laugh.
But it would be a game-changing show at the Kennedy Center that a 12-year-old Levenson saw that would unknowingly connect him to his future collaborators. “I loved acting, but there was always something a little embarrassing to me about the whole musical venture,” Levenson says. “‘Rent’ came along and exploded that for me. I didn’t know musicals could do that or be that before I saw it. It was raw and urgent and subversive. It felt like something that was fresh, different and so much like it was made for young people—for my generation.” Levenson pauses. “Although now I realize it was for people 15 years older than I was!”
The explosive show opened his eyes to the power of what musicals could be and do. “It was a gateway drug for more serious musical theater that I didn’t know existed as a 12-year-old kid in the suburbs,” Levenson says. “I didn’t know who Stephen Sondheim and Jonathan Larson were before that. I didn’t know that there were musicals that were pushing things artistically and thematically—and that musicals could have music I would actually enjoy listening to. A lot of musicals before that felt to me like homework, written in the exact same style they would have been written in 30 or 40 years earlier.”
As he moved along to high school and college, Levenson, like Pasek and Paul, became fascinated by the explosion of social media and the phenomenon of people using these platforms to glom onto tragedy, transforming various catastrophes into stories about themselves. “When celebrities died, I’d immediately see people start posting photos of themselves with the person, and that just became part of the ether,” Levenson says.
In 2011, Levenson was introduced to Pasek and Paul by Stacey Mindich, who would go on to produce “Dear Evan Hansen” for the stage and then serve as an executive producer on the film. “Stacey found Benj and Justin very early and loved their music,” Levenson says. “She asked them, ‘What would you guys love to do that no one else is asking you for? Whatever that is, I want to be a part of it and support it.’”
The duo told Mindich they were looking for a playwright to help them develop their nascent idea. “They had read some of my plays, and then we met,” Levenson says. “That was the beginning of ‘Evan’ and the original idea that the three of us came up with together.”
In May 2011, the collaborators fleshed out a story about a boy who tells a lie to create a connection to something terrible that happened, who then must deal with the unforeseen consequences. “Suddenly, two or three weeks later I got my first job writing in TV and moved to Los Angeles,” Levenson says. “Benj, Justin and I ended up linking up every few months and having these epic conversations where we would brainstorm for 36 hours before I had to get back on a plane and return to my day job.”
The three creators discussed what it was about these ideas that they found compelling and what kinds of characters these themes might evoke. “The big discovery of those first few months was talking about high school and realizing that there was a story to be told about tragedy and opportunism that was very familiar to us,” Levenson says.
They thought that what might be behind the lure of identifying with other people’s tragedies was a deep need for connection—and that people would go so far as to make up things that weren’t true just to feel a part of something larger. As soon as they started to talk about it in these terms, they asked what it would look like to have a central character who is unable to connect. “That led us down the path of social anxiety—someone who is trapped within themselves and can’t reach out but is desperate to do so,” Levenson says. “From those ideas, Evan emerged. That led the way.”
After seven months of back and forth, they had the scaffolding of the story. “We decided to try it out,” Levenson says. “I wrote the story and the scenes as if they were a play, and there were spots in the story we’d conceived of where we knew there might be a song like this or like that. In those spots in the script, I’d write, ‘There could be a song here…’ or I’d write long monologues that I felt mimicked what a song might feel like.”
Levenson did a pass and gave it to Pasek and Paul. “It very quickly stopped being clear where my work ended and their work began…and vice versa,” Levenson says. “They responded with ‘We think there’s a song here, which means this scene will change…’ When that scene changed, that called for another song, and it became this back and forth where you’re finishing each other’s sentences and you’re making it together.”
Pasek and Paul, who had won a Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Award in 2007, found in Levenson a likeminded creator who instinctively and instantly understood their musical motivations. All roads began to lead to “Rent.” “‘Rent’ came out for Justin, Steven and me as we were coming of age,” Pasek says. “It’s something that spoke to us. These were characters that were older than we were but told of a world in New York City that examined complicated questions of identity and morality. The characters themselves, and the craft of the writing, the kind of musical theater—a fusion of pop and narrative storytelling—was very influential.”
The show become their touchstone. “‘Rent’ is rather ‘through-composed,” Paul says. “It definitely has differences with ‘Evan,’ but it was instructive to see a model of something that was dealing with more serious and topical content, but then using catchy hooks—along with relevant lyrics—that could express and capture those themes and ideas in a pop-song structure or form.”