Inspiration for _Dear Evan Hansen _came from a real-life episode that occurred at Benj Pasek’s high school. After a student’s death, various classmates created fictional connections between themselves and the deceased in order to insert themselves into the tragedy. Pasek, seeing this, was deeply affected, and in 2011 began brainstorming with writing partner Justin Paul as well as Steven Levenson. Over time, they developed the character of Evan: a painfully shy high schooler who longs for friendship and understanding
Dear Evan Hansen began its out-of-town tryout in Washington, DC, in the summer of 2015, featuring Ben Platt in the title role. The Broadway production premiered in the fall of 2016 to mostly positive reviews. Dear Evan Hansen went on to secure a whopping six Tony Awards in 2017, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Performance for Platt.