Dear Providence College
Dear Providence College,
Today is Going to be a Good Day, and Here’s Why…
Grace Whitman ’22
Trigger Warning: This article contains mention of suicide.
Broadway is back, and the Providence Performing Arts Center is up and running with a long list of hit musicals slated to run at the venue this year.
PC students recently had the opportunity to see one of these shows for themselves. On Wednesday, April 6, the Board of Programmers scheduled a trip to PPAC, located in downtown Providence, for a performance of the six-time Tony award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen.
The show follows Evan Hansen, a high schooler with severe anxiety, and his journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance after his classmate Connor Murphy commits suicide. The show does a great job of sharing how social media affects young adults’ mental health, an issue that has become increasingly dire since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The national tour of Dear Evan Hansen boasts a cast with impressive resumes. Stephen Christopher Anthony, who plays the titular character, has had a long career on Broadway. He started out as a cast member of the Book of Mormon in New York, performing in the ensemble and as the understudy for Elder McKinley. In 2018, he became the understudy for Evan Hansen. He soon took over the role full-time on the Dear Evan Hansen national tour. Moreover, Stephanie La Rochelle, who plays Zoe Murphy in the show, appeared in the original Canadian production before joining this tour.
In addition to the actors, the show’s set contributes to the magic of Dear Evan Hansen. At the PPAC performance, hanging projection screens of scrolling social media feeds illuminated a bare stage with few set pieces. With much of the show consisting of characters speaking to one another online, this setup made the actors look like holograms coming out of cell phones, creating an uncanny, innovative effect.
For those who were not able to make it to PPAC for Dear Evan Hansen but are yearning to enjoy live theatre after the pandemic, the Lincoln Center Theater production of My Fair Lady will be at PPAC from May 11 to May 15. This will be the last show at the theater before the end of PC’s spring semester. However, for those who live in the Providence area or are willing to make the trip, more exciting shows are coming to PPAC later in the year: Jersey Boys on June 2 and 3, Mean Girls from Oct. 4 to Oct. 9, and Les Misérables from Nov. 15 to Nov. 20. Additionally, some shows have already been announced for the spring of 2023, including Jagged Little Pill, Hadestown, and Beetlejuice.
BOP regularly provides discounted PPAC tickets to PC students. Aside from the Dear Evan Hansen trip, they have sponsored outings to shows like Aladdin and The Phantom of the Opera. Notably, however, PPAC also provides student rush tickets. These tickets are available at the Box Office window two hours prior to curtain time and are 50 percent off the regular price with a student ID. Either way, there are sure to be many opportunities for PC students to enjoy live theatre in the near future.