‘Dear Evan Hansen’ takes UM student on national tour
As a musical theater major at the University of Michigan, Ian Coursey hopes to spend his junior year like this: in classes, chilling with friends in Ann Arbor, and taking the stage in a college production of “Rent.”
Instead, the Maryland native finds himself on the road as part of a year-long national tour of “Dear Evan Hansen,” the acclaimed Broadway musical that makes its debut in Detroit at the Fisher Theater on Tuesdays and through October 9. keeps on. Courcy is an alternate for the central characters, Connor Murphy and Jared Kleinman, in the Tony Award-winning musical.
“My[theater program]is doing second semester “rents” and they recently performed at the Big House during the football halftime show. It was hard to remember those tough events, but what I miss the most is my classmates and The professors,” Corsi says during a telephone interview from his home in Silver Spring outside Washington DC, “we all became one big family, especially during our freshman year that was badly hit by COVID. I cherish all those memories.” Waiting what would have been my junior year, so while I’m thrilled to be out on tour, it’s hard to be away from some of my closest friends and mentors.”
Still, there’s no denying the thrill of being a part of the national tour of an acclaimed Broadway musical, something he never dreamed he’d do while attending college, and a role that’s astonishing. came from, given some extenuating circumstances. He was recovering from COVID at the end of his sophomore year, when he got a call back in New York to audition for “Dear Evan Hansen”.
“I had no intention of walking away from college for a minute this year, but it fell on my lap and I couldn’t turn it down,” says 20-year-old Corsi, who is taking online classes at both the University of Michigan and Maryland. Is. Accumulate the credits required to graduate.
The hit musical follows the story of Evan Hansen, a high school senior with social anxiety issues, who, like many teenagers, seeks to fit in with his classmates. In his journey of self-confidence, Ivan finds himself in an unfortunate situation due to a tragedy. The story explores the relationship between parents and teenage children, as well as issues of social anxiety and mental illness. Evan is played by Anthony Norman, a multi-instrumentalist from Chicago who was also on the national tour of “Newsies”.
The musical debuted on Broadway in December 2016 after premiering at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., the summer before. The Washington Post described “Dear Evan Hansen” as “one of the most remarkable shows in music history”. The show won six 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book in a Musical, and Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, among other awards.
Courcy, who first saw the musical in New York (a 16th birthday gift), is an alternate for two roles—Connor Murphy, a troubled classmate and high school senior, who, like Evan, is also a social outcast. The other character, Jared Kleinman, is Evan’s drooling, sarcastic friend who lends some lightness to the serious drama unfolding on stage. Connor is critical of the events affecting Evan.
Alternating roles is a challenge, but Corsi, who began doing theater in high school, finds some common ground in the two.
“Connor and Jared are polar opposites on the spectrum,” Corsi says. “In a lot of ways I find it easier to get into Connor (as a character) … I never saw myself as stupid as Jared, so that’s a big challenge for me. I found my witty, comedic side.” Worked with friends to find him. His role is crucial to the show; he comes in and makes people laugh… he helps the audience connect with Evan.”
Some of his favorite songs on the show are Connors, including “Honestly, Main”. In that scene he sings and dances with his friends.
“Dear Evan Hansen,” he says, resonates with the audience because there is a character on stage for everyone sitting in the theater. Parents can relate to parents on the platform who are struggling with their children; Children can sometimes feel a lack of connection with their peers and adults, and the loneliness teens often feel.
“You can see yourself in all these characters, especially after coming out of the pandemic when many of us had no connection,” he says. “The show really highlights that and the power and disconnect many people feel of social media.”
So far, Koursi says there’s a “fair amount” on the platform. “We have to be on every show if someone calls. There were some last minute calls but most of the time we have advance notice,” he says.
The tour began in June in Boise, Idaho, where Koursi had to perform as Connor in front of her parents, who were there for her birthday. “I was lucky with the timing on that,” he says.
In perhaps an even more heartwarming tour moment, Koursi took the stage last weekend at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the first stop of the tour from Detroit. “I had notice in advance, so around 200 family and friends came to the show. It was really special for me. I grew up at the Kennedy Center, looking at touring companies. I used to wait outside the stage door to meet the actors. It’s really crazy to be on the other side. It was a full circle moment for me.”
There isn’t the only Michigan connection to Corsi production. Benz Pasek and Justin Paul, the creative team behind Words and Music, started out as classmates at the University of Michigan. The pair won a Tony Award for Best Original Score as well as other awards, and are also known for their work on “La La Land” and “The Greatest Showman”.
Despite being away from Ann Arbor, Coursi says he is “living the dream.”
“I get to travel across the country and see cities I’ve never seen before and I’m doing a show that I really love and I’m passionate about,” he said. Attend a class or two. “There’s something about live theater that will never get old for me. I love it.”
dear evan hansen
8 p.m. Tues-Sat, 2 p.m. Sat-Sun, 7:30 p.m. Sun, September 27 – October 9
3011 W. Grand Boulevard, Detroit
Tickets: $50. start with