Musicals of Various Shapes and Sizes Arrive on London Stages

LONDON — For proof that theatrical lightning can certainly strike twice, take into account the completely happy case of “Dear Evan Hansen.” The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical has opened in London on the Noël Coward Theater, introducing us to one more newcomer with real expertise. This time, the title function is performed by 21-year-old Sam Tutty, a latest drama faculty graduate, who’s greater than succesful of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the present’s earlier main males.

Ben Platt originated the function on Broadway, incomes a Tony Award earlier than shifting into the worlds of TV and movie. It’s too early to inform the place the director Michael Greif’s manufacturing will lead Tutty. (Marcus Harman, his alternate, performs the anxious Evan at sure performances.) But in a present predicated on the galloping impact of a lie, it actually helps to have a central performer who communicates an unerring reality.

Taking up a West End perch simply minutes away from acquainted Broadway titles like “Come From Away” and “Waitress,” “Dear Evan Hansen” furthers the sensation that there isn’t a want for Londoners to journey to New York to see a present; chances are high, quickly it will likely be over right here.

There’s equally little cause to doubt the power of the round-faced, emotionally open Tutty to search out his personal manner into the doubtless tic-laden half of Evan, whose path towards self-discovery comes on the human price of the suicide of a classmate, Connor (Doug Colling), whose spectral presence is essential to the present from past the grave. Despite Evan barely understanding Connor, the labyrinthine shifts in Steven Levenson’s e-book, which additionally received a Tony, deliver him instantly into the orbit of Connor’s grieving dad and mom, roles superbly taken right here by Lauren Ward and Rupert Young.

The rating by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul trades closely on anthemic appeals to self-assertion that echo “This Is Me,” their Oscar-nominated track from the film “The Greatest Showman.” And if that typically leads to an on-the-nose earnestness at odds with the English choice for irony, Tutty silences any objections with a direct attraction to the center: the tears he elicits from the viewers are truthfully earned.

Some will take pleasure in hearing nearly 30 proven hits repurposed to suit the occasion, the score of “& Juliet” including one new number, “One More Try,” that has been recorded separately by the English performer Jessie J.

Others may ask for rather more than a cumbersome attempt to pen a show-within-a-show that nods structurally toward “Kiss Me, Kate.” Someone really does remark in passing, “Where there’s a will there’s a way,” and William Shakespeare and his wife, Anne Hathaway, are on hand throughout the show as sparring partners in the style of Fred and Lilli from that earlier Cole Porter classic. Elsewhere, you may wince afresh when the likable Oliver Tompsett, playing a hipster-looking Shakespeare, says near the end, “There will never be another Anne Hathaway” — before stealing a knowing glance at the audience.

Miriam-Teak Lee’s ebullient Juliet is seen departing Verona for Paris, which is to say the city, not the dreary swain handpicked for her by her parents. Once there, she falls in with a diverse sexual and social landscape that includes something (or someone) for all tastes, from the nonbinary May (Arun Blair-Mangat, a vocal powerhouse) to Juliet’s ever-sassy nurse (Melanie La Barrie), who falls under the renewed spell of Lance (David Bedella, the American performer here sporting a faux-Gallic accent).

A little of this, to be honest, went a very long way, but I confess to hardly being the preferred demographic for a show that clearly wants to rival the Broadway-bound “Six” in the pop-anthem sweepstakes, while reminding us of another musical steeped in Scandinavian talent (“Mamma Mia!”) that began modestly and, well, look where it is now.

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