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‘You are not alone:’ Dear Evan Hansen opens at The Bushnell March 29

Stephen Christopher Anthony as 'Evan Hansen' and the North American touring company of DEAR EVAN HANSEN. 

Stephen Christopher Anthony as 'Evan Hansen' and the North American touring company of DEAR EVAN HANSEN. 

Matthew Murphy

Alaina Anderson was in high school when Dear Evan Hansen premiered on Broadway, so she understands what it means to deal with the crushing dynamics that childhood era brings.

Now, as the understudy to two leading roles in this week’s premiere of national tour of the show at The Bushnell in Hartford, she gets to see it from the inside out. The show debuts on March 29 after being postponed from March 2020 and again August 2021.

The story of Dear Evan Hansen is of a letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have.

Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. After the death of one of his classmates, he fabricates a lie that inadvertently brings him closer to the classmate's family, while also allowing him to gain his own sense of purpose.

Dear Evan Hansen was the winner of six 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

Alaina, who attended Yale, said she is extra excited to be back in Connecticut for the show’s debut. Since she studied psychology in school, she said she realizes the importance of mental health in the show and said it’s the reason it continues to resonate with audiences.

“It deals with mental health from so many different perspectives. You see it from the teenager perspective, but you also see it from the parents’ perspective, as they struggle to connect with their kids with empathy,” she said. 

Alaina said she didn’t see the entire show until she became part of the cast, which was enlightening. She said the need for us to focus on our own mental health and those of our loved ones has never been more important after having gone through the pandemic the last two years.

“One of the main taglines for our show is the message that ‘You are not alone.’ Especially given we’ve gone through COVID, quarantine and the mass isolation. It’s more important than ever to spread that message,” she said. 

Ultimately, she said that live theater, and art, are a deeply human experience and in that way, her background in psychology merges perfectly.

“Both art and psychology are about learning what makes us human and what makes us tick,” she said. 

Alaina said she can’t wait to experience the live audience and their reactions to the show,” she said.

As a New York native, she said Connecticut is basically a hometown crowd for her. 

“I’m so glad to be back in Connecticut,” she said. 

Dear Evan Hansen opens at The Bushnell on Tuesday, March 29 and plays through Sunday, April 3.

For tickets and more info visit