Ardmore native Benj Pasek's 'Dear Evan Hansen' to get young adult novel treatment

Broadway hit Dear Evan Hansen, which features music and lyrics from Ardmore native Benj Pasek and his writing partner Justin Paul, will be getting a novel treatment this fall.

The musical will be adapted into a young adult novel dubbed, of course, Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel, according to a release. Featuring writing from Pasek, Paul, and Dear Evan Hansen book writer Steven Levenson, the book will reportedly expand on the musical’s characters and plot lines.

“For us, the most powerful and gratifying part of the journey of making this musical has been seeing the ways in which audiences have connected with these characters and their stories,” the writers said via a statement. “We are thrilled that this novel will be able to bring Dear Evan Hansen to even more people, and we hope that it will continue to spark conversation.”

The Dear Evan Hansen musical debuted in 2016, and last year won six Tony awards for categories including best musical. It follows high school student Evan Hansen, who suffers from severe social anxiety, as he becomes drawn into a lie following the death of a classmate. Pasek told the Inquirer that the story is based his experiences at Friends Central:

The original story is based on what the Ardmore-raised Pasek witnessed at Friends’ Central School in Wynnewood when a teen troubled by drug problems was found dead in 2000 and suddenly had far more mourners in death than friends in life.

“There was this public mourning from those who didn’t know him at all,” Pasek recalls. “Then 9/11 happened, and there was another moment that had a similar effect. I remember people who inserted themselves into that tragedy, claiming to know people who were involved even though they did not.”

Currently, the show is still on Broadway, but a touring version is scheduled to kick off in October.

Dear Evan Hansen’s young adult novel adaptation is the second big bit of news about the show this week, following Lin-Manuel Miranda and star Ben Platt’s mashup of the musical with Hamilton on Monday. Dubbed “Found/Tonight,” that track belongs to Miranda’s “Hamildrop” series, and benefits March for Our Lives, an anti-gun violence organization.

Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel is scheduled for release Oct. 9.