‘Dear Evan Hansen’: What Ben Platt, Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg, and Others Listened to On-Set to Prepare for Scenes

Dear Evan Hansen is a coming-of-age movie musical based on a stage musical by the same name. Actor Ben Platt reprises the title role that previously won him various awards, including Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Awards. The movie divided critics, although they praised the supporting cast’s performances and the musical numbers. Dear Evan Hansen stars Platt, Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg, Colton Ryan, and Nik Dodani discussed what music they listened to on-set.

‘Dear Evan Hansen’ has familiar and new songs

'Dear Evan Hansen' actors Kaitlyn Dever and Ben Platt walking through nature together
L-R: Kaitlyn Dever and Ben Platt | Universal Pictures

The film and the stage musical have multiple differences. Some character arcs have been shortened, while others have been expanded upon. Dear Evan Hansen‘s ending extends past the stage musical’s conclusion to allow for a more complete character arc for the title character.

Dear Evan Hansen stage musical fans will likely have mixed emotions regarding some of the songs getting removed from the film version. “Disappear,” “To Break in a Glove,” “Good For You” and “Anybody Have a Map” didn’t make the cut for the silver screen. However, two new songs have been created for this iteration, which include “The Anonymous Ones” and “A Little Closer.”

Music is absolutely crucial to Dear Evan Hansen and the actors who starred in this project.

The ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ cast listened to music to prepare for scenes

Platt, Dever, Stenberg, Ryan, and Dodani discussed what music they listened to on-set to get in the right frame of mind on the Fandango All Access YouTube page.

Ryan explained the wide variety of music he listened to on-set for Dear Evan Hansen. “Depends on the scene, but I do have an entire playlist called Weepy Sh*t, where each song specifically can trigger a little bit of teary-teary for me,” He said. “They’re mostly musical theatre songs. Leslie Odom Jr.’s ‘My Favorite Things.’ Pfft. Piano solo in the middle of that just cracks me open. And then some fun stuff, too…’Ain’t Nobody’ by Chaka Khan. That really gets me grooving.”

Meanwhile, Platt recalled one specific song he listened to on Dear Evan Hansen. He stated: “My serious one that I listened to a lot during this shoot was the Sufjan Stevens song ‘Chicago,’ but covered by this group called The Staves, which is these women who sing beautiful a cappella harmony. I can’t listen to it without crying…It’s literally a horcrux.”

Dever had a specific album in mind when answering the question. “It changes between different movies, but for this movie, I listened to Phoebe Bridgers’ latest album Punisher a lot,” she said. “Specifically the song ‘I Know the End.’ And I guess a happier song to get me in a happier place and pumped up would be ‘I Know a Place’ by MUNA. I was listening to a lot on this movie.”

Dodani made a joke before answering how he prepared for his part. “I prefer to listen to the voices in my head,” he teased. “And a peaceful piano playlist on Spotify.”

Stenberg explained the playlist she listened to and what she takes from her tunes. “I have a playlist called The Bad Place,” she laughed. “That I tap into sometimes, depending on the context. It’s mostly like weird, ambient/spooky-scary, weird stuff.”

She continued: “I was talking to an actor once who told me oftentimes when we’re going to an emotional place, like what can trigger the emotion inside of us is joy, as opposed to pain or sorrow. That really stuck with me and so, sometimes when I’m doing a scene that’s emotional or it’s more tapping into the nostalgia of the past, so I’ll listen to a really happy song from my childhood. Like, me and my mom used to listen to ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ all the time and stuff.”

Movies that pull on the heartstrings

Dear Evan Hansen certainly seeks to tug on the audiences’ heartstrings. The actors discussed on Fandango All Access how viewers will want a box of tissues with them. They realize that some audiences will be crying a lot of tears while watching the movie. The music and the lyrics are a big part of what attempts to achieve that goal.

Many critics slammed Dear Evan Hansen for its exploitation of depression, anxiety, and suicide. However, the actors want those who feel alone to view this movie as proof that there are others out there who feel the same way.

RELATED: ‘Dear Evan Hansen’: Here’s Why Zoe, Played by Kaitlyn Dever, Looks so Familiar

How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 to speak with a trained crisis counselor at the free Crisis Text Line.