Noah Kieserman may play a bit of a surly teen as Connor Murphy in the theatrical powerhouse that is DEAR EVAN HANSEN, but he is a delightful person to interview. Even when said interview is on his birthday and he could be out celebrating.
Noah was the understudy for Evan, Jared, and Connor during the first year on the road with DEAR EVAN HANSEN, so he has a lot of experience with the unique demands of each role, as well as the emotional impact the show has on its audience. Here is our quick chat on his insight into the show, why it resonates with the audience in the way it does, and what he does to find balance on the road. DEAR EVAN HANSEN is playing at the Broadway San Diego from December 31- January 12th.
How would you describe this show?
It’s about a high school student, a 17 year old on his first day of senior year and he tells this lie that spirals out of control. The show at its core is more about social media and how we live in a particular y hyper connected age but still feel isolated within that and that’s the central theme, trying to be articulated through the plot of this boys lie.
Who is Connor in the show?
Connor is a frustrated teen outcast at the school and over the course of the show the audience sees that Connor and Evan have more in common than they may have initially seen to do. Connor sets the plot into motion with the initial action.
Had you ever seen this show prior to auditioning for it?
I had seen it three times before I went in to read for it. The show premiered at Arena Theatre in DC. When I was in college and I was back for a break my mom and I went to see it and sobbed our eyes out and everything. That was the first interaction I had with it and then I saw it again in Second Stage when it was off Broadway and I saw it again on Broadway. That as fun for me to watch; that was the first show I was able to watch evolve from an out of town try out, evolve into an off-Broadway production, into a Broadway production.
What was auditioning for the show like?
Why do you think this show has resonated so strongly with audiences members of all ages?
I think it’s interesting how now you have really young kids with iPad and phones and whatever, and I think that relationship with social media is becoming so ingrained so early on hat it makes the story so deep for those younger audiences.
I think the show is particularly multi-generational and the reactions we get at the stage door are really diverse. It is wonderful in that both parents, and children, and lots of different people will share their stories and things that they projected on to the show and that the show created a response within them. That’s probably the best part in all honesty – hearing that impact that we are striving for in the story.
How do you keep the balance of performing this show, and life on the road?
Doing the show multiple times a day it can feel easier to stay in the perpetual emotional state of where the show lives but you have to be decisive about separating yourself from the characters that you play.
I try to do things that make me happy. I love coffee shops and I love botanical gardens, and find some flowers and get some sun. And Disney Plus “Imagineering Story”!
You can also see him and the rest of his talented cast and crew in DEAR EVAN HANSEN at Broadway San Diego December 31st – January 12th. For ticket and show time information go to www.broadwaysd.com