3 PR and social media lessons from ‘Dear Evan Hansen’

The Broadway smash hit depicts what happens when a story gets out of hand—and how fast online platforms can spread falsehoods. Here’s what communicators can glean from it.

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Dear Evan Hansen, you could use a few PR lessons.

The Broadway musical about an anxiety-ridden high school outsider recently swept the 2017 Tony Awards with six wins, including Best Musical. The critically acclaimed production won over audiences with the way it touches on themes of love, loss, loneliness and relationships.

There are plenty of life lessons you can learn from the show as the web of lies Hansen creates inevitably begins to unravel.

It’s also the first major Broadway show that brings social media technology to the stage, so here are a few lessons that PR pros can take away from Evan’s on- and offline missteps:

1. Don’t create a false backstory.

“Dear Evan Hansen’s” plot revolves around a letter Hansen wrote to himself as a therapy assignment, which ends up in the hands of classmate Connor Murphy. The letter is found with Murphy after he commits suicide, leading people to assume that it was his suicide note. The assumption raises questions about the friendship between Hansen and Murphy that nobody realized existed.

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