Looking to do some homework before heading back to high school for “Dear Evan Hansen” at the Kennedy Center? These three songs (all from Act 1, for the spoiler-averse) make for a satisfying sampling of the hit show’s soundtrack, which won a Grammy in 2018 for best musical theater album.
‘Anybody Have a Map?’
The opening number introduces the central Hansen and Murphy families via a duet from their loving but exasperated matriarchs. It’s an up-tempo scene-setter that teases the theme of children becoming mysteries to their parents, and establishes the show’s musical aesthetic with a healthy dose of acoustic guitar, percussion and strings.
‘Waving Through a Window’
Evan voices his search for belonging with this toe-tapping, heart-wrenching solo, as the orchestration crescendoes toward a striking climax. And the hook from songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul is earworm material: “On the outside, always lookin’ in/ Will I ever be more than I’ve always been?/ ‘Cause I’m tap, tap, tappin’ on the glass/ Waving through a window.” In addition to the Ben Platt original, you can find covers of the song by Katy Perry and Owl City.
‘You Will Be Found’
Written as a replacement for “Part of Me,” the original Act 1 finale that was scrapped after the show’s pre-Broadway run at Arena Stage in 2015, this number begins with Evan alone onstage as he delivers a somber piano ballad. As the rest of the cast emerges and joins the chorus, the song builds into a soaring anthem about connection and community.