Dear Amanda and Ashley,
February 20 was a good day, and here’s why: because on that Wednesday, that Wednesday you watched Dear Evan Hansen at the Nederlander Theatre and sat in the orchestra after winning the ticket lottery. And it’s a good thing , because you both knew it would be the only way you’d get to watch the national tour production during its Chicago stop.
When the presale started, neither of you had enough money to buy tickets, so you had to wait for the general sale. But then you saw the ticket prices, and they were absurd. Neither of you could afford to pay over $100 for a single seat in the balcony―on a weekday! And then you kept checking ticket availability, and it was basically sold out with the exception of a few Wednesday matinees. So you both decided the lottery would be your best bet at getting tickets. Who knows how many people you’d be competing and entering with, but why not try?
Fast forward a few months to February 11, and you both set daily alarms on your phones to ensure neither of you would forget to enter the lottery right when it opened at 9 a.m. every single day (except Sundays because there are no shows on Mondays, so why would you waste your time to set a useless alarm only to realize there was no lottery to enter that day?).
Eight days, nine shows, and twenty-one rejections later, one of the emails finally said something other than “Lottery Results: Try Again”. Rather, one of Ashley’s said “STANDBY”.
It wasn’t a win, but hope was alive and well anyway. Ashley yelled in excitement and waited as patiently as possible to find out whether you’d get the tickets. You both knew it was wrong to hope someone wouldn’t claim their lottery win, but it’s okay to be selfish sometimes, because neither of you were actually hurting anyone by rooting for yourselves, and it wouldn’t be either of your faults if an initial winner didn’t claim their tickets, so you crossed your fingers and hoped you win.
One hour and one minute after receiving the standby email, another email came and it said “YOU WON!” Ashley ran up the stairs and barged into the room Amanda was in, and Ashley told Amanda that she won, so Ashley got on the computer to buy the tickets for the matinee show. Amanda then immediately texted your brother afterwards to tell him you two would be going to see Dear Evan Hansen and would be in the city so you couldn’t pick up your mom from work. He would have to pick her up from work, because she can’t drive. But he would also have to pick you two up from the train station, because your car wouldn’t be waiting for you at there. But he didn’t respond to your text right away, so you both worried and wondered, “What if he won’t be able to pick you all up and then no one would see Dear Evan Hansen?” But, at the same time, you were both sorry he didn’t win the lottery, because he actually wanted to see it first, but then neither of you didn’t feel too bad, because it was the matinee lottery, so he wouldn’t be able to go to that anyway because of work.
Come the day of the performance, you were overwhelmed simply upon seeing the crowd outside the theater waiting for the doors to open. Usually it wouldn’t be as overwhelming, but you had to go inside to the box office to pick up your tickets―which supposedly weren’t even available for pickup yet, because it wasn’t half an hour before the show like the email said, but neither of you believed that, so you were going to go in and try anyway. And you were right. You didn’t have to wait, but trying to navigate yourselves through the mass of people was more social interaction than you prepared for. Too many “Excuse me. Sorry.”s, “Can I get to the box office?”s, and “Thank you.”s. But then there were too many people lingering in front of the box office, and you didn’t know what they were doing. But you figure it out and got your tickets, which is the important part.
The lottery tickets were for the orchestra, which was obviously ideal, but they were better than either of you thought. You thought the seats would be further back, so you were grateful to be in right orchestra, row J. With it being a Wednesday matinee, the Evan Hansen alternate, Stephen Christopher Anthony, was on, so you didn’t get to see Ben Levi Ross, but that’s okay, because you got to hear him sing a few songs at the Broadway in Chicago concert last summer. It’s not like either of you were going there to see a specific actor anyway. You just wanted to experience the show live and in person, as it was meant to be experienced, instead of through the cast recording.
You enjoyed actually seeing the characters come to life, how they acted, and what their mannerisms were, and you were able to match that with what’d you’d heard in the cast recording. Even though you knew the characters from listening to the cast recording, seeing them in person was like getting to know them all over again. As you watched the show, you felt all the feels and all the emotions. For people who feel too much, surprisingly neither of you cried, but you both came close to it.
Every time Evan Hansen got socially anxious and started blabbering and was like basically saying all of the words or none of the words, you 100 percent felt that. He spends the entire show trying to feel like a useful, appreciated, and worthy person who has a purpose and actually matters. While neither of you recommend his fabrication tactics, Evan Hansen is without a doubt the most relatable theatre character you’ve ever encountered. And you will be grateful for this show―and Broadway ticket lotteries―for forever.