Dear Evan Hansen Makes its Reno Stage Debut

Dear Evan Hansen Makes its Reno Stage Debut

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The Broadway hit comes to the Pioneer Center January 17-22.

The Biggest Little City is getting a big-time Broadway hit as Dear Evan Hansen opens at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts on January 17, 2023.

The Tony and Grammy award-winning musical stage production will call Reno home for a one-week run of this hit, which follows title character Evan Hansen on a twisty journey to love and acceptance that begins with a letter and one big miscommunication.

Dennyse Sewell, executive director of the Pioneer Center, says the team is beyond excited to bring this show to Reno for the first time. It’s a testament, she says, to the support of the Reno community; audiences have bought enough tickets to big shows to help Pioneer’s staff attract high-caliber productions like this one.

“This is the kind of mega show that people often travel to major cities to see,” Sewell explains. “For us to be able to bring this here… is really huge and a really proud moment.”

Now locals don’t need to drive to California for high-quality theater because not only are the same titles played locally, but they also enjoy the same casts that travel to cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles.

This six-time Tony winner is a meaningful score for Reno because of its pedigree, but the show is also a monumental win for another reason: its ability to speak to a large and diverse audience. Centered on the lives of high school students, the details may seem more attuned to younger viewers, but it’s the universally felt themes of loneliness and a desire to be loved that will resonate with everyone.

And it isn’t just Evan Hansen who is struggling throughout the show. In fact, all of the characters are on their own journeys of human connection and self-discovery. Many feel misunderstood or isolated even when they are around others, and there is a collective desire to be accepted for who they are, a feeling to which almost anyone can relate.

The story itself deals with suicide at a young age and how community copes with that reality. We also see characters struggle with other issues such as bullying and having an unrequited crush.

“It is heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful,” Sewell says, adding the production promises not to leave audiences in a pit of despair.

The script is a masterpiece on its own, but it’s true that Dear Evan Hansen owes at least part of its success to its soundtrack. This is, after all, a cornerstone of the musical production that preceded its movie adaptation. From the genius of the songwriters responsible for La La Land and The Greatest Showman comes an emotional yet equally powerful collection of tunes that guide viewers through the journey these troubled souls encounter. “The soundtrack won a Grammy award for a reason,” Sewell says. “[The songs] are so incredibly powerful. They paint such a beautiful and deep picture.”

Tickets are now on sale for Dear Evan Hansen, which will run January 17-22 at the Pioneer Center in Reno. In all, the Pioneer will host eight performances, including six evening performances and two weekend matinees.

To purchase tickets, or for additional details on the show, visit

There is also an opportunity to capitalize on the remaining shows from the 2022-2023 season at the Pioneer Center, all of which are Reno premieres (meaning this is the first time the shows have been performed in The Biggest Little City). Packages are available online and at the box office for Dear Evan Hansen, Ain’t Too Proud, Come From Away, and Anastasia.

Nora Heston Tarte is a longtime Reno resident living on the south side of town. In addition to searching out the best food spots in Reno, her interests include wine, hiking, yoga, and travel. She graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and is pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism. Follow her local exploits and travel adventures on Instagram.


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