Noah Galvin is taking over.
Starting tonight, the young actor will be onstage in the leading role of “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of Ben Platt, who originated the role and made his last appearance in the acclaimed musical on Sunday.
“When I became friends with Ben Platt, he was just starting to develop this show,” says Galvin. “So I’ve seen it basically in every iteration. I saw it in D.C., I saw it at Second Stage [Theater], I saw it on Broadway. And the day I saw it on Broadway, I found out that my show [“The Real O’Neals”] was canceled as I was entering the theater, so it was very serendipitous that I’m now getting to do it.”
In June, the musical picked up an array of trophies at the Tony Awards, including for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Music, and Platt picked up the statue for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical. Filling his shows is no small undertaking, although Galvin seems confident about bringing his own interpretation to the character.
“Understudies often have the job of just replicating the performance, and I’m being given a very cool opportunity to give about 10 percent replication and 90 percent of my own jam,” explains the slow-spoken actor. “Which is exciting. You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character.”
Although Galvin is the first actor taking over the role from Platt, his performance run is limited; in February, Galvin will pass the baton off to Taylor Trensch, and Evan Hansen will go through yet another renaissance.
“When they asked if I wanted to audition, they said, ‘If everything works out and you do get the part, would you be willing to do it for a year?’ I told them I didn’t want to do [the musical] for a year, and I got really scared that they were going to be like ‘Alright, bye,'” recalls Galvin, who recently came off of a two-season run of ABC comedy “The Real O’Neals.” “The boy who will be replacing me, Taylor Trensch, he will be doing it for about a year, I think. He’s in ‘Hello Dolly’ at the moment and his contract in ‘Hello Dolly’ doesn’t end until February. So they had this eight-week slot that they needed to fill with somebody, and I was luckily chosen as that person.”
After finishing his run in ‘Dear Evan Hansen,’ Galvin says that he will likely return to L.A. to jump into pilot season. “Like a regular unemployed actor,” he says. Galvin will also appear next year as a computer hacker in the film “Assassination Nation,” which stars Bill Skarsgård, Bella Thorne and Suki Waterhouse.
Like many, the 23-year-old is still finding his footing and with more exposure comes an increased weight of words. In 2016, Galvin gave an unfiltered interview to New York Magazine, in which he sparked controversy by sharing his opinions about several of his colleagues in the entertainment sphere and LGBTQ community. When asked whether he finds himself a little more wary of the press now — or what he says publicly — he pauses for a beat.
“It’s been a process of learning how outspoken I can be. And I don’t necessarily find that I censor myself, but I just have a little bit more overview now,” says Galvin. “And I know when to shut my goddamn mouth. I wrote this letter to myself for [a publication] — everyone had to write letters to themselves and for mine the pull quote was, like, ‘You have a big mouth, use it for good.’ And I think that’s something I remind myself of often.”