Darian Keanu Ruiz Aquino will portray the title character in “Dear Evan Hansen,” which opens March 7 in its Hawaii premiere at Manoa Valley Theatre.

The Broadway musical, with tunes and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (with book by Steven Levenson), will be directed by Rob Duval. It will run through March 24, and a holdover is likely.

Ben Platt originated the Evan Hansen role in 2016 and topped the cast for four years thus becoming a bona fide Broadway luminary, earning him a Tony Award for Best Actor and enabling him to move into films, television, the recording industry and since has starred in other plays on the Great White Way.

“Dear Evan Hansen” was nominated for nine Tony Awards and won six trophies, for Best Musical, Best Book, Best Score, Best Orchestration, Best Actor and Best Featured Actress (Rachel Bay Jones).

The show explores such life issues as bullying (Evan has social anxieties and depression), and suicide (Connor Murphy, a high school classmate of Evan who feels like a social outcast lacking friends, who takes his own life). Social media also triggers cynicism and fake emails, creating tension challenging trust.

Platt also starred in the film version in a 2021 film version, but the venture was sidelined due to a backlash of criticism that Platt, by then, was too old to play a high school student.

Aquino (pictured) may be remembered for his role in “Be More Chill,” another youth-oriented show at MVT. “Evan Hansen” castmates  include Vanessa Manuel-Mazzullo (Heidi Hansen), Ayzhia Tadeo (Zoe Murphy), Presley Wheeler (Connor Murphy), Shane Nishimura (Jared Kleinman) David Weaver (Larry Murphy), Susan Hawes (Cynthia Murphy), and Jenelle Wong (Alana Black). The ensemble includes Pono Lundell, Alana Clayson, David Hurley and Jasmine Haley Anderson).

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and at 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Tickets: $26 to $48, on sale at or (808) 988-6131. …

‘Sweeney Todd’ No. 1, for week ending Jan. 14

There’s a new king on Broadway – and he’s a demon and a murderer. For the first time, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” has joined the $2 million club, toppling the reign of “The Lion King.”
The Top 10 grosses, for the week ending Jan. 14:
1—”Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” $2.111 million.
2– “The Lion King,” $1,918 million.
3 – “Hamilton,” $1,901 million.
4 – “Merrily We Roll Along,” $1,834 million.
5— “Wicked,” $1,757 million.
6 –” MJ The Musical,” $1,401 million.
7—”Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” $1,387 million.
8 – “Back To The Future: The Musical,” $1.218 milion.
9 – “Gutenberg! The Musical!,” $1,208 million.
10—“Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” $1,171 million.
The full list, courtesy the Broadway League:

And that’s Show Biz…

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