NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A 16-year-old from Long Island has landed the Broadway lead of a lifetime.
CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock sat down with Andrew Barth Feldman, the new Evan Hansen.
“I’m very nervous but really, really excited,” he told Murdock.
The high school junior at Lawrence Woodmere Academy will be the first teen ever to lead a Broadway show. And this isn’t just any Broadway production, but the six-time Tony Award-winning musical “Dear Evan Hansen.” Ben Platt originated the role.
Feldman said he saw the show three times long before getting called up to the big leagues.
“I was shattered, not to mention that the story is so – you feel the weight of the story on your own personal shoulders,” he said.
He said he sees himself and his peers in Evan.
“We, as teenagers, are all feeling that anxiety – all of us. We’re all wondering if we’re not going to be seen for who we are,” he said.
Feldman caught the attention of talent scouts at the 2018 National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as the Jimmy Awards. He took first prize for his portrayal of Frank Jr. in “Catch Me if You Can,” and said he wasn’t surprised to hear from the “Dear Evan Hansen” casting crew after that.
“But when I got the email, I was like, Oh I’m just one of the kids that they want to see. It’s nothing special, it’s nothing different. It was,” he said. “I went in the room, and sitting there is Michael Grife, Ben Pasic, Justin Paul, Steven Levenson, Tina Reuben – all the people that I have idolized and still idolize.”
He auditioned for the direct, the songwriting team and the book’s author.
“I’m just really excited to be here, like I said that out loud to Michael Grife’s face,” he said.
His age shone through at that moment, and his talent did, too.
“I love Evan. I love him as a person,” Feldman said.
Now it’s time to welcome the teen phemon to the Great White Way.
Feldman started acting on stage at just eight years old. His first role was Annie, and he said he can still remember taking his first bow.