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Jordan Fisher On The ‘Honor’ Of Being Dear Evan Hansen’s First Black Evan

Jordan Fisher as Jake in Work It screenshot
(Image credit: Netflix)

Being the first is always a double-edged sword as a Black performer. It’s nice to open up a door for others, but it can lead to an immense amount of pressure and expectations. To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You’s Jordan Fisher understood that more than anyone. Fisher made Broadway history with his role in the celebrated musical Dear Evan Hansen, and now The Flash star spoke on how being the first Black Evan was an honor to him.

Jordan Fisher joined an exclusive club of Black actors to take on roles originated by a white performer. Given his talent across multiple fields, Fisher seemed perfect for the character, as evidenced by his performances in Grease Live and Rent Live. But the actor was drawn to the iconic role for personal reasons. Fisher spoke to People about being the first full-time Black performer to take on the iconic Broadway role, saying:

My favorite thing about playing Evan honestly is just frankly being Black and being able to play this character. As a Black man that has a relationship with anxiety and depression myself, it's such an honor. It's such a narrative. It's such a topic of conversation that just isn't had amongst the Black community. And I'm surrounded by a bunch of friends here in New York and in LA as well, Black brothers of mine. We all deal with it, have therapists and whatnot. And being able to talk to one another about it is such an important thing.

It was nice for the Turning Red star to see his struggles in those of the character. Finding relatable traits and aspects in Dear Evan Hansen can speak to anyone, as Jordan Fisher pointed out. But the multitalented performer taking on the role allowed the unspoken mental health concerns of the Black community to be shown, even if it is a Broadway musical. Sometimes you must put the medicine in the candy for audiences to understand.

As Jordan Fisher pointed out, his portrayal allowed Black men to be seen. Anxiety and depression, along with other mental health issues, are rarely spoken of, especially amongst Black men. At least he could channel his experience and those of others for a new take on such a beloved character. So, it highlighted the evolving attitudes within the Black community. The tide appeared to change as more Black Americans, especially celebrities, have started to speak up about their struggles. It ended up raising public awareness about the Black experience and mental health.

The Alice star’s turn as Evan Hansen gained a better reception compared to the movie adaptation released in 2021. The big-screen Dear Evan Hansen was met with critical and financial disappointment, with many citing lead Ben Platt’s age despite originating the character on Broadway. Taking to the stage doesn’t mean Jordan Fisher is done with film and television, as he has multiple projects lined up.

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).