Matthew Murphy; Nathan Johnson
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November 12, 2018 at 03:14 PM EST

Dear Evan Hansen, the award-winning Broadway musical about an anxious high school student who embarks on a strange lie in the wake of a classmate’s suicide, is going for a touch of realism with its new casting. The show announced on Monday that the next performer to take on the lead role will be Andrew Barth Feldman, who has something in common with the fictional Evan Hansen: He is also a high school student.

The 16-year-old Feldman, currently a high school junior at Lawrence Woodmere Academy in Woodmere, NY, recently won the Best Actor Award at the 2018 National High School Musical Theatre Awards (a.k.a. the Jimmy Awards). Now, he will make his Broadway debut as Evan Hansen starting on Jan. 30, 2019. He will take over the role from Taylor Trensch, whose final performance as Evan Hansen will come on Jan. 27 after a year in the role.

Dear Evan Hansen was proud to sponsor the Jimmy Awards this year, where Andrew impressed us all with his performance,” Dear Evan Hansen producer Stacey Mindich said in a statement. “During the show, I texted our casting director, Tara Rubin, who was a judge for the Jimmys, and Andrew was in the casting office auditioning for the role within days of winning the award. It was clear very quickly that we’d found our next Evan. We’re grateful that The Jimmy Awards celebrate young artists and that they gave us a chance to discover Andrew, as well as so many other talented actors.”

“As a real-life high school student, I relate to the character of Evan Hansen immensely,” Feldman said in a statement. “And as a performer, it’s obviously been a dream of mine to sing [Benj] Pasek & [Justin] Paul’s amazing score – I’m so excited to get to make my Broadway debut in this show that means so much to me and my peers.”

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