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Mental Illness: [Enter Stage Right]

The cast of Dear Evan Hansen performs onstage during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018 in New York City.
Theo Wargo/Getty Images
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

With guest host Celeste Headlee.

In “Dear Evan Hansen,” the hit Broadway musical, we see a main character who struggles with severe social anxiety. “Fun Home,” another Tony Award-winner, digs deep into paralyzing depression.

Musicals about mental illness are a lucrative artistic trend in theatre. And these productions are breaking new ground with their honest, entertaining portrayals of disorders that 1 in 5 Americans live with.

Depicting these disorders help audiences better understand common challenges to mental health, but it can also take a toll on the actors.

We check in on what it takes to suffer with mental illness on stage night after night, and talk about how theater uniquely treads into provocative territory in ways film and TV can’t.

Produced by Maura Currie.


Kate Shindle, President of Actors’ Equity Association; TV, film and Broadway actress; 1998 Miss America, representing Illinois; author of “Being Miss America: Behind the Rhinestone Curtain.” @kateshindle; @AEAPresident

Derek Goldman, Professor and Co-Director, Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown; @derekgoldman1

Joe + Joe Iconis + Tracz, Writers/composers of Be More Chill, opens off-Broadway in Aug 2018. @MrJoeIconis

Nisha Sajnani, Director of the Drama Therapy Program and Theatre & Health Lab at NYU; @nishasajnani

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