Rachel Bay Jones, who won a Tony Award in 2017 for playing the mother of an awkward teenager in “Dear Evan Hansen,” will be leaving the Broadway production this summer, Variety has learned. Her last day at the Music Box Theatre will be on Aug. 5.
“It’s been a really long, beautiful run,” said Jones, who originated her character of Heidi off-Broadway and in a table read almost five years ago. “I’ve connected with a lot of people and really enjoyed this role and the good that it’s done. I’m looking forward to doing some more things.”
Jones can be seen next in a reoccurring part in the new CBS sitcom “God Friended Me,” which shoots in New York. She’s also in “Ben Is Back,” an upcoming drama starring Julia Roberts and directed by Peter Hedges.
“Dear Evan Hansen” quickly became a Broadway sensation after it opened in December 2016, winning six Tonys. “I think I still haven’t realized that the show is the phenomenon that it is,” Jones said. “I think the magnitude of it will maybe hit me later.”
The musical claimed high-profile groupies like Hillary Clinton and Beyonce. “I think Carol Burnett will always be the big one for me,” Jones said. “I grew up sneaking around the corner to watch her show while my parents were watching it in the living room. She was my first and greatest comedy teacher. It was really exciting to give that lady a hug.”
A replacement to play Heidi hasn’t been announced yet. Ben Platt, who originated the title role of Evan Hansen, exited in November 2017.
Has it hit her that she’s leaving? “I’m trying to make it real,” she said. “I’m trying to put away things in my dressing room and think about what other things I want to explore with the character before I go. And slowly saying goodbye.” She sounded wistful. “It’s more about saying goodbye to that person and the theater.”