TIFF kicks off with ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ première

Cast members of the film “Dear Evan Hansen,” left to right, Julianne Moore, Ben Platt, Amandla Stenberg, Colton Ryan, Danny Pino and Nik Dodani pose for a photo in Toronto during the Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday, September 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO, Ohio – The Toronto International Film Festival is welcoming Hollywood celebrities back to the red carpet as organizers look to revive the event’s big-screen magic in spite of pandemic precautions.

TIFF kicked off with the première of musical “Dear Evan Hansen” at Roy Thomson Hall, ringing in a return to theatres after the COVID-19 crisis largely limited last year’s festival to digital and drive-in screenings.

But even as the global glitterati once again grace Toronto, the 10-day hybrid festival seems to lack some of the star-powered fanfare of previous years.

Ben Platt, Julianne Moore and Amandla Stenberg were among the actors in attendance at the “Dear Evan Hansen” gala Thursday.

But rather than being greeted by throngs of fans, the cast was shielded from public view as they walked the red carpet.

Based on the Tony Award-winning musical, “Dear Evan Hansen” sees Platt reprise his Broadway role as a socially anxious high school student who gets caught up in a web of deception following the death of a classmate.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 9, 2021.

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