From movies to music to TV, Ben Platt has cemented his status as a talented entertainer. When it comes to the entertainment industry, Platt is nothing if not versatile. His first movie role was as Benji Applebaum in the “Pitch Perfect” films, a musical comedy trilogy about an all-girl a cappella group. The role earned Platt a nomination in the best male scene-stealer category at the Teen Choice Awards. He went on to play Elder Cunningham in “The Book of Mormon” on Broadway. Platt’s title role in the Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen” elevated his career to the point of becoming a household name.
Broadway fans tend to revere a musical’s original cast, and no one played Evan Hansen quite like Platt. Exuding pure, raw emotion as he portrayed the endearing yet nuanced character struggling with social anxiety and depression, he captured hearts around the world. Performing hit songs like “Waving Through A Window” in his rich, signature vibrato brought Evan’s habits and quirks to life in a way that induced sobs all throughout the Music Box Theater.
Platt was so dedicated to this emotionally complex role that he had to undergo therapy after his Broadway run to prevent himself from adopting his character’s many anxious mannerisms. For his performance in the iconic musical, Platt would become the youngest person to win the Tony Award for best actor in a leading role in a musical.
In 2019, Platt starred in the Netflix series “The Politician,” created by Ryan Murphy. The series aired for two seasons and served as a funny yet scarily spot-on social commentary about today’s political climate. The first season focused on Platt’s character — Payton Hobart — running for class president against his former friend and lover, River Barkley, played by David Corenswet. The second season, which takes place years later, centers on Hobart’s run for the New York Senate.
Platt expressed his fondness for his character, as it wasn’t his typical role. From “Pitch Perfect” to “Dear Evan Hansen,” it’s evident that Platt is skilled at portraying characters that tug at our heartstrings and make the audience root for him. “The Politician” conveyed the full range of Platt’s incredible acting skills, as his character is cutthroat and darker, willing to do anything to get what he wants, no matter who he hurts along the way.
It was interesting to watch Platt portray a character with such ruthless ambition, his aspirations of being class president only a stepping stone to his eventual goal of becoming President of the United States. Alongside social commentary on the world of politics, there were moving, relatable themes pertaining to high school, forgiveness, finding oneself, and how easily people can be canceled nowadays. While the series focused on Hobart’s political ambitions, there were still great moments in which the audience got to hear Platt sing.
Platt’s first pop album, “Sing To Me Instead,” was released in 2019. People hadn’t previously heard Platt’s take on pop music, but once again, he proved he can do it all. The songs “In Case You Don’t Live Forever” and “Run Away” were heart-wrenchingly gorgeous, while other tracks like “Bad Habit” and “Hurt Me Once” gutted listeners with their honesty. The music video to “Ease My Mind” is how Platt publicly came out, featuring the actor Charlie Carver as his love interest. Platt expressed that the casting decision was a “no-brainer” as the song was based on his own personal life and a man he loved.
The recording of his concert at Radio City Music Hall on Netflix shows Platt opening up a bit more about his experiences as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. He’d been out to his family and loved ones since the age of 12, but the music video depicts his coming out publicly. Platt’s vulnerability and honesty bleed through in every performance he gives, which is a refreshing change from today’s autotuned artists and insincere stars.
During quarantine, Platt kept people sane and entertained as he posted to his Instagram beautiful covers of songs ranging from Kacey Musgraves to The Beatles, once more demonstrating his singing capabilities. This past fall, Platt reprised his role as Evan Hansen for the film adaptation of “Dear Evan Hansen,” despite criticism about him being too old — a fact he poked fun at in a recent Instagram post about rescheduling his tour.
Further proving he has a sense of humor, he made a video in which he jokingly rapped, “You’re probably thinking: This is so weird. Why is he rapping? This is kind of obscene… And he looks closer to 30 than 17.” In August, Platt released his second pop album, “Reverie,” for which he will start touring in September of this year. Songs like “childhood bedroom” and “I wanna love you but I don’t” convey the emotional honesty that Platt is known for in his songwriting, while still graduating to a slightly different sound from his first album.
In “childhood bedroom,” Platt sings about the place he retreats to whenever he needs an escape from the chaos of life — the room he grew up in. In “I wanna love you but I don’t,” Platt sings about the feelings evoked when one wants to love someone because they feel they should, but they simply cannot for inexplicable reasons.
Most recently, Platt held a livestream on his Instagram in honor of his song “Grow As We Go,” which reached over a hundred million streams. Platt is a beloved entertainer not just because he possesses a great deal of talent, but because he is a star who is refreshingly grounded and genuinely cares about his fans.
Whether it’s taking the time to greet his fans by name, wish someone a happy birthday on Instagram, or surprise a fan on “Today,” Platt always shows appreciation for his supporters. In turn, Platt has successfully transitioned from the screen to the stage and back again while releasing radio-friendly pop music after breaking out on Broadway. Whatever his next endeavor is, Platt has proven there is nothing he can’t do while stealing hearts in the process.