The helipad may have been a novel changing milieu for the young star. But this vista of cityscape-meets-sea is not an unfamiliar one. Platt, 27, was born and raised in Los Angeles. Likewise, he is a native son of the entertainment world. His first major role, at age 9, was opposite Kristin Chenoweth at the Hollywood Bowl in The Music Man. It marked the beginning of a prolific stage career that includes lead roles in The Book of Mormon in Chicago and, most notably, the titular role in Dear Evan Hansen, which he originated in workshops in 2014 and brought to Broadway in 2016.
“I grew up in the theater,” Platt says. “That’s kind of my bread and butter, and that’s where I feel the most at home.”
The theatrical world is fond of Platt too. His stage performance as Evan garnered him a Tony Award at age 23; he made history as the youngest solo winner in the category of Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical. Evan also led him to other honors, including a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album and a Daytime Emmy Award for his performance of “You Will Be Found” on Today. With Platt’s reprisal of the role in the new Universal Pictures film adaptation from director Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), where he shares the screen with Amy Adams and Julianne Moore, Platt now has the chance to win an Oscar and the coveted EGOT status (as a winner of Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony trophies).
Ben’s father, Marc Platt, is not only supportive of his gay son, he is also one of Hollywood’s most prominent film producers, whose projects include Legally Blonde, La La Land, and, yes, Dear Evan Hansen. (Formerly hesitant to collaborate with his dad — knowing full well the possible public charges of nepotism — Ben embraced the partnership for DEH: “He’s a really specific producer in terms of having a gift for adapting things from the stage to the screen. And he’s just absolutely, in spades, the person to do the job.”)
But paradoxically, it is this privileged background that is at the root of Ben’s anxiety.
“I’ve had a lot of blessings in my life and, obviously, have worked quite hard on this one path from since I was quite young…[but] there’s been no sort of ‘capital A’ adversity,” Platt shares. As a consequence of his fortunate upbringing, Platt describes feeling what could fit the diagnosis of impostor syndrome. “Part of me is always wondering…something should go wrong,” he says. “Who am I to not have to face some sort of deeper tragedy?”