‘Dear Evan Hansen’s’ 23-Year-Old Star Destroys Himself on Stage Nightly

Ben Platt's searing performance in Broadway hit is expected to net a Tony Award.

May 10, 2017 1:37 pm
Meet the 'Unicorn' Actor Behind Hit Broadway Musical 'Dear Evan Hansen'
(left to right) Rachel Bay Jones plays Heidi as Ben Platt plays the lead of Evan in the 'Dear Evan Hansen' production at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., on June 26, 2015. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Being Evan Hansen in Dear Evan Hansen is not an easy gig.

As The New York Times notes, Ben Platt, 23, who plays an anxiety-ridden 17-year-old in the Broadway hit—and is a favorite to win at the Tony Awards—had to shed 30 pounds to get into character. Not to mention the fact that he has to be a ball of emotion on stage eight times a week—and do 11 singing numbers throughout the course of the show.

It’s a taxing gig to say the least.

There’s also a particularly “universal appeal” that Platt has to carry on his shoulders performance after performance. As the Times explains:

“It’s hard to think of a character in a musical who is so relatable to so many people in the crowd each night—teenagers struggling with anxiety, parents clinging to whatever fine thread still connects them to their kids, people who are ashamed of something they’ve done or who fear they are unlovable.”

Plus Neil Patrick Harris raved over Platt’s ability to sing an entire song while crying simultaneously, something the showbiz icon says he can’t do himself.

Says Steven Levenson, the author of Dear Evan Hansen, of the young actor: “I’ve never met an actor who has such emotional access….Yet every night, as intense as the role is internally, he hits each moment exactly the same. He’s technically perfect, every time. I find it a mystery. He really is a unicorn.”

Watch Platt sing one of his numbers, “Waving Through a Window,” from Dear Evan Hansen.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.