Ben Platt ’11 receives first Tony Award


THEATER THROWBACK: Ben Platt ’11 stars in his final musical production at Harvard-Westlake as the titular character of “Pippin.” Platt is currently starring in the Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen” in which he portrays a socially anxious teenager.

Caty Szeto

Hitting a milestone in his career, Ben Platt ’11 received his first Tony award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in “Dear Evan Hansen” at the 71st Tony Awards.
Platt has starred as the lead in the musical since its debut performance at the Washington Arena Stage in summer 2015. The musical was selected to run at New York’s Second Stage Theatre last spring and eventually made it to Broadway in December.
With eight performances each week, Platt acts as 17 year-old Evan Hansen, a high school senior struggling with social anxiety who finds himself caught up in a web of lies following a classmate’s death.
In each show, the audience watches Platt perform heartfelt monologues, three solo songs, screams, cries and nervous ticks. His skills shine onstage as he plays the complex character, managing to keep audiences on Hansen’s side despite his egregious actions.
Platt beat out several other Broadway veterans in this year’s awards ceremony, including Christian Borle, Andy Karl and David Hyde Pierce. His family was in attendance to cheer the musical actor on, with his older brother Jonah Platt ’04 even posting on Instagram to congratulate his younger sibling’s accomplishment.
At the ceremony, Platt performed one of his solos from the musical, “Waving Through a Window.” Upon receiving his award, he also delivered a speech detailing his journey to achieving his dream of being on Broadway.
“When I was six years old, I was the prince in ‘Cinderella’ in a blue sequined vest at the Adderley School for Performing Arts in the Palisades,” he began in his speech. “I’ve spent every day since then just madly in love with musical theater. It’s where I’ve found everything I’ve ever loved and where I belong. I’ve dreamed every day since of being on this stage and being a part of this community of artists, so this is insane.”
During his time at Harvard-Westlake, Platt took advantage of the numerous resources in the performing arts department to hone his craft and bring him that much closer to his dream of Broadway. He starred in leading roles for the fall musicals all three years he was at the Upper School, including his performance as the title character of “Pippin” during his senior year.
In addition to school productions, Platt was also a member of the auditioned ensembles Chamber and Jazz Singers as well as the school’s comedy improv troupe.
By graduation, Platt was ready for the professional stage, landing a role in Chicago as Elder Cunningham in “The Book of Mormon” just a year after leaving Harvard-Westlake.
After giving his thanks to the cast and staff of “Dear Evan Hansen” as well as his family, Platt finished his speech with an inspirational message toward all his viewers on staying true to themselves and embracing the quirks that make them unique.
“Don’t waste any time trying to be like anybody but yourself,” Platt advised his viewers in the speech. “Because the things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful.”