After I saw actor Ben Platt perform on the Tony Awards, I couldn't buy my ticket to Dear Evan Hansen fast enough. (I should preface all this by saying that I worked in the theater as an actor and playwright for more than a decade, so my awe was informed by knowing how almost impossible some of what he did was.) What I saw in Platt was a combination of musical genius, vocal and acting depth, technique—equal parts spontaneity and control—that delivered a once-in-a-lifetime performance that might end up on my list of spiritual high points in the theater—which has only one other member, Peter Brook's 1970 Broadway production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
"I want to be guaranteed to see Ben Platt," I told the box office clerk.
"His contract runs out in November," he answered.
"Okay, what's the first ticket where you can guarantee he's in the show?"
Three hundred dollars later, I walked home stunned. But it was once in a lifetime. (more…)