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Interview: Ben Platt Talks 'Reverie' Tour & Performing After the Pandemic

Interview: Ben Platt Talks 'Reverie' Tour & Performing After the Pandemic

Ben Platt will play Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, September 27.

Tony winner Ben Platt has made his return to the stage with his new "Reverie" tour, which was inspired by his 2021 album of the same name.

Joined by Aly and AJ, the Dear Evan Hansen star will be making stops in Boston, Atlanta, Orlando, and in New York City on Tuesday, September 27 at Madison Square Garden.

BroadwayWorld caught up with Platt to discuss what audiences can expect from the new tour, the difference between performing for concert audiences opposed to musical theatre audiences, and what he's most looking forward to when taking on the role of Leo Frank in the upcoming City Center production of Parade.

Click here for a complete list of tour dates and ticket information.

What can we expect from the upcoming show?

Oh my goodness. Well, hopefully first and foremost, it's a really joyful kind of celebratory escape from some of the scary things happening in the world and just a night that hopefully brings people a lot of joy and can be a nice distraction. You can expect a lot of vocals, as always. That's kind of always my priority as a artist in general, but especially when I'm singing my own music is to really put the singing front center.

In terms of the music, it's a lot of "Reverie" which is my second album that this tour kind of based around and kind of set the the homebase of the tour. So a lot from my second album, I'll also sing some from my first album. I'll also sing a couple covers that people will be familiar with and maybe even a little Broadway moment for our Broadway lovers.

You have some bigger venues on this tour, including Madison Square Garden, which is so exciting. How has that sort of changed your show, especially compared to the last tour?

Totally. I think that it's about, sonically and visually, just making sure that it takes up enough space and just feels like it fills the room properly. When you're in theater, there's a lot of emotional intimacy. That's just kind of inherent. I think in these bigger spaces, it's about balancing the moments and the songs that want to feel big and like an assault on the senses and really up tempo and dancing and having the whole room come to life and also still finding ways and moments for some more focused emotionality and connection and to be able to still commune with people the way that I love to when I perform. So yeah, I just think it's been balancing being big enough to fit the rooms, but still small enough that people feel like I can connect to them individually.

Interview: Ben Platt Talks 'Reverie' Tour & Performing After the Pandemic
Platt performing at Radio City Music Hall in his Netflix special

You mentioned that connection with the audience. How has your relationship with the audience changed when you're on a tour like this as opposed to in a musical?

You know, I love getting to have any kind of relationship with an audience, especially after the pandemic. I have like a new appreciation for just live performance in general and seeing people in real life face-to-face and having an experience together that is like ephemeral. But, as you said, it's very different. I think what I love so much about performing my own music is that I get to really acknowledge and take in and directly connect with the audience. I think often when you're doing a piece of theater, you kind of feel their energy and they definitely feed you and there's still that communcation, but you do have to sort of in emotional and mental way, kind of ignore them or pretend for a suspension of disbelief that you are living in a reality that doesn't necessarily always include them. But when I'm doing my own music, it's all about just being completely present with them and I can see them and really feed off of them openly and talk to them directly and being highly myself with them. So I think it's like that last bit of layering or filter or separation has gone away and there's really nothing between us. So I really enjoy it.

After your last tour in 2019, was there a specific memory or night on tour that really stuck with you the most?

Definitely Radio City because it's New York City and I'm always most excited to play New York City because those are the audiences that I want to impress the most and also that I really have to thank for any of this. The venue is so iconic and I got to film my special that night as well and my best friend Beanie [Feldstein] introduced me and it was just a very special kind of like Bar Mitzva-like night because of my whole family was there and all my friends, it felt like a very life moment.

On a personal note, it's just also the night that began Noah [Galvin] and I's chapter that we're now in of being partners and sort of set that in motion too. So it was just, in many ways, a very special night for me in my life.

Interview: Ben Platt Talks 'Reverie' Tour & Performing After the Pandemic
Platt recording his Netflix special at Radio City

Your album "Reverie" came out in 2021 and we were still in a little bit of a pandemic situation back then. So what is it like now going out on tour a year after its release?

Totally. You know, it's weird because on the one hand, I've been away from the music for like a year and, you know, as an artist, when you put something out, you're so connected to it and you feel it so viscerally and then all you wanna do is perform it. But I had to wait such a long time and so I got nervous in the month leading up to the tour, you know, do I still connect to this that I wrote this in a very specific time, as you were saying during like kind of a pandemic moment where I really needed this escape and very specific things were happening for me in my life.

But as soon as I started to sing it again in rehearsal, I just realized how deeply this music is meant to be performed live and how it hasn't really fully been realized until now and how when I wrote it, I didn't necessarily think about because we were so distant from life performance at that time but I think the most pleasant surprise of the process has just been realizing that like this album's really meant to be performed live. It's really galvanizing and celebratory, and just really feels amazing to sing and to, um, to musicalize for people. So I'm just really excited about that. It speaks to where I was during that time specifically, but I also just think, in terms of what people hopefully want and need right now, I think it really lends itself in the sense that it is sort of like a daydream, this album, it's very much like a kind of a vibey escape and somewhere to just to enjoy yourself within. There's a little bit less heaviness, emotionally. I think it's just gonna really be kind of the right sound and feeling for right now.

Aly and AJ are also joining you on the tour. Had you been a fan of theirs before? How are you looking forward to having them as your special guests?

Totally always been a fan of theirs like pretty much everyone in my generation. Aly and I actually did a musical together at a children's theater called the Falcon theater in Los Angeles that Gary Marshall used to run. It was like a children's musical version of the Snow Queen and we played siblings when we were young kids and then I got to watch her and AJ just like kind of explode and get huge and love their music and love them as actors. It just feels very full circle to get to do this now together. They are just very lovely and normal and grounded and humble individuals.

Touring is always stressful, but especially in a post-pandemic world, it's very stressful so to have people who are on that wavelength is just a real gift and not to mention, I just really love their music past and presence. I think that our audiences are gonna really jive, both musically and just in terms of the type of people that we tend to attract and just the general, you know, comfort and hominess and kind of unabashed being yourself that we both want to inspire, I think it's gonna be a nice combination.

Interview: Ben Platt Talks 'Reverie' Tour & Performing After the Pandemic
Platt with Aly and AJ

Before we finish, you're going to be in Parade at Encores! City Center in November. How are you looking forward to that?

It's really the only thing that I'm as excited for as the tour. Musical theater is what's in my blood and it's what I've done for 22 out of my 28 years. I've missed it so so much. The last time that I properly had the opportunity to do it was in 2017 when I left Dear Evan Hansen so I've been waiting for the right opportunity to come back and be in a musical where I belong. This is a show that I've loved my whole life and music that I've sung for my whole life. I think to play Leo Frank at 29, while I'll be 29 when I do the show, which is the age at which he was arrested and to be authentically Jewish and to get to represent that character in a way that it's ever been authentically represented feels very, very important and special to me. I'm a huge fan of Michael Arden and both of his revivals of Once On This Island and Spring Awakening and I love the way that he reworks pieces. I'm very excited to see what he'll do with this and very excied to work with Micaela [Diamond], who of course, is also a jewess is also around the age that Lucille was during all of this. So I think there's a really new kind of power that the piece can have with this particular cast. I'm very excited for that.

Listen to "Reverie" by Ben Platt here:

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