Island tour

Ben Platt Talks ‘Reverie’ Tour and Performing After the Pandemic

Tony winner Ben Platt has returned to the stage with his new “Reverie” tour, inspired by his 2021 album of the same name.

Joined by Aly and AJ, the Dear Evan Hansen star will make stops in Boston, Atlanta, Orlando and New York 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 playing for concert audiences versus musical theater audiences, and what he’s most looking forward to when he takes on the role. role of Leo Frank in the upcoming City Center production of Parade.

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

What can we expect from the next show?

Oh my God. Well I hope most of all it’s some kind of really joyful festive escape from some of the scary things going on in the world and just one night that hopefully brings a lot of joy to people and maybe a good distraction. You can expect a lot of votes, as always. That’s kind of always been my priority as an artist in general, but especially when I sing my own music, it’s to really put the singing front and center.

In terms of music, it’s a lot of “Reverie” which is my second album that this tour kind of based on and kind of set the foundation for the tour. So a lot of my second album, I’m also going to sing some of my first album. I’ll also sing a few covers that people will know and maybe even a little Broadway moment for our Broadway lovers.

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

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

Platt performing at Radio City Music Hall in his Netflix special

You mentioned this connection with the public. How has your relationship with the public changed when you’re on a tour like this rather than in a musical?

You know, I love having any type of relationship with an audience, especially post-pandemic. I have like a new appreciation for live performances in general and seeing people in real life face to face and having an experience together that feels like a fleeting moment. But, as you said, it’s very different. I think what I love so much about performing my own music is that I can really recognize and understand and connect directly with the audience. I think a lot of times when you’re doing a play you kind of feel their energy and they definitely feed you and there’s always that communication but you kind of have to emotionally and mentally kind of ignore them or do semblance of a suspension of disbelief that you live in a reality that doesn’t necessarily always include them. But when I make my own music, it’s just about being completely present with them and I can see them and really feed off of them openly and talk to them directly and be very myself with them. So I think it’s like that last element of layering or filtering or separation is gone and there’s really nothing between us. So I really appreciate it.

After your last tour in 2019, is there a memory or an evening on tour that stood out to you the most?

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

On a personal note, it’s just also the night that started Noah [Galvin] and I’m the chapter we’re in now to be partners and get this going too. So it was just, in many ways, a very special night for me in my life.

Interview: Ben Platt talks about the 'Reverie' tour and performing after the pandemic
Platt records his Netflix special at Radio City

Your album “Reverie” was released in 2021 and we were still in a bit of a pandemic situation at the time. So, how is it going now to go on tour a year after its release?

Totally. You know, it’s weird because on the one hand, I’ve been away from music for about a year and, you know, as an artist, when you release something, you’re so connected to it and you feel it so viscerally and all you want to do is execute it. But I had to wait so long and so I got nervous the month before the tour, you know, am I still connected to what I wrote at a very specific time, like you said during a kind of a pandemic moment where I really needed that escape and very specific things were happening for me in my life.

But as soon as I started singing it again in rehearsal, I realized how this music is meant to be performed live and how it hasn’t really been fully realized until now and how when I wrote it, I didn’t necessarily think about it because we were so far removed from the performance of life at that time, but I think the most pleasant surprise in the process was realizing that this album was really meant to be played live. It’s really uplifting and celebratory, and it’s really amazing to sing and, uh, musicalize for people. So I’m really excited about that. It speaks to where I was at that particular time, but I also think, in terms of what people want and need right now, I think it really lends itself in the sense that it’s kind of like a daydream, this album is really like a kind of vibrant escape and a place to have fun inside. There is a little less heaviness, emotionally. I think it’s really going to be the right sound and feel right now.

Aly and AJ also join you for the tour. Have you ever been a fan of them? How are you looking forward to having them as special guests?

Totally always been a fan of them 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 ran. It was like a children’s musical version of Frozen and we played siblings when we were young kids and then I got to watch her and AJ kind of explode and get huge and love their music and love them as actors. It’s just that the loop is very complete to be able to do this now together. They’re just very lovable, normal, grounded, humble individuals.

Touring is always stressful but especially in a post-pandemic world it’s very stressful so having people who are on that wavelength is just a real gift and not to mention I really love their musical background and their presence. I think our audience is really going to dance, both musically and just in terms of the type of people that we tend to attract and just the general, you know, comfort and friendliness and kind of being yourself without shame that we both want to inspire, I think it’s going to be a great combination.

Interview: Ben Platt talks about the 'Reverie' tour and performing after the pandemic
Platt with Aly and AJ

Before you finish, you’ll be in Parade at Encores! Downtown in November. How are you looking forward to it?

It’s really the only thing that excites me as much as the tour. Musical theater is in my blood and it’s what I did for 22 of my 28 years. I missed it so much. The last time I had the opportunity to do this was in 2017 when I left Dear Evan Hansen, so I was waiting for the right opportunity to come back and be in a musical that I belong. It’s a show I’ve loved all my life and music I’ve sung all my life. I’m thinking of playing Leo Frank at 29, when I’ll be 29 when I do the show, which is the age he was arrested and being authentically Jewish and getting to portray that character in a way that hasn’t never been authentically depicted feels very, very important and special to me. I’m a big fan of Michael Arden and his covers of Once On This Island and Spring Awakening and I love the way he reworks the tracks. I’m very excited to see what he’s going to do with this and very excited to work with Micaela [Diamond], who of course is also Jewish, is also about the age that Lucille was during all of this. So I think there’s a whole new kind of power that the coin can have with this particular cast. I am very excited for this.

Listen to Ben Platt’s “Reverie” here: