Los Angeles Times: Ben Platt is back home on a concert stage, and it’s a ‘Reverie’
BY ABBY HAMBLIN SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNEAUG. 31, 2022 7 AM PT
Ben Platt still feels most at home on a stage.
Though he’s being seen more and more in movies and on television, he’s always eager to return to performing live, as he’ll do on his Reverie tour, which stops at the Rady Shell in San Diego on Sept. 9, and the Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 12.
While he describes his feeling about the tour as “excited and scared,” the Grammy-, Emmy- and Tony Award-winner says he considers performing live, which he’s been doing since childhood, as his “home base.”
You may know him from his Broadway performances in “Dear Evan Hansen” and “The Book of Mormon,” but he began releasing solo music with the album “Sing to Me Instead” in 2019 and “Reverie” in 2021.
The Reverie tour marks three years since Platt last performed live on a solo tour and includes his first headlining show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He’ll be joined by indie-pop duo Aly & AJ, a sister singer-songwriter duo also known for their acting careers.
Here’s what he had to say ahead of his Southern California shows.
What excites you to talk about these days or what do you wish people asked you about more?
I guess the tour goes without saying — and the content of the tour — but if we’re talking in general, I just made this “Theater Camp” film with my closest friends and my partner, Noah [Galvin]. The four of us made a short film back in 2017 and have been developing it into a feature for many years and finally got to make it this past spring. I haven’t really gotten to talk about that much, but I’m really excited about that.
How excited are you to be going on tour?
Incredibly excited. It will be a full three years, when I play my first show, since my last proper performance, so obviously there’s a lot of anxiety and fear that comes along with that. But overriding that is just a real, pure excitement to get back to doing what I think I consider my home base in a sense that performing live is what I’ve been doing since I was a very wee child and where I feel the most myself. So that’s something I’ve really been missing and a feeling that has been hard to replicate during the pandemic, so I feel “excited and scared,” as [Stephen] Sondheim would say.
How would you describe the feeling of performing live like this? It’s just you up there.
I think there’s just nowhere to hide mentally and emotionally. You have to just be there in the moment and in control. I’ve always been an anxious person, but I think, like many people, through this pandemic, that’s been really amplified. So I think when I’m on stage performing, it’s one of the few places where I feel my mind is really quiet and I’m able to just enjoy being exactly where I am; so that’s a feeling I’m really excited for. And then the other element of it is just communing with people who are supportive and who connect to what I do and connect to my songs and want to be there to see me.
What would you say this tour looks like compared to other solo performances you’ve done in the past?
We’re filling some bigger rooms so, in terms of the feeling of it and the sound and the lights, it just has to fill a bit of a bigger space so it has a bit more impact. And then I’d say it’s definitely a little more pop-leaning in the sense that my second album, “Reverie,” which is kind of the basis for the tour, is a large part of the set list and it’s a very pop-forward, tempo-forward album. So there’s definitely a bit more dancing and a bit more of a groove than the first time. But I’ll certainly be playing some songs from my first album, as well and some covers and perhaps even a theater moment — trying to make sure there’s something for everybody.
With fans not having seen you live in this way in a while, what do you hope the experience is like for them?
I mean, I always just hope, first and foremost, that it’s a really enjoyable and meaningful night and experience and that they can forget their troubles and the troubles of the world and the apocalypse that we currently live in. I hope it’s a moment of freedom in that way. I hope that whatever it is they’re hoping to hear, I hope they get at least a piece of that, and that I hope I play everybody’s favorite things, and even if I don’t, I hope that they maybe leave loving a song they didn’t necessarily know or notice before.
How did it come about to have Aly and AJ as your opening act?
A: It just kind of happened very naturally. I was looking for a support act, and they kind of raised their hands and I couldn’t really believe that they wanted to come with me because I just think they’re so cool and I’ve loved them since I was a kid. I think they’ve done a really beautiful job honoring the music they came from and then also maturing and making this really, kind of Laurel Canyon-y, really cool indie-pop sound that they have now. I think it’s really cohesive with the kind of music that I’m doing on this tour and they just couldn’t be lovelier so I’m very excited.
Are you working on new solo music?
Yes, I am working on new solo music. I’m a third of the way through another album. When the tour is done, I’ll definitely return to working on it, and sometime next year,, hopefully, I want to put out a third record and maybe even play a sneak of one of the songs on this tour if people want to hear that, so I’m very excited about that.