Well Said, Ben Platt
A lot has been written about Ben Platt’s tweet from earlier this week (click here for a direct link) and I’m not sure what I can add to the discussion surrounding it. But I do want to stand up and stand beside in complete and total support of him and all the artists who have chosen their own personal well being and sanity on certain days and certain moments. I salute you.
There are moments of the day, when I’m listening to the music from the Tony winning Dear Evan Hansen, and I think, ‘wow, they are doing that again tonight, and every night’. I just can’t believe anyone can get up on a stage so many times a week, month after month, and year after year, and tear their own heart and soul apart for our entertainment. We should all just thank our lucky stars for performers like him (and all those others) that they are willing to do that for us. My heart was shattered all three times I have seen Dear Evan Hansen. Once in D.C. three summers ago, one at Second Stage two summers ago, and the last time on Broadway just before opening night. (you can read my reviews for two of them here: Arena Stage,D.C., and Broadway). And to ask for more, demand for more, just seems insane to me. They are giving us so much already.
What these performers do is unbelievable. And I would, if I had the opportunity, to plead with them to take care of themselves first and foremost, so they can continue to do the thing we are asking of them. Stage door hellos, autographs, and photos are wonderful, and fun, but they are way down the priority list. We have no right to demand this of these performers. If Ben Platt, or anyone else for that matter does not have the energy or the patience or the good humor/mood to walk out that door into the masses of fans, I say, ‘please don’t. Take care of that magnificent instrument; your mind, your body, and your soul first and your true fans will understand.’ Sanity and health has to come first. For any and all of us.
For those who want to call him out for that, and say horrible things, you need to check yourself. For one, who are you to criticize anyone who’s shoes you have never stood in. It is easy for so many to act insulted and lash out, and I would ask them to look hard at themselves in the mirror. It is just plain bullying behavior, and horrifically rude. Who taught you that that kind of behavior is acceptable? I know right now we have a leader of this country who is a terrible example for this, but we need to find some compassion and empathy within ourselves, especially for those that give and give and give to us time and time again for our pleasure and our entertainment. And feel blessed for such an experience. Theatre is a true gift, and to be moved by so many willing to tear out their hearts for us, or make us laugh, is an honor.
So I thank you Ben Platt (and all you other talented souls) for doing what you do. Now take great care of you. And let the hateful words slide off you. Let them bounce off, and back at those who throw them. You are amazing and I for one, cherish you and what you do.