Friday, September 24th | 18 Tishri 5782

The Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life, 2017


Ben Platt


The current proverbial toast of Broadway is unquestionably Ben Platt, who took home the 2017 Tony for Best Actor in a Musical for his nakedly emotional performance in “Dear Evan Hansen.”

The tale of a high schooler with social anxiety disorder who must contend with the suicide of a fellow student, the show picked up its own Tony for Best Musical (winning six in total) and became beloved of audiences for its wrenching but cathartic intensity.

Born to a Jewish family steeped in musical theater, Platt was universally praised for sustaining the show’s emotional rollercoaster while still hitting every note perfectly. TV and Broadway star Neil Patrick Harris simply marveled, “He sings through tears!”

Platt took the opportunity of his Tony acceptance speech to encourage kids to embrace being different. “To all young people watching at home,” he said, “don’t waste any time trying to be like anybody else because the things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful.”

Displaying pride in his Jewish heritage during a “Late Night With Seth Meyers” appearance last year, Platt belted out a Hebrew version of the song “Luck Be a Lady,” which he said he learned at Jewish summer camp. (Photo credit: Twitter.)


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