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Ben Platt on Befriending Beanie Feldstein at 14

Beanie-Feldstein Ben Platt
Carla Buelow/Variety/Shutterstock/Stephen Lovekin

For Variety’s latest issue, we asked Ben Platt to write a tribute to Beanie Feldstein, one of 50 people to make our New Power of New York list. For the full list, click here.

I have been basking in the glow of Beanie Feldstein since I was 14 years old. We became instant best friends on the first day of freshman year, our shared seventh-period lunch setting us on a predestined path of lifelong love. Beanie’s unique brand of magic has been apparent to everyone from the start, even in our inaugural joint performance of “Guys and Dolls” at school in which she more than rose to the occasion portraying soprano ingénue Sarah Brown, when we all know that Beanie, a world-class comedian and belter, has Adelaide in her veins.

Beanie’s power takes many forms: unending benevolence and warmth, undeniable charisma and effervescence, and the deepest possible well of compassion and empathy. Her power also lies in the stories she chooses to tell, searching for work that amplifies voices that deserve to be heard, most especially the vital voices of brilliant female filmmakers. Whether Beanie is disappearing into the skin of a rebellious English teenager with her remarkable turn in “How to Build a Girl,” making us all belly laugh as the intensely Type A yet endlessly lovable Molly in “Booksmart,” or warming our souls in her breakout role as Lady Bird’s unforgettable companion Julie, her essence is unmistakable. She creates specific, three-dimensional women of all kinds, simultaneously treating us to glimpses of her innate singularity.

Soon she’ll blaze new trails in Stephen Karam’s “The Humans” and as Monica Lewinsky in our shared collaborator Ryan Murphy’s latest “American Crime Story.” To watch the world anticipate Beanie’s climb to superstardom with the awe and excitement that I have always had watching my dearest friend is the ultimate gift. Beanie has always known exactly who she is and what she has to offer, as is reflected in her favorite mantra: “They either want the Bean, or they don’t want the Bean.” The fact is that we are all blessed to have the Bean, most especially me, and we can’t wait to witness the Bean’s meteoric rise.

Ben Platt, who won a Tony Award for “Dear Evan Hansen,” is a star of Netflix’s “The Politician.”