×

Ben Platt on Coming Out and the Queerness of ‘The Politician’

Ben Platt never imagined he would one day star in a series like “The Politician.”

“I didn’t think I could be a star of a show in general starting out. I think I was like, ‘I’ll do Broadway. I can be on stage and I can play Jimmy in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and Nathan Detroit [in “Guys and Dolls”] and that’ll be that,’” Platt says on this week’s episode of the Variety and iHeart podcast “The Big Ticket.” “I’d still like to do those things, but I think as life has progressed, my view of what’s possible has just grown and grown and grown.”

I sat down with Platt recently at New York’s 92nd Street Y, where he was appearing in conversation with his “Politician” co-star Judith Light.

In “The Politician,” co-created by Ryan Murphy, Platt plays a scheming high school senior running for class president. It’s all part of his lifelong goal to become president of the United States. Murphy’s latest creation is a true rainbow of diversity with a cast and group of characters representing a spectrum of sexualities, genders, races and physical abilities.

Platt says Murphy’s “Glee” was “so formative” for him during his high school years. The characters were “incredibly revolutionary particularly as far as queerness was concerned,” he said.

“The Politician” is the natural next step in representation with even more queerness and fluidity. “No one is free from the queerness, really, on the show,” Platt said.

Platt is one of the rare actors who came out as gay early in his career. “There was never like a gung-ho of ‘Let’s come out as soon as possible’ because no matter how forward-thinking we all get, it becomes an obstacle a little bit in the case of auditioning, producers and casting and directors,” he said. “Hopefully we’re moving a bit beyond that.”

Platt came out publicly in February with the release of the music video for his song “Ease My Mind” from his album “Sing to Me Instead.” It features Charlie Carver playing his love interest. “It was really a conscious decision. You know, I’m going to be public about this, [but] to go in and edit my relationship seemed silly for no reason,” Platt said. “I don’t think I realized the gravity of it until it was out and I was seeing people’s reaction  to it.”

Season 2 of “The Politician” starts filming in a couple of weeks.

And Platt knows some of what he’ll be doing over the next 18 years. He and his best friend Beanie Feldstein are starring in Richard Linklater’s adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical “Merrily We Go Along,” which will be shot over two decades. “We shot our first scene, which takes place in 1957 this summer,” said Platt, who earned a Tony for his work in “Dear Evan Hansen.” “The next scene is in 1959 or ’60 so we’ll wait two or three years to shoot the scene and so on.”

Among the other musical movies he wouldn’t mind being a part of? “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Company,” Parade” and, of course, “Dear Evan Hanson.”

And then there’s “Sunday in the Park With George.” “There’s no rush for that one,” Platt said. “Even if I did it in my apartment, I would make it happen.”

What movie recently brought Platt to tears? And speaking of crying, how does he do it so convincingly on camera? Find out by listening to the full episode of “The Big Ticket” below. You can also find “The Big Ticket” at iHeartRadio or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

More Legit

  • Grand Horizons review

    'Grand Horizons': Theater Review

    Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this one, as you surely must have: A nice, all-American family is in the process of breaking up and trying to make this sad state of affairs seem funny in Bess Wohl’s Broadway outing “Grand Horizons.” After 50 years of marriage, Nancy (the ever-elegant Jane Alexander) and Bill (the [...]

  • Uncle Vanya review

    'Uncle Vanya': Theater Review

    Director Ian Rickson has had success with Chekhov in the past. His exquisitely balanced, tragicomic production of “The Seagull” (2007 in London, 2008 on Broadway) was well-nigh flawless with, among others, Kristin Scott Thomas as painfully vulnerable as she was startlingly funny. Sadly, with his production of “Uncle Vanya,” despite felicities in the casting, lightning [...]

  • The Welkin review

    'The Welkin': Theater Review

    A life hanging perilously in the balance of charged-up, polarized opinions: This courtroom drama could easily have been titled “Twelve Angry Women.” But playwright Lucy Kirkwood (“Chimerica,” “The Children”) is far too strong and imaginative a writer for so hand-me-down a cliché. Instead she opts for “The Welkin,” an old English term for the vault [...]

  • Tina Fey attends the "Mean Girls"

    Tina Fey Announces Movie Adaptation of Broadway's 'Mean Girls' Musical

    It’s good to be mean…the “Mean Girls” musical, that is. Producers of the hit Broadway show announced today that the Tony-nominated production is being adapted for the big screen for Paramount Pictures. The musical is based on the 2004 movie of the same name. “I’m very excited to bring ‘Mean Girls’ back to the big screen,’ Tina Fey, [...]

  • Freestyle Love Supreme

    Watch Lin-Manuel Miranda and 'Freestyle Love Supreme' in Exclusive Clip From Sundance Documentary

    Before turning “Hamilton” and “In the Heights” into musical phenomenons, Lin-Manuel Miranda could have been found on stage, spouting off-the-cuff rhymes with his improv group, “Freestyle Love Supreme.” After performing across the globe, the troupe — founded 15 years ago by Miranda, his frequent collaborator Thomas Kail and emcee Anthony Veneziale — made its Broadway [...]

  • Ariana Grande 7 Rings

    Rodgers & Hammerstein Are Having a Moment Thanks to Ariana Grande, 'Oklahoma!'

    Jaws dropped when it was revealed that the late musical theater titans Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were granted 90% of the songwriting royalties on “7 Rings,” Ariana Grande’s 2019 No. 1 hit. The dominant motif of Grande’s song is taken from “My Favorite Things,” the cornerstone of R&H’s 1959 musical “The Sound of [...]

  • A Soldiers Play review

    'A Soldier's Play': Theater Review

    Now, that’s what I call a play! Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “A Soldier’s Play,” now being revived on Broadway by Roundabout Theatre Company, packs plenty of dramatic tension into smoldering issues of racial justice and injustice, military honor and dishonor, and the solemn struggle to balance their harrowing demands on characters who are only [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content