'Ben Platt Live At Radio City Music Hall' Review: As a born showman, Ben Platt is the gift that keeps on giving
Netflix is now airing Ben Platt's incredible concert from New York's historic Radio City Music Hall, the last stop from his sold-out nationwide tour in support of his debut album
The actor & singer Ben Platt is a born entertainer, a talented showman of the highest quality. Having already won an Emmy, Grammy, and Tony award, the 26-year-old performer is one Oscar away from reaching the pinnacle of showbiz perfection, the cherished EGOT billing. And given the way his acting career is taking off, it's only a matter of time before Ben Platt picks up his richly-deserved Academy Award.
The young Broadway star became a household name a few years ago thanks to his breakout role in the acclaimed musical 'Dear Evan Hansen', and is currently starring in the Netflix series 'The Politician'. But when it comes to his latest Netflix feature, Ben Platt isn't acting - he's finally able to just be himself - and this might be his best performance to date.
As of May 20, the streaming platform Netflix will be airing a concert film called 'Ben Platt Live From Radio City Music Hall'. Filmed on September 29 last year at the historic New York City venue, it features the last stop of Ben Platt's soldout nationwide tour, which he embarked on in support of his brilliant debut album, 'Sing To Me Instead'. The title of that record comes from a line in the show's very first song, the spectacular 'Bad Habit' - "Everybody needs a friend, it's true / Someone to quiet the voices in my head / Make 'em sing to me instead, it's you."
As Ben Platt admits, singing his own songs at a concert in front of his adoring fans is a pleasant change from having to act out a role for months at a time. The resulting freedom in not having to disguise himself on stage is clearly evident in his carefree, gleeful, joyous performance. This is the real Ben Platt, not a scripted character, and we're in for a real treat as Ben bares his soul to us in an intimate & inimitable style, with refreshing wit and candor.
Over the course of the 85-minute film that features 16 songs, including stellar tracks like 'Temporary Love', 'Honest Man', 'New', 'Rain', 'Ease My Mind, and 'Grow As We Go', we get a far better understanding of the man himself, and what makes him such a beloved entertainer.
For starters, Ben Platt's vocal ability is unparalleled - he's capable of hitting impossibly difficult notes, both soaring highs, and sonorous lows. His vibrato is off the charts, and he never goes off-key when singing live, a fact that is applauded by his 'Pitch Perfect' co-star Anna Kendrick, who is seen mouthing "wow" after a particularly breathtaking number. As Kendrick or any other seasoned singer will tell you, belting power notes can get draining after an hour or so, and yet Ben's incredible voice is on point from start to finish, sounding as fresh as the flowers on his colorful shirt.
What's more, he's a dazzling ball of energy on stage, bounding about and dancing with abandon, having the time of his life with his exemplary backing musicians and sublime backup singers. When the singer-songwriter does choose to perform the occasional cover, he elevates the works of Brandi Carlile, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John into a different class, reminding us that we are witnessing an artiste of the highest caliber, evident both in his exhilarating singing and his wonderful piano skills.
For all his superhuman abilities, Ben Platt is quick to remind us that he's refreshingly human too. He dashes off stage for a quick toilet break (he admitted it) near the end of one song, happy to let his outstanding backing vocalists steal the spotlight. He then returned and played down his vocal capabilities, modestly suggesting that his backup singers were "slumming it" with him. He endearingly confides in his audience in between songs, regaling us with stories of past heartbreaks that became future songs, coming out to his incredibly supportive parents at age 12 (it was pleasantly uneventful), his shoplifting exploits and why he thinks cats are evil.
Platt also openly talks about living with anxiety and how he definitely feels like Charlotte from 'Sex And The City' when it comes to matters of the heart, as evidenced by the lyrics of his song 'Share Your Address' - "And if I'm coming on too strong / It's 'cause I've waited far too long / For someone just like you." He also takes time to honor and cherish his parents and family, who are all in attendance, undoubtedly proud of how bright their young star shines onstage.
He puts the final sheen on a stupendous performance by returning for an encore, closing out the gig with an amazing rendition of 'Run Away'.
The resulting portrait of this extraordinary and flamboyant, yet sincere and humble performer is both compelling and breathtaking. This fact is not lost on his audience, who frequently give him standing ovations as they sing and dance along with his unbridled jigs of joy and heartfelt optimism. As an unfettered, gifted entertainer, Ben Platt is the gift that just keeps on giving. And as mindblown fans and listeners, we're all busy lapping it up and will be eager for more. 'Ben Platt Live From Radio City Music Hall' is available on Netflix from May 20 onwards.