Ben Platt Is Kicking Off His 'Gay Americana' Era With A Concert Residency

Ben Platt is set to usher in the next phase of his music career this spring with a Broadway return and a nod to his self-proclaimed “foremothers,” Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli.

To celebrate his third album, “Honeymind,” Platt will perform a series of 18 concerts at New York’s Palace Theatre, beginning May 28. In doing so, the Emmy-, Grammy- and Tony-winning actor and singer follows in the footsteps of Garland and Minnelli, both of whom played the Palace in their primes with sold-out residencies. He’s also the first performer confirmed to appear on the century-old theater’s stage since 2018, when it closed for a $2.5 billion renovation.

Though the May 31 release of “Honeymind” seems auspiciously timed to the Palace’s reopening, Platt never envisioned himself playing the historic venue as a solo artist. Still, he’d been looking for ways to bridge his Broadway background with his work as a singer-songwriter, so when the Palace opportunity arose, it felt like “the universe really did me a favor,” he said.

Ben Platt is set to unveil his third studio album,
Ben Platt is set to unveil his third studio album, "Honeymind," on May 31. Vince Aung

“So many people I admire, from the days of yore to the Barbra [Streisands] of the world ... that kind of synergy doesn’t really exist anymore,” Platt told HuffPost in an interview. “Doing something that felt like a little tapestry of all the things that I do felt like an exciting idea.”

As for those “foremothers,” he added: “I wouldn’t be here, as happy and openly queer as I am, without those two women and everything they stood for, and the support they gave the LGBTQ+ community. So I feel immense pride, and I want it to be a show they would both love.”

Platt’s residency concerts will be directed by Michael Arden, who won a Tony last year for the Broadway revival of “Parade,” in which Platt also starred. Songs from “Honeymind” will be prominently featured on the show’s set list, but Platt also plans to include a number of special guests as well as some classic covers and “a Broadway moment or two.”

On May 28, Platt will kick off an 18-show residency at New York's Palace Theatre.
On May 28, Platt will kick off an 18-show residency at New York's Palace Theatre. Jesse Grant via Getty Images

A Los Angeles native, Platt rose to national prominence in 2012 when he portrayed Benji Applebaum in the movie musical “Pitch Perfect.” His breakout role, however, arrived four years later when he endeared himself to a generation of theatergoers as the tormented teen protagonist of the Broadway smash “Dear Evan Hansen.”

It was during his “Evan Hansen” run that he signed with Atlantic Records. His debut solo album, 2019’s “Sing to Me Instead,” was a sterling showcase for his powerhouse vocals, featuring piano ballads and other self-reflective tracks. His sophomore effort, 2021’s “Reverie,” found him embracing an electro-pop vibe.

According to Platt, “Honeymind” was partly inspired by iconic 1970s musicians like Carole King and James Taylor; it’s also his initial release under a new deal with Interscope Records. The album’s first single and music video, “Andrew,” finds him recalling the unrequited crushes he had on a number of his straight male friends as a closeted gay teen.

Watch the music video for “Andrew” below: 

“No one’s to blame and it’s no one’s fault,” he said. “It’s just a shitty situation. The irreverent melancholy of that immediately felt like a song to me.”

The remainder of “Honeymind,” however, will reflect what Platt describes as his “gay Americana era.” The album’s cover art finds him and his fiancé, fellow stage and screen actor Noah Galvin, sharing a steamy embrace in a vintage convertible.

“I was inspired by very traditional American imagery,” he said. “Things like Coca-Cola and drive-in theaters that feel almost cliché in how American they are. ... I wanted to twist them through a queer lens and reclaim them. I had this image of two guys in the 1950s at a drive-in, getting it on in the back seat, and the joy and excitement of what it would’ve felt like if they didn’t have to worry about being seen.”

Noah Galvin, left, and Platt got engaged in 2022.
Noah Galvin, left, and Platt got engaged in 2022. Emma McIntyre via Getty Images

Galvin’s presence on the “Honeymind” cover is fitting, as Platt feels their relationship has afforded him “such comfort, freedom and confidence” that he had yet to experience before the two were together.

“It’s clear on the album that I’m at a turning point, and having the support of my partner allows me to feel a lot freer creatively and less afraid,” he said.