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Ben Platt thrilled young fans are connecting with 'Dear Evan Hansen'

UPI News Service, 06/08/2017 

Tony nominee Ben Platt says he is happy young fans are flocking to his Broadway musical "Dear Evan Hansen."

Platt plays the title character, a lonely, high-school senior, who suffers from social anxiety disorder exacerbated by the prevalence of social media, as well as a classmate's suicide.

Asked at a recent New York press event if he is pleased his critically acclaimed musical means so much to teens and young adults who might not otherwise be interested in the theater, Platt replied: "That's, I think, the most special part of the whole experience."

"As someone who grew up obsessed with musical theater and finding my home in musical theater and finding myself in musical theater -- for me, Spring Awakening and Next to Normal and Rent, and even Gypsy and West Side Story when I was a young kid -- it's where I found who I was and sort of found ways to connect and feel human and feel like part of something bigger than myself and, so, to be that for young people... That's what makes this whole experience really difficult to understand and to see it so tangibly affect people and stick with people and make them carry out actions in their lives that they wouldn't when they walked into the theater, it's why we do it in the first place. It's very gratifying," the 23-year-old actor said.

The show is up for nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical for Platt.

Winners will be announced Sunday at a ceremony to air on CBS.

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