Age, Nepotism, or the Perfect Fit?

By Julia Kemp

2021 has become a major year for movie-adapted musicals. Popular musicals like In the Heights and West Side Story will be hitting theaters this year, making musical theater fans around the world go crazy. The insanely popular musical, Dear Evan Hansen, has been gaining the most traction online, however, due to its casting.

Huge stars are listed for the cast of Dear Evan Hansen, including Kaitlyn Denver, Amandla Stenberg, Amy Adams, and most controversially, Ben Platt. Ben Platt originated the role of the title character of Evan Hansen on Broadway, but his involvement in the movie striked an  online debate because of his age and father. 

 Ben Platt undoubtedly has the qualifications and knowledge of the show to have a part in the movie adaptation, however fans question whether the character of Evan Hansen is the right fit. Ben Platt, the 27-year-old singer and actor, doesn’t necessarily fit the young and nervous image of Evan Hansen. Critics say that the creators of the movie should have picked a younger, more accurate actor such as Andrew Barth Feldman, who starred as Evan Hansen on Broadway when he was just 16. Additionally, the producer of the musical is academy award winner Marc Platt, Ben Platt’s father and producer of hugely successful movies and musicals such as La-La Land, Legally Blond, and Wicked. Critics question whether Ben Platt’s revised role as Evan Hansen has to do with having a successful producer as a father. 

Ben Platt reacted over Twitter and through a statement given to Variety by saying that the people criticizing his age and his father’s favoritism are jerks, and that they should watch Grease, which features much older actors playing teenage characters.