Actor Ben Platt won a Tony Award last night for his portrayal of the titular character in the musical Dear Evan Hansen, a musical about a boy with severe social anxiety disorder. For the musical’s performance during the Tony’s, he blew everyone away once again with the song I’ve talked about on here before, Waving Through a Window. His incredible voice, along with his heart-wrenchingly accurate depiction of social axiety, had my parents and I in tears (not that it’s hard or new for me at this point) as we watched the lyrics mirrored in brilliant choreography. Evan rushing to be in the crowd’s line of sight and the crowd turning their backs at the precise moment at which he could be seen by them, if only they hadn’t turned away. It was a powerful statement made with music and lyrics, just as intended.
During his acceptance speech, he had a message for every person in the world that needed to hear it. He said “the best thing you can be is you because what makes you strange is what makes you powerful.”
It’s exactly the message Dear Evan Hansen tries to make. That if you’re lost, you will be found. If you are strange, you are still valid. If you are scared, you are not alone and you will always find someone to help you feel brave. There’s a reason the show’s poster holds the key hashtag “you will be found”.
They were words that Ben Platt knew so many people needed to hear. That it’s okay to be you and it’s okay to be different. He offered empowerment when people are feeling vulnerable and exposed. It was something I know I needed to hear.
Take it to heart, Lemons and Spoonies. “What makes you strange is what makes you powerful.”