One reason I enjoy late night TV is the opportunity it often affords for discovering new, unusual musical artists and performances. Last Call with Carson Daly does that for me, as did the Late Show with David Letterman. Since Letterman’s retirement, Stephen Colbert’s shows have occasionally surprised me with unexpected musical rewards. On December 22, the Colbert show repeated a show from earlier in the year, May 22 to be exact. Colbert’s second guest was the singer/actor Ben Platt who, at the time, was performing the lead role in the musical Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway. Dear Evan Hansen was nominated for nine Tony awards in 2017, winning six, including Best Score and Best Actor in a Musical. Watch the linked videos below and you’ll easily see why Ben Platt won his Tony award.
It’s helpful to first watch Stephen Colbert’s interview with Ben to learn what the musical Dear Evan Hansen is about, and more importantly, how the song he sings fits into the story:
I have watched the following video over a dozen times now and am left, each time, with the notion that this is one remarkable young man and simply one gorgeous song. When I reflect back on my 3-part essay on Music as Language, I can’t help thinking, there is no more clearer evidence that the music adds a dimension to this story that the words alone could never approach. Music – what a gift!