Backstage Pass: Ben, Jonah, and Henry Platt in Conversation with Abigail Pogrebin

Backstage Pass: Ben, Jonah, and Henry Platt in Conversation with Abigail Pogrebin
By :  The Jewish Theological Seminary Posted On Jun 29, 2021


The Annual Henry N. and Selma S. Rapaport Memorial Lecture

We’re thrilled to have hosted Ben, Jonah, and Henry Platt to discuss their professional achievements and aspirations as well as how their Jewish upbringing and involvement, including Camp Ramah, have influenced their careers. The Platt brothers have talent galore and amazing singing voices. They’ve achieved tremendous success in such popular and critically-acclaimed productions as Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen (Ben) and Wicked (Jonah), and in Counterparts A Cappella (Henry) at the University of Pennsylvania. The brothers spoke with acclaimed author and interviewer Abigail Pogrebin, who asked about their achievements, their challenges, their ambitions, and the role Judaism plays in their lives and art.  

Listen to the Platts harmonize in this beautiful rendition of Ahavat Olam.


Ben Platt, a Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winner, has been seen most recently in the highly popular Netflix series by Ryan Murphy, The Politician—his performance in Season 1 earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Coming off the heels of his widely acclaimed Finneas-produced single, “So Will I,” Ben also released his highly anticipated solo concert Netflix Special “Ben Platt: Live from Radio City Hall” along with a deluxe version of his album, Sing To Me Instead last May. He’s currently gearing up to release his second album with Atlantic Records this year. Additionally, it was announced that Ben will be starring with Beanie Feldstein in a film version of Merrily We Roll Along directed by Richard Linklater. Ben recently wrapped on Universal Film’s adaption of Dear Evan Hansen where he will reprise his Tony Award-winning role alongside Julianne Moore and Amy Adams releasing on September 24, 2021. Additional film/TV credits include; Pitch Perfect, Pitch Perfect 2, Ricki and The Flash, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Run This Town, and Will & Grace.

Jonah Platt is a multi-platform creator and performer, working across many aspects of the entertainment industry. Some of Jonah’s best known credits include “Fiyero” in Broadway’s smash hit Wicked, the voice of “Milton Moss” on Netflix’s animated Trolls: The Beat Goes On, a star turn as “Jack” in Lifetime’s I’ll Be Watching opposite Janel Parrish, and NBC’s Emmy-winning Jesus Christ Superstar: Live. He will next be seen onscreen in two films about classic Hollywood, Damien Chazelle’s Babylon and Aaron Sorkin’s Being The Ricardos. He is also a sought-after singer and musician, an accomplished director of theater and improv comedy, an award-winning vocal arranger and music director, and veteran TV writer. He is currently co-writing the music and lyrics for the stage musical adaptation of Lois Lowry’s bestselling novel The Giver, as well as his own original animated series, American Family, for Apple TV+. Jonah is also highly engaged in the Jewish community through a number of different organizations, including the Jewish Federation’s Community Leadership Institute and American Jewish University’s Miller Intro to Judaism Program, of which he is an Advisory Board Member.  

Henry Platt just graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where he studied English and Music. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, Henry served as the music director for Counterparts A Cappella, a pop/jazz group at UPenn. Along with being a singer and musician, Henry is a proud member of the LGBTQ and Jewish communities, and dedicates time to advocacy and awareness for mental wellness.


Abigail Pogrebin is the author of three books, including Stars of David, which was adapted for the Off-Broadway stage, Showstopper—an Amazon Kindle Single bestseller that chronicled her teenage adventures in the Broadway flop, Merrily We Roll Along, and the most recent deep-dive into the Jewish calendar, called My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew, which received a glowing review in The New York Times and was featured on the Today Show. A former Emmy-nominated producer for Ed Bradley and Mike Wallace at 60 Minutes and for Bill Moyers at PBS, she has written for numerous publications, has her own interview series at the JCC Manhattan for which she’s interviewed Madeleine Albright, Malcolm Gladwell, and Isabel Wilkerson, and she’s been a guest on CNN, Good Morning America, and Face the Nation.


The annual Henry N. and Selma S. Rapaport Memorial Lecture was established in 1982 by Selma S. Rapaport (1916–2010), who served as president of the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism and as a longtime JTS board member, in memory of her late husband. A distinguished attorney and committed Jew, Henry N. Rapaport (1905–1980) served as president of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, New York, and as president of United Synagogue. He was an active member of the JTS board, and a generous benefactor of JTS’s scholarly programs.