This morning, I saw a tweet attacking Ben Platt, the Tony-winning star of Dear Evan Hansen, for not greeting fans after the show at the stage door. The Twitter user went so far as to call him an asshole. Ben, as the classy man he is, wrote a thoughtful post about needing to take care of himself in order to do his best work. For him, this often means going home right after a show. (His Twitter handle is @bensplatt. Go read it.)
I saw many tweets responding to the original poster that explained that stage dooring is a privilege, and not a right. They reminded her that when you buy a ticket to a Broadway show, the price of admission does not cover meeting the cast. I was glad to see that people were rightfully defending Ben.
Little did I know that this issue would come up again at the Bandstand stage door tonight. The stage door for the Jacobs (where Bandstand is playing) is right across the street from Dear Evan Hansen’s stage door. We could see and hear the crowd at Dear Evan Hansen very clearly.
Ben walked out of the stage door at Dear Evan Hansen, and the commotion was not confined to that side of 45th street. Someone who had seen Bandstand yelled, “I LOVE YOU, BEN PLATT,” which clearly made the Bandstand cast member signing autographs uncomfortable.
The gossip that I heard from people at the Bandstand stage door included people saying, “Did you see what he posted on Twitter this morning? I bet that’s why he came out today” and “Ben Platt can’t be bothered to sign autographs because he’s ‘too tired.'”
As someone who has been lucky enough to see Ben’s Tony-winning performance multiple times, I can tell you that he gives his heart and soul into every performance of that piece. He maintains a strict diet and limits his speech during the day in order to make sure he gives the best performance possible. I am stupefied that people feel entitled to any more from him.
This all leads me to a few important reminders about stage dooring. First of all, the stage door provides a wonderful opportunity for audience members to interact with people in Broadway shows, but it is not part of the ticket price. Actors are by no means obligated to stage door. They might skip the stage door for a multitude of reasons, and that is OKAY! Secondly, please be respectful of actors at the stage door. They are human beings, not autograph signing robots. I’ve met some incredibly kind actors and have had some wonderful interactions with them. All it takes is kindness and respect. Thirdly, it is okay to be disappointed if someone you wanted to meet doesn’t come out the stage door, but please remember that it is not a reflection on his/her character.
Let’s keep the stage doors of Broadway a place of positivity!