Ben Platt — the Tony, Grammy and Emmy winner — was calling from his parents' house. That somehow seemed appropriate since he wrote his new album in his childhood bedroom during the pandemic. The album that will bring him on tour in arenas for the first time.
The 28-year-old star of film, TV and Broadway has belted out "The Star-Spangled Banner" in stadiums and performed his own songs in theaters. But the jump to sports arenas?
"It is new," said Platt, who comes to Target Center on Sept. 22. "I think a lot about if the arrangements and energy of the show are equipped to fill the space. In terms of what I'm delivering, my focus is to deliver vocally and give an authentic performance."
Platt stopped by his parents' Los Angeles home last month, dropping off his dog before going out of town.
In that house, in his old bedroom, is where he spent lockdown writing material for 2021's "Reverie," his second pop album. He revisited his parents' old records, chiefly those by Phil Collins, James Taylor, Peter Gabriel and George Michael.
"Lot of '80s and '90s power pop and power rock. And storytellers," Platt said.
His daily highlight during lockdown was a run or walk in the neighborhood listening to those tunes.
"There is a comfort in returning to that place and remembering all the things that happened in there," he said. "There's a safety in living at home that you experience growing up as a kid that it's hard to feel as an adult."
Ben wasn't home alone. One of his four siblings, his youngest brother, Henry, 23, also was there with Mom and Dad. And Platt's boyfriend, Noah Galvin, who succeeded him on Broadway in the title role of "Dear Evan Hansen," lived with the Platts for a while during the pandemic.
In concert, Platt promises selections from his two pop albums, Broadway tunes and a few covers.
His approach for concerts is different than for Broadway, both mentally and emotionally.
Platt calls musicals a more "cerebral experience" trying to communicate someone else's goals.
"As a Type A person, I appreciate when there is a particular target of goals," he said.
But, for him, there is more separation when he's a proxy for another writer's emotions or story.
When it's a Platt concert, "there is no separation," he said.
"It has a lot more to do with where you're at that day and that moment and where you're at in your own life. That's really freeing," he said. "It's also a little more frightening because of the vulnerability and lack of filter."
The singer-songwriter has described "Reverie" as a daydream.
"I was looking for an escape for somewhere to go in my mind because we were dealing with a lot of frightening stuff and a lot of real mundanity, repetitive routine," he said.
He crafted the skittering electro-pop "Childhood Bedroom" as well as "Happy To Be Sad," a surging ballad about missing his lover ("I'm grateful to be crying"), and the fluttering falsetto piano ballad "Dark Times" about strength trumping romantic frustrations ("You only see the light shine in dark times").
Pop music will always be in the mix for the singer-actor who has starred on Broadway (he won a Tony for best actor in a musical for "Dear Evan Hansen," the youngest to grab that prize at age 23), in several films (including "Ricki and the Flash") and a couple of TV shows (chiefly "The Politician").
"As wonderful as it is to perform in a musical, which I hope to do many more times in my life, or be in a film or in someone else's piece, you do, after a certain amount of time, crave the ability to speak your own mind and to be seen fully as yourself," he said. "It's an outlet I feel is really necessary, and I can't ever imagine not wanting to return to."
As a child, Platt and his siblings wrote comic jingles and rewrote songs for family members' bar/bat mitzvahs and weddings. He penned his "first earnest song" at 19 or 20.
"It was, of course, about a boy I was pining after and who had turned me down and I was feeling very Taylor Swift about it," he recalled. "It was edited and changed over time. It's called 'Better'; it's on my first album."
Platt grew up in show business. His father, Marc Platt, is a prolific producer of films (notably "La La Land," "The Trial of the Chicago 7" and the "Legally Blonde" series) and Broadway (the Tony-winning "The Band's Visit" and "A Strange Loop").
At 9, Ben was in "The Music Man" with Kristin Chenoweth at the Hollywood Bowl and two years later toured in "Caroline, or Change." At 18, he appeared in the movie "Pitch Perfect" and landed on Broadway in "The Book of Mormon."
From his father, Platt learned about creating a loving and respectful atmosphere with his cast and crew.
"Obviously the art needs to be a high priority," he said, "but there's really no point in doing it if you're going to give the people around anything other than a popular and loving experience."
What kind of person is Ben Platt offstage?
Loving, of course. And, as he described it, an anxious, affectionate, cerebral, analytical, musical-loving introvert who loves "controlled chaos."
Sounds like a good character for a musical, a movie or a song.