News Round-Up: September 11, 2019

Eliad Cohen relaxes on a big, inflatable pink flamingo.

Eliad Cohen relaxes on a big, inflatable pink flamingo.

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Some days you just want to ride a big pink thing. Just ask Eliad Cohen (above)…LOL

Bloomberg: The state of Michigan has approved a charter for the first-ever LGBTQ credit union set to open in 2020.

KIT212: Happy Hump Day! You know what that means over at kenneth-in-the-212… Wrestle Wednesday!

HuffPost: Talk about underhanded politics… After promising there would be no votes until Wednesday afternoon out of respect for 9/11, North Carolina GOP lawmakers in the state House took advantage of Democrats attending memorial ceremonies to push through an override of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget.

Washington Post: The Supreme Court has ruled the Trump administration’s policy to bar many Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the United States may go into effect while legal challenges move forward. Since 1980, the U.S. has said those who say they are fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries have the right to at least apply for asylum.

NY Times: The White House was directly involved in pressing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to denounce the weather forecasters who contradicted Donald Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian would probably strike Alabama. Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, told Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, to have NOAA publicly disavow the forecasters’ position that Alabama was not at risk.

New Music: Tony Award winner drops his newest music video, the uptempo, pulsating “Rain,” from his album Sing To Me Instead.

Platt’s upcoming September 29 concert at Radio City Music Hall is not only sold-out (huge place, don’t you know?) but it will be filmed for a future Netflix music special.

And of course, there’s the upcoming Netflix series The Politician, by Ryan Murphy, which he stars in alongside Jessica Lange, Gwenyth Paltrow, and his Dear Evan Hansen co-star Laura Dreyfuss.

First Look At New Netflix Series ‘The Politician’ Starring Ben Platt

Check out the latest from producer Ryan Murphy, who gave us Glee, American Horror Story, and Pose - the new original comedy series, The Politician.
Ben Platt in The Politician

Check out the latest from producer Ryan Murphy, who gave us Glee, American Horror Story, and Pose – the new original comedy series, The Politician.

Payton Hobart, played by Tony Award winner Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen), is a wealthy student from Santa Barbara, California, who’s known since age seven that he’s going to be the President of the United States.

But before he can get to the White House, he’ll have to navigate the most treacherous political landscape of all: Saint Sebastian High School.

The longterm plan is: get elected Student Body President, get into Harvard, and no matter what – keep his eye on that Oval Office prize.

But first, Payton will have to outmaneuver his cold-blooded, cunning classmates without sacrificing his own morality and carefully crafted image.

Even his mother, played by Oscar-winner Gywneth Paltrow, admits to Payton, “Your ambition frightens me.”

The sly, satirical dark comedy offers a rare glimpse into just what it takes to make a politician.

The trailer is a fast-paced affair and includes a same-sex kiss for Platt – so don’t blink.

Bette Midler recently announced on Twitter that she and LGBTQ ally Judith Light have also joined the cast.

It’s worth hitting the play button just to see Jessica Lange wonder why calling a gay man a ‘butt-muncher’ would be a scandal: “It’s what gays do – munch butt and celebrate Halloween…”

The Politician premieres on Netflix September 27.

News Round-Up: April 3, 2019

Some news items you might have missed:

• Here’s a t-shirt (modeled by InstaHunk Ramses Principe) that I can totally relate to 😉

• The governor of Utah has signed into law the state’s new, tougher hate crimes law with stricter punishments for those who commit crimes specifically due to bias. Yes – Utah!

• Even though Netflix cancelled the terrific One Day at a Time reboot, the streaming giant may be standing in the show’s way of finding a new home.

• Starting out at a bus stop as young boys, James Corden and Tony Award winner Ben Platt tell the story of a life-long friendship using 9 different sets and 12 carefully curated songs all captured in one take.

• Investigators on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team say the four page letter by Attorney General William Barr didn’t adequately portray the findings of their investigation.

Stoning gays to death officially became the law of the land in Brunei today. Even Ellen DeGeneres has joined the boycott of hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei.

• Donald Trump’s choices for ambassadorships has been, interesting, to say the least. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates — a wealthy real estate developer with no diplomatic experience. Ambassador to Morocco? A well-heeled car dealer. For Iceland? While well-traveled, the nominee had never even been to the Nordic country.

• The brilliant satirist, Randy Rainbow, offers his parody of the Disney classic, “Cruella DeVille,” with a nod to our current clueless Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Out Music: Ben Platt ‘Temporary Love’

Grammy and Tony Award winner Ben Platt releases his fourth music video, “Temporary Love,” from his upcoming solo debut album, Sing To Me Instead.
Ben Platt in ‘Temporary Love’

Grammy and Tony Award winner Ben Platt releases his fourth music video, “Temporary Love,” from his upcoming solo debut album, Sing To Me Instead.

The first two singles, “Bad Habit” and “Ease My Mind,” featured out actor Charlie Carver as his love interest in days gone by. With the release of the second track, Platt publicly came out as gay via People Magazine.

The third video, “Grow As We Go,” featured dancers Rudy Abreu and Effie Tutko to spectacular effect as, again, Platt seemed to be looking back at lost loves.

“Temporary Love” finds the 25-year-old reassuring a partner that their relationship is NOT temporary, but here to last.

This is not a temporary love
Now your heart is in my hands, I won’t give it up
This is not a temporary love

The music video, directed by frequent collaborator Nick Lieberman, follows the soulful singer wandering through an old, abandoned house while flashes of couples of all types – gay, lesbian, straight, older, younger – flash across the screen.

As in “Ease My Mind,” Platt pairs his powerful voice with a gospel-tinged chorus, providing a comfortable sweet spot for his vulnerable, evocative vocals.

Platt is scheduled to perform the new single March 14 on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Sing To Me Instead drops March 29, and Platt has announced a dozen concerts dates kicking off in Chicago, May 3, to support the album release.

Ben Platt Pulls The Listener In With Poignant “Grow As We Go”

Tony Award winner Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) releases “Grow As We Go” today, the third track from his upcoming debut solo album, Sing to Me Instead.
Ben Platt ‘Grow As We Go’ (screen capture)

Emmy/Grammy/Tony Award winner Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) releases “Grow As We Go” today, the third track from his upcoming debut solo album, Sing to Me Instead.

The music video for the song completes a trilogy begun in his first two music videos, “Bad Habit” and “Ease My Mind,” which featured out actor Charlie Carver (Teen Wolf, The Boys in the Band) as Platt’s love interest.

Platt officially came out with the release of the second video telling PEOPLE, “If I was going to write about people I loved, I wasn’t going to pretend they weren’t men just because I hadn’t talked about that before.”

“I only wanted to take this leap if I was going to present every part of myself,” added the Pitch Perfect star.

Platt has previously shared that the album will chart the course of a romantic relationship from beginning to end, and represent an amalgamation of past loves.

The poignant, acoustic guitar-driven “Grow As We Go” reins in Platt’s signature power vocals to a calm, comforting promise of support. Instead of building to a big, dramatic climax, Platt does the opposite, pulling the listener in with an emotional sotto voce release.

You don’t ever have to leave
If to change is what you need
You can change right next to me
When you’re high I’ll take the lows
You can ebb and I can flow
And we’ll take it slow
And grow as we go

The video, directed by Nick Lieberman, features gorgeous performances by dancers Rudy Abreu and Effie Tutko who live out the highs and lows of connection, often trying to resist their intense attraction only to be drawn back together.

As a whole, the video delivers on an undeniably emotional, affecting level.

Sing to Me Instead drops March 29 with a 12-city tour beginning in Chicago May 3, and winding up in Los Angeles May 24.

Follow Platt on Instagram here for more info.

Watch the music video for “Grow As We Go” below.

Podcast: Ben Platt, Jussie Smollett, Sam Smith, HIV+ Soldiers

In this week’s podcast:

• Chicago police reportedly believe Empire star Jussie Smollett may have staged his alleged homophobic attack

• A federal judge ordered the Pentagon to stop discharging US military service members who are HIV+

• Tony Award-winner Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) released his new music video and came out at the same time

• Sam Smith stands up against body shaming

• The 2019 NAACP Image Awards snubbed the ground-ground-breaking TV series from FX Pose

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report.

Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) Comes Out In PEOPLE Interview, Drops New Music Video “Ease My Mind”

With his debut album set to drop March 29, Ben Platt comes out in an interview with PEOPLE
Ben Platt and Charlie Carver in “Ease My Mind” (screen capture)

For several years now, Broadway’s sensitive ‘golden boy,’ Ben Platt has captured the hearts and minds of theater audiences with his show-stopping performances in The Book of Mormon and his Tony Award-winning turn as the anxious, social misfit “Evan Hansen” in the hit musical, Dear Evan Hansen.

Now, he’s set his sights on conquering the music industry with his first solo album, Sing To Me Instead, set to drop on March 29.

He recently released the first two music videos from the album, both directed by longtime friend Nick Lieberman.

At the end of “Bad Habit,” after spending the bulk of the song missing a former lover, a last second shot revealed that lover to be out actor Charlie Carver (Teen Wolf, Boys in the Band).

At the time, this writer wondered, “Did Ben Platt just come out?”

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Platt does just that as he shares that wanted his audience to hear from the authentic “Ben.”

“If I was going to write about people I loved, I wasn’t going to pretend they weren’t men just because I hadn’t talked about that before,” Platt tells PEOPLE.

As he worked with a team of songwriters to create what he wanted to be a deeply personal statement about who he is, Platt felt the album would be his “first opportunity to represent my relationships and the men that I’ve loved.”

“I only wanted to take this leap if I was going to present every part of myself,” he adds.

Always a storyteller, Platt knew he wanted the collection of songs to have an arc that covered not only his personal relationships but “a grander perspective about bigger questions about family and mortality and things like that.”

Platt released the full music video for the gospel-tinged, “Ease My Mind,” today again incorporating a relationship with Charlie Carver in the story arc.

With the album release date looming on the horizon, Platt is also prepping for a concert tour to support the record.

“As a kid, I wanted to do an original musical and get a Tony, and so the fact that that happened is such a freeing thing,” says Platt. “Now I can sort of go down another path and see where that leads.”

(ht/ PEOPLE)

Ben Platt Drops First Tracks From Debut Album ‘Sing To Me Instead’

Tony Award winner Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) drops the first two tracks from his upcoming debut album, Sing To Me Instead.
Tony Award winner Ben Platt

Tony Award winner Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) drops the first two tracks from his upcoming debut album, Sing To Me Instead.

Platt recently told the Los Angeles Times that the album will be structured with a loose narrative based on his own past relationships.

The first, “Bad Habit,”gives Platt fans exactly what they want: a sensitive and raw reading on missing an ex that builds to pop power ballad levels complete with long-held, over-the-bar notes.

“‘Bad Habit’ is like a prologue, somebody singing retrospectively about a relationship they’ve gotten out of and realizing that they have somewhat of an addiction to this person,” he told the LA Times. “And regardless of understanding they may not be the best or healthiest person for them, there’s just still this hole inside that’s hard to ignore.”

Out actor Charlie Carver (The Boys in the Band, Teen Wolf) has a cameo at the end of the music video   which seems to make this a story of gay love gone bad.

Did Ben Platt just come out?

The second, “Ease My Mind,” is a thoughtful, piano-driven, R&B-style ballad that leads to a rich, gospel-inspired release.

Platt says the track, “harkens to the beginning of that relationship to consider the reasons why it got started in the first place.”

Platt will next lead an all-star cast in the much-anticipated new Netflix series, The Politician, set to premiere laster this year. Platt’s co-stars include Jessica Lange, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Zoey Deutch.

He will also star in the upcoming films Run This Town – premiering at this year’s SXSW Film Festival – and Broken Diamonds.

Check out the new tracks below. Sing To Me Instead will be released March 29.

Ben Platt & Lin-Manuel Miranda Perform “Found/Tonight” At #MarchForOurLives

Tony Award winners Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt performed their collaboration “Found Tonight” during the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC today.

The track combines songs of empowerment from each of their blockbuster Broadway musicals, Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton.

Last week, the duo announced the proceeds from the song would go to ending gun violence.

As they left the stage, they encouraged the young protesters, “We love you. Don’t give up.”

Watch the performance below.

Lin-Manuel Miranda & Ben Platt Team Up For Hamilton-Dear Evan Hansen Mashup: “Found / Tonight”

Two Tony Award winners singing a mashup of two songs from back-to-back Tony Award winning scores and a portion of the proceeds go to help the March for Our Lives initiative.

Nope – can’t find a thing wrong with that.

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt finally team up for a mash-up of Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen.

The new single “Found/Tonight,” arranged by Alex Lacamoire, brings together Hamilton’s “The Story of Tonight” with Dear Evan Hansen‘s “You Will Be Found,” adding up to a truly anthemic theme song for the upcoming nationwide protest against gun violence, March for Our Lives.

USA Today sets up the two songs that become musical magic:

“The Story of Tonight,” from Hamilton, is sung by a young Alexander Hamilton, Marquis de Lafayette, John Laurens and Hercules Mulligan, who share a round of drinks and camaraderie before joining the American Revolution.

“You Will Be Found,” from the 2017 Tony winner for best musical Dear Evan Hansen, is a speech about loneliness and friendship intended to keep alive the memory of a high school pal who committed suicide.

And here’s how it comes together:

Even when the dark comes crashing through, when you need a friend to carry you,
When you’re broken on the ground, you will be found
So let the sun come streaming in cause you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again,
If you only look around, you will be found

And when our children tell their story, they’ll tell the story of tonight
No matter what they tell you tomorrow there’ll be more of us
Telling the story of tonight 

Bonus points for Platt getting to sing the word “tonight” as he’s publicly campaigning to play “Tony” in the upcoming movie remake of West Side Story.

Watch below. Click here to listen on Spotify or download from iTunes.

One of the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where last month’s devastating gun massacre left 17 dead, clearly got the feels intended as he promoted the song on Twitter: