Jonathan Groff

Last updated

Jonathan Groff
Jonathan Groff at Outfest 2013.jpg
Groff at Outfest in 2013
Born
Jonathan Drew Groff

(1985-03-26) March 26, 1985 (age 35)
NationalityAmerican
Education Conestoga Valley High School
Occupation
  • Actor
  • producer
  • singer
Years active2002–present
Signature
Jonathan Groff signature.svg

Jonathan Drew Groff (born March 26, 1985) is an American actor and singer. Groff rose to prominence in 2006 for his performance in the lead role of Melchior Gabor in the original Broadway production of Spring Awakening , for which he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. He returned to Broadway in 2015 to play the role of King George III in Hamilton , a performance for which he earned a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. He also appeared on the cast recording, which won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

Contents

Groff is also known for his television appearances, such as Ian Todd in the Starz political drama Boss ; lead-character Patrick Murray in the HBO comedy-drama series Looking , and its subsequent series finale television film, Looking: The Movie ; and the recurring role of Jesse St. James in the Fox musical-comedy series Glee . He voiced the role of Kristoff in Walt Disney Animation Studios' films Frozen and Frozen II . Since 2017, Groff has starred as FBI Special Agent Holden Ford in the Netflix period crime drama Mindhunter .

Early life

Jonathan Drew Groff was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to Julie (née Witmer), a physical education teacher, and Jim Groff, a harness horse trainer. He has an older brother, David. Groff is a first cousin of singer James Wolpert, a semifinalist on the fifth season of The Voice . [1] Groff was raised in Ronks, Pennsylvania. [2] He is of German and Swiss descent. [3]

When he was three years old, Groff fell in love with Julie Andrews' performance as Mary Poppins, watching a video of the movie over and over, and dressing up as the character for Halloween in a family home movie in which he also attempted to sing. [4]

Groff's father's family is Mennonite; of his upbringing, he has said: "My mother's side of the family is Methodist, which is how I was raised. It was conservative in that I had strong values – sitting down and eating with the family every day, listening to authority and going to church every week and having perfect attendance at Sunday school. But at the same time, my parents always encouraged my brother and me to be happy with what we were doing. ...they never pushed my brother and me to be anything we didn't want to be." [5]

Groff graduated from Conestoga Valley High School in 2003 and intended to attend Carnegie Mellon University, but deferred his admission for a year when he was cast as Rolf in a Non-Equity national tour of The Sound of Music . After the tour, Groff decided to move to New York City instead. [6] While still living in Lancaster, Groff performed at the Fulton Opera House in The Sound of Music, Ragtime , Evita , My Fair Lady , Peter Pan , The Pirates of Penzance , and Rags and The Ephrata Performing Arts Center as Edgar in Bat Boy: The Musical and Ugly in Honk! . [7]

Career

2005-2009

Groff earned his Actors' Equity Association card in 2005, with the musical Fame at the North Shore Music Theatre. That same year, he made his Broadway debut as an understudy for the lead role and a swing for the musical In My Life by Joseph Brooks. [8] Groff originated the role of Melchior Gabor in the Broadway production of the rock musical Spring Awakening . He played the role from its debut on December 10, 2006, through May 18, 2008, when he departed the production with his co-star and best friend Lea Michele. He had previously played the role in the original Off-Broadway production earlier in the summer of 2006. [9] Groff was nominated for a Drama Desk Award and a Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance.

He played the recurring role of Henry Mackler on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live . His storyline about a school shooting was cut due to the Virginia Tech shooting in April 2007, and Groff only appeared in eleven episodes. [10] From July 22 through August 31, 2008, Groff played as Claude in the Shakespeare in the Park production of Hair . He also appeared as Michael Lang in Ang Lee's comedy-drama film Taking Woodstock . Groff next appeared in the off-Broadway production of the play Prayer for My Enemy by Craig Lucas. In August 2009, Groff performed in The Bacchae as Dionysus, as a part of the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park.

2010-2015: Glee, Frozen and Hamilton

In 2010, he guest-starred in eight episodes of the Fox musical comedy-drama Glee as Jesse St. James alongside Lea Michele. [11] Groff continued to guest-star as the character in subsequent seasons, including the final episode of the series. [12] In August 2010, he made his West End debut in Deathtrap , at the Noël Coward Theatre, directed by Matthew Warchus.[ citation needed ]

From August to October 2012, Groff appeared as Ian Todd in the second and final season of the Starz series Boss . [13] Groff then portrayed Ken in the Center Theatre Group's production of the play Red , alongside Alfred Molina. The show ran from August 1 through September 9, 2012. [14] In March 2013, Groff and Molina reprised their roles for six more performances of the play, this time in the L.A. Theatre Works. These performances were recorded for broadcast on radio. [15]

In 2013, Groff voiced one of the lead roles in Disney's animated feature Frozen . His character, Kristoff, is a rugged mountain man and ice trader. The film premiered on November 19, 2013. [16] [17] Following the film's massive commercial success and its ranking as the highest-grossing animated film of all time, the fifteenth highest-grossing film of all time, and the highest-grossing film of 2013, Groff reprised his role in the short film sequel Frozen Fever , which premiered on March 13, 2015. [18]

Groff starred as Patrick Murray, a gay video game developer, in HBO's comedy-drama series Looking . [19] [20] On March 23, 2015, HBO cancelled Looking after its second season but greenlit a television film to conclude the story. [21] In April 2013, Groff joined another HBO production, playing Craig Donner in the film adaptation of Larry Kramer's play The Normal Heart . [22] He returned to the London stage on May 19, 2015, to star in a one-night-only concert of the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying , at the Royal Festival Hall. [23]

Groff starred in a production of the musical A New Brain , presented as part of the New York City Center's Encores! Off-Center staged concert series. The show was directed by James Lapine and took place from June 24 through June 27, 2015. [24] On March 3, 2015, he joined the cast of the musical Hamilton , replacing Brian d'Arcy James in the role of King George III. He held the role for the remainder of the show's off-Broadway production, through May 3, 2015. [25] He reprised the role in the Broadway production, which started performances July 13, 2015. [26] Groff, along with the rest of the cast, won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album for appearing as a featured performer on the original Broadway cast recording. He was also nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.

2016-present: Mindhunter and Frozen II

In March 2016, it was reported that Groff would star in the Netflix series Mindhunter , executive produced by David Fincher and Charlize Theron. The series was released in October 2017, and he portrays Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Holden Ford, a serial killer investigator in the Behavioral Science Unit. [27] Groff also starred in the second season of the series, which premiered on August 16, 2019. [28]

In July 2017, Groff starred in the first podcast musical, 36 Questions, which was released in three parts. [29]

In November 2019, Groff reprised his role as Kristoff in Frozen II . He sang a solo song for the movie, titled "Lost in the Woods". The film was released early on Disney+ in March 2020.

Personal life

Groff was diagnosed with skin cancer in his early 20s. [30]

Groff publicly came out as gay during the National Equality March in 2009 [31] and was romantically linked to actor Gavin Creel that same year. [32] From 2010 to 2013, he was in a relationship with actor Zachary Quinto. [33] Since early 2018, he has been dating New Zealand choreographer Corey Baker, whom he met while both were teaching at Christchurch International Musical Theatre Summer School (CIMTSS). [34] [35]

In April 2015, Groff was honored by the Point Foundation with the Point Horizon Award honoring a "trailblazer who has taken a leadership role as an advocate" of LGBTQ communities. [36] In December 2015, he was honored by Equality Pennsylvania with the Bayard Rustin Award, which "recognizes a Pennsylvanian who is continuing the work to ensure that the LGBT community will be visible, accepted, and celebrated in our society." [37]

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
2009 Taking Woodstock Michael Lang
2010Twelve ThirtyJeff
2010 The Conspirator Louis Weichmann
2013 C.O.G. Samuel
2013 Frozen Kristoff (voice)
2014Russian Broadway Shut DownNikolai the Athlete Short film
2014SophieBenShort film
2014 American Sniper Young Vet Mads
2015 Frozen Fever Kristoff (voice)Short film
2017 Olaf's Frozen Adventure Short film
2019 Frozen II
2021 The Matrix 4 Filming

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
2007 One Life to Live Henry Mackler 11 episodes
2008 Pretty/Handsome Patrick FitzpaynePilot
2010–15 Glee Jesse St. James Recurring role; 15 episodes
2012 The Good Wife Jimmy FellnerEpisode: "Live from Damascus"
2012 Boss Ian ToddMain cast; 10 episodes
2014–15 Looking Patrick MurrayLead role; 18 episodes
2014 The Normal Heart Craig Donner Television film
2016 Looking: The Movie Patrick MurrayTelevision film
2016LEGO Frozen Northern Lights Kristoff (voice) Television special
2017–present Mindhunter Holden FordLead role
2018 The Simpsons Actor Playing BartEpisode: "Bart's Not Dead"

Internet

YearTitleRoleNotes
2008The Battery's DownHimself Web series • Episode: "The Big Apple"
2009 Web series • Episode: "The Party's Over"
2015One True Pairing (Season 1)Dennis Web series • Episode: "What's 'Your' Nickname"
2016One True Pairing (Season 2) Web series • 4 episodes
201736 Questions [38] Jase Podcast Musical • Released through Two-Up podcast channel [39]

Video games

YearTitleVoice role
2019 Kingdom Hearts III Kristoff [40]

Stage

YearTitleRoleNotes
2002 Honk! UglyThe Ephrata Performing Arts Center
2004 Bat Boy: The Musical Bat BoyThe Ephrata Performing Arts Center
2005 Fame Nick Piazza North Shore Music Theatre
In My Life UnderstudySwing Music Box TheatreBroadway • Broadway debut
2006 Spring Awakening Melchior Gabor Atlantic Theater CompanyOff-Broadway
2006–08 Eugene O'Neill TheatreBroadway
2007 Hair Claude Hooper Bukowski Delacorte Theater
2008
Prayer for My EnemyBilly Noone Playwrights Horizons • Off-Broadway
2009 The Singing Forest Gray Korankyi • Walter Rieman The Public Theater • Off-Broadway
The Bacchae Dionysus Delacorte Theater
2010–11 Deathtrap Clifford Anderson Noël Coward TheatreWest End London, UK
2011The SubmissionDanny Larsen MCC TheaterOff-Broadway
2012 Red Ken Mark Taper Forum
2013 L.A. Theatre Works
The Pirates of Penzance Frederic Delacorte Theater
2015 How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying J. Pierrepont Finch Royal Festival HallWest End London, UK
Hamilton King George III The Public Theater • Off-Broadway
A New Brain Gordon Michael Schwinn New York City CenterLincoln Center
2015–16HamiltonKing George III Richard Rodgers TheatreBroadway
2017 Hair Claude Hooper Bukowski Jazz at Lincoln CenterLincoln Center
Sondheim on Sondheim Performer Hollywood Bowl
2018The Bobby Darin Story Bobby Darin 92nd Street Y • Off-Broadway
2019–20 Little Shop of Horrors Seymour Krelborn Westside Theatre • Off-Broadway

Discography

Cast recordings
Other recordings
Audiobooks
Featured singles
YearTitlePeak chart positionsAlbum
US
[47]
AUS
[48]
CAN
[49]
IRE
[50]
UK
[51]
2010"Highway to Hell"8889Glee: The Music, The Complete Season One
"Run Joey Run"6164451227
"Another One Bites the Dust"795341101
"Bohemian Rhapsody"
"Hello"3579373135Glee: The Music, Volume 3 Showstoppers
"Total Eclipse of the Heart"16281739
"Like a Virgin"8799834758Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna
"Like a Prayer" 272827216
2011"Rolling in the Deep"2949Glee: The Music, Volume 6
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in the region

Awards and nominations

YearAwardCategoryWorkResult
2007 Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical Spring Awakening Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Nominated
Drama League Award Distinguished PerformanceNominated
Theatre World Award Outstanding Debut PerformanceWon
Broadway.com Audience Choice Award Favorite Leading Actor in a Broadway MusicalWon
Favorite Male Breakthrough PerformanceWon
Favorite Onstage Pair (shared with Lea Michele)Won
Favorite Ensemble Cast (with cast)Won
BroadwayWorld.com Theatre Fans' Choice AwardBest Leading Actor in a MusicalNominated
2009 Obie Award Outstanding PerformancePrayer for My EnemyThe Singing ForestWon
2011 WhatsOnStage.com Theatregoers' Choice Award London Newcomer of the Year Deathtrap Won
2012BroadwayWorld.com Los Angeles AwardBest Leading Actor in a Play (Touring Production) Red Nominated
2013Behind the Voice Actors People's Choice Voice Acting AwardBest Vocal Ensemble in a Feature Film Frozen Won
Behind the Voice Actors Feature Film Voice Acting AwardsBest Vocal Ensemble in a Feature FilmWon
Best Male Lead Vocal Performance in a Feature FilmNominated
2014Gold Derby TV AwardsBest Comedy Actor Looking Nominated
EWwy Award Best Actor in a Comedy SeriesNominated
NewNowNext Award Best New Television ActorWon
2015Gold Derby TV AwardsBest Comedy ActorNominated
Point Horizon Award LGBT activismWon
Bayard Rustin Award Won
CinEuphoria AwardsBest Ensemble Cast – International Competition The Normal Heart Won
2016 Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Musical Hamilton Nominated
Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Won
Broadway.com Audience Choice Award Favorite Featured Actor in a MusicalWon
Favorite Funny PerformanceWon
Favorite Diva PerformanceWon
2017 Out100 Award Entertainer of the Year LGBT activismWon
Satellite Awards Best Actor in a Drama / Genre Series Mindhunter Won
2018 Dorian Awards TV Performance of the Year – ActorNominated
2020 Satellite Awards Best Actor in a Drama / Genre Series Nominated

See also

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