Jonathan Drew Groff (born March 26, 1985) is an American actor and singer. He originated the lead role of Melchior Gabor in the award winning Broadway rock musical Spring Awakening, for which he earned a Tony Award nomination in 2007. He later portrayed Claude in the 2008 Off-Broadway revival of Hair and received critical acclaim for his role in the West End revival of Deathtrap in 2010.
He regularly appears on the Off-Broadway stage and has earned an Obie Award for starring in two of Craig Lucas’ plays, Prayer for My Enemy and The Singing Forrest. He is also known for his previously recurring role as Jesse St. James on the FOX series Glee. More recently, Groff starred in the first-ever screen adaptation of author David Sedaris’ work, C.O.G., in which he portrayed a character based on Sedaris himself. He also voiced Kristoff in Disney’s feature film Frozen, and is the star of the HBO series, Looking.
Groff was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to a Methodist mother – Julie, a physical education teacher – and a Mennonite father – Jim, a harness horse trainer and driver. He has one older brother, David. 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. My parents were athletes in high school; my mom and my dad were the stars of the basketball team, but they never pushed my brother and me to be anything we didn’t want to be.” He graduated from Conestoga Valley High School in 2003 and was going to attend Carnegie Mellon University until he booked his first professional job in New York City, the Broadway musical In My Life.
Groff booked his first acting job in 2005 as a swing/dance captain for the musical In My Life by Joseph Brooks. The musical was about a boy with Tourette’s Syndrome, and Groff understudied the lead part. He never performed in the role. Groff originated the role of Melchior Gabor in the Broadway production of Spring Awakening. He played the role from the musical’s Broadway debut on December 10, 2006 through May 18, 2008. He also played the same role in the original Off Broadway production earlier during the summer of 2006. Groff also was in the National Tour of The Sound of Music as Rolf, and appeared in Fame at the North Shore Music Theater in Beverly, Massachusetts. In April 2007, he was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his role in Spring Awakening. In May 2007, he was nominated for the Tony Award as Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance, with the award eventually going to David Hyde Pierce.
He played the recurring role of Henry Mackler on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live. His storyline about a school shooting on the long-running soap opera was nixed due to the Virginia Tech shooting in April 2007, and he is no longer on the show. Before performing on the Broadway stage, Jonathan was a performer at The Ephrata Performing Arts Center in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. There he portrayed such characters as Edgar in Bat Boy: The Musical and Ugly in Honk!. Groff played as Claude in the Shakespeare in the Park production of Hair, which ran July 22 through August 31, 2008. He also appeared as Michael Lang in Ang Lee’s major motion picture, Taking Woodstock. Groff has appeared in the Off-Broadway production of Prayer for My Enemy by Craig Lucas (Prelude to a Kiss, Light in the Piazza) about the consequences the Iraq war has had on an American family. In August 2009, Groff performed The Bacchae as Dionysus as a part of the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park.
He was guest starring on Glee as Jesse St. James, the male lead of rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline for eight of the back nine episodes. He also serves as a love interest for his former Spring Awakening co-star Lea Michele’s character, Rachel Berry. Newsweek critic Ramin Satoodeh stated that Groff was unconvincing in the role of the straight Jesse (“he seems more like your average theater queen, a better romantic match for Kurt than Rachel”). Groff’s performance was defended by Glee creator Ryan Murphy and guest star Kristin Chenoweth, both of whom described Satoodeh’s essay as homophobic; it was also condemned by GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios.
In August 2010, he made his West End debut in Deathtrap, at the Noël Coward Theatre in a production directed by Matthew Warchus. Groff returned to Glee at the end of the second season, where his character tried to ask Rachel for forgiveness. He returned to the show on May 10 to finish out the remainder of the second season. Despite leaving the show for the first part of its third season, Groff returned to Glee in Saturday Night Glee-ver as the coach of his former Glee club, Vocal Adrenaline. From August to October 2012, Groff appeared as Ian Todd in the second and final season of the Starz TV series Boss.
Groff played Ken in the Center Theatre Group’s production of the Tony Award winning play Red, alongside Alfred Molina reprising his role as painter Mark Rothko. The show ran from August 1 to September 9, 2012. 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, like all that take place on LATW, were recorded to be broadcast on radio.
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 movie premiered November 19, 2013, and went into wide theatrical release on November 27. Groff also stars as Patrick, a gay video-game developer, in HBO’s comedy Looking, which, following an eight-episode initial order in 2013, was renewed for a second season. In April 2013, Groff joined another HBO production, playing Craig in the TV movie adaptation of the Larry Kramer play, The Normal Heart.
In October 2009, Groff told Broadway.com during the National Equality March in Washington, D.C., that he is “gay and proud”. Since 2010, Groff was in a relationship with actor Zachary Quinto. In September 2012, Quinto confirmed that he and Groff were in a relationship. In July 2013, it was reported that the two had broken up.
Groff is a first cousin of singer James Wolpert, a semifinalist on the fifth season of The Voice.
|2005||Fame||Nick Piazza||North Shore Music Theatre
May 31 – June 19, 2005
|2005||In My Life||Dance Captain / Swing / Understudy||Music Box Theatre
October 20 – December 11, 2005
|2006||Spring Awakening||Melchior Gabor||Atlantic Theatre Company
May 19 – August 5, 2006
|2006||Spring Awakening||Melchior Gabor||Eugene O’Neill Theatre
December 10, 2006 – May 18, 2008
|2007||Hair (40th anniversary concert)||Claude Hooper Bukowski||Delacorte Theatre
September 22 – 24, 2007
|2008||Hair||Claude Hooper Bukowski||Delacorte Theatre
July 22 – August 16, 2008
|2008||Prayer for My Enemy||Billy Noone||Playwrights Horizons
November 14 – December 21, 2008
|2009||The Singing Forest||Gray Korankyi / Walter Rieman||The Public Theater
April 27 – May 17, 2009
|2009||The Bacchae||Dionysus||Delacorte Theatre
August 11–30, 2009
|2010||Deathtrap||Clifford Anderson||Noël Coward Theatre
August 21, 2010 – January 15, 2011
|2011||The Submission||Danny Larsen||Lucille Lortel Theatre
September 8 – October 22, 2011
|2012||Red||Ken||Mark Taper Forum
August 1 – September 9, 2012
|2013||Red||Ken||L.A. Theatre Works
March 14 – 17, 2013
|2013||The Pirates of Penzance (concert)||Frederic||Delacorte Theatre
June 10, 2013
|2015||How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying||J. Pierrepont Finch||Royal Festival Hall London|
|2015||A New Brain||New York City Center|
|2015-16||Hamilton||King George III||Richard Rodgers Theatre Broadway|
Other works include a national tour of The Sound of Music as Rolf, as well as Ugly in Honk! and Edgar in Bat Boy: The Musical, both at the Ephrata Performing Arts Center.
|2007||One Life to Live||Henry Mackler||Recurring guest star, 11 episodes|
|2010–2012||Glee||Jesse St. James||Recurring guest star, 12 episodes|
|2012||The Good Wife||Jimmy Fellner||Episode: “Live from Damascus”|
|2012||Boss||Ian Todd||Series regular, 10 episodes|
|2014||Looking||Patrick Murray||Series lead, 8 episodes|
|2014||The Normal Heart||Craig Donner||TV movie|
|2009||Taking Woodstock||Michael Lang|
|2010||Conspirator, TheThe Conspirator||Louis Weichmann|
- Spring Awakening (Original Broadway Cast Recording) (2006)
- Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna (2010)
- Glee: The Music, Volume 3 Showstoppers (2010)
- Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals (2010)
- Glee: The Music, The Complete Season One (2010)
- Glee: The Music, Volume 6 (2011)
- Frozen (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2013)
- Hamilton (Original Broadway cast Recording) (2015)
- A New Brain (New York Concert Recording) (2015)
- Dreaming Wide Awake: The Music of Scott Alan (2007) as featured soloist on the track “Now”
- Broadway Nights by Seth Rudetsky (2008) as Mason
Awards and Nominations
|2007||Tony Award||Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical||Spring Awakening||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Nominated|
|Drama League Award||Distinguished Performance||Nominated|
|Theatre World Award||Won|
|Broadway.com Audience Choice Award||Favorite Leading Actor in a Broadway Musical||Won|
|Favorite Male Breakthrough Performance||Won|
|Favorite Onstage Pair (shared with Lea Michele)||Won|
|Favorite Ensemble Cast||Won|
|BroadwayWorld.com Theatre Fans’ Choice Awards||Best Leading Actor in a Musical||Nominated|
|2008||Grammy Award||Best Musical Show Album (featured soloist)||Won|
|2009||Obie Award||Performance||Prayer for My Enemy
The Singing Forest
|2011||WhatsOnStage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Award||London Newcomer of the Year||Deathtrap||Won|
|2012||BroadwayWorld.com Los Angeles Award||Best Leading Actor in a Play (Touring Production)||Red||Nominated|
- Hoof Beats Magazine, July 2007: “Profile Jim and Jonathan Groff
- “Actor Jonathan Groff Goes From “Glee” to “Boss””. Details. August 15, 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
- Jonathan Groff performs at a benifit concert for the Ephrata Performing Arts Center
- Jonathan Groff at the Internet Broadway Database
- Lortel Archives—The Internet Off-Broadway Database
- The American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards – Official Website
- One Life To Live’ Pulls Hostage Plot After Virginia Tech Killings
- “Playwrights Horizons”. Playwrights Horizons. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
- Ross, Dalton (October 19, 2009). “‘Glee’ Exclusive: ‘Spring Awakening’ star Jonathan Groff to join the show | Inside TV | EW.com”. Hollywoodinsider.ew.com. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
- Satoodeh, Ramin (April 26, 2010). “Straight Jacket”. Newsweek. Retrieved 2010-05-18.
- EW staff (May 11, 2010). “‘Glee’ creator Ryan Murphy pushes for ‘Newsweek’ boycott”. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-05-18.
- Villoreal, Yvonne (May 12, 2010). “Newsweek-gate: GLAAD weighs in”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-05-18.
- Baz Bamigboye (April 16, 2010). “Glee heart-throb Jonathan Groff is to be star in the West End”. The Daily Mail.
- Ward, Kate. “He’s back: Jonathan Groff returning to ‘Glee’!” EW.com, March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
- Jones, Kenneth. “Red, With Alfred Molina and Jonathan Groff, Opens in L.A.” Playbill.com, August 12, 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
- Hetrick, Adam. “Alfred Molina and Jonathan Groff Will Appear in Red for L.A. Theatre Works; Production Will Be Recorded” Playbill.com, February 20, 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
- Goldberg, Lesley. “‘Frozen’: Jonathan Groff from ‘Glee’ voicing hero in Disney’s ‘Snow Queen’ adaptation” EW.com, December 19, 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
- Liu, Meng (November 19, 2013). “Disney’s ‘Frozen’ Premiere Turns L.A. Into a Winter Wonderland”. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (February 26, 2014). “‘Looking’ Renewed for Second Season by HBO”. TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
- Schou, Solvej. “‘Glee’s’ Jonathan Groff to Star in HBO Comedy Pilot (Exclusive)” The Hollywood Reporter, February 8, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
- Goldberg, Lesley. “HBO Greenlights Gay-Themed Dramedy Series” The Hollywood Reporter, May 14, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
- Hibberd, James. “Jonathan Groff to play Taylor Kitsch’s lover in Ryan Murphy film” Entertainment Weekly, April 26, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-26.
- Jensen, Michael (October 19, 2009). “Tony Award Nominee Jonathan Groff has Most Low-key Coming Out Ever.”. AfterElton.com. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
- Strecker, Erin (September 12, 2012). “Zachary Quinto on dating Jonathan Groff: ‘I’m incredibly happy’“, CNN.com. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
- “iTunes – Music – Glee: The Music, The Complete Season One by Glee Cast”. iTunes.com. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
- “iTunes – Music – Dreaming Wide Awake: The Music of Scott Alan by Scott Alan”. iTunes.com. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
- Gans, Andrew. “Audio Version of Rudetsky’s “Broadway Nights,” with Bell, Chenoweth, Groff, Now Available” Playbill.com, July 8, 2008. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- Peak positions for featured singles in the United States:
- “Hello”: “Hot 100: Week of May 01, 2010 (Biggest Jump)”. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. May 1, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- “Like a Virgin”, “Like a Prayer”, and “Total Eclipse of the Heart”: “Glee Album & Song Chart History”. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- “Run Joey Run”: “Hot 100: Week of May 22, 2010 (Biggest Jump)”. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. May 22, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- “Another One Bites the Dust”: “Hot 100: Week of June 19, 2010 (Biggest Jump)”. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. June 19, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
31. Peak positions for featured singles in Australia:
- “Hello”: The ARIA Report: Week Commencing May 10, 2010 (PDF) (1054). Pandora Archive. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
- “Like a Virgin”: “The ARIA Report: Week Commencing May 17, 2010″. Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
- “Like a Prayer” and “Total Eclipse of the Heart”: “Discography Glee Cast”. australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- “Run Joey Run”: “The ARIA Report: Week Commencing May 31, 2010″. Australian Recording Industry Association. May 31, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
32. Peak positions for featured singles in Canada”
- “Highway to Hell”: “Canadian Hot 100: Week of May 01, 2010 (Biggest Jump)”. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. May 1, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- “Like a Virgin”, “Like a Prayer”, and “Total Eclipse of the Heart”: “Glee Album & Song Chart History”. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- “Run Joey Run”: “Canadian Hot 100: Week of May 22, 2010 (Biggest Jump)”. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. May 22, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- “Another One Bites the Dust”: “Canadian Hot 100: Week of June 19, 2010 (Biggest Jump)”. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. June 19, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
33. “Discography Glee Cast”. irish-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
34 “Chart Stats – Glee Cast”. Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2010-02-25.
35. ”Official Singles Chart for the week ending June 19, 2010″. ChartsPlus (Liverpool: UKChartsPlus) (460): 1–4. June 16, 2010.
36. “Rolling In The Deep (Glee Cast Version featuring Jonathan Groff)”. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-05-03.
37. “Rolling in the Deep (Glee Cast Version featuring Jonathan Groff)”. Billboard.com. Retrieved 2011-05-19.
38. “Jonathan Groff Says Hello To WEBstaurant Store Fans”. YouTube. February 8, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
40. “Rub VODKA on it”. Cocktail Deeva. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
- Jonathan Groff at the Internet Broadway Database
- Jonathan Groff at the Internet Movie Database
- Jonathan Groff at AllMusic
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