Will Swenson (actor)

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Will Swenson
Will Swenson.jpg
Swenson in July 2011
Born William Swenson
(1973-10-26) October 26, 1973 (age 41)
Provo, Utah, U.S.
Occupation Actor, screenwriter, film director, film producer
Spouse(s) Amy Westerby (divorced)
Audra McDonald (m. 2012)
Children 2 (with Westerby)

William "Will" Swenson (born October 26, 1973) is an American actor, writer and film director best known for his work in musical theatre. He also has developed a film career, primarily in Mormon cinema.


Swenson was born in Provo, Utah. He is best known among Mormons for his role as Jonathan Jordan in the LDS Cinema movie The Singles Ward (2002) and its sequel, The Singles 2nd Ward (2007).[1] Swenson co-wrote, directed and acted in the LDS Cinema feature film, Sons of Provo (2004).

A grandson of Nathan and Ruth Hale, a playwright and actress,[2] Will Swenson was born in Utah and moved around a lot throughout the United States during his childhood. He attended Brigham Young University and later served as a Mormon missionary in Ecuador. However, he is no longer a practicing Mormon.[3]

Swenson appeared on Broadway in Lestat, 110 in the Shade and Brooklyn. Off-Broadway, he played the role of Stacee Jaxx in the musical Rock of Ages but did not go on to perform the role on Broadway because he was offered the starring role of Berger in the Broadway revival of Hair. He played Sir Sagramore in Camelot at Lincoln Center and Chris in the second national tour of Miss Saigon.

He played the role of Berger in the Off-Broadway 40th Anniversary Concert of Hair opposite Karen Olivo. In 2008, Swenson was again cast as Berger in The Public Theater's revival of the show in Central Park. He went on to reprise the role when the production moved to Broadway in March 2009.[4] He received critical acclaim for his performance on Broadway and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical. He played the role of Berger again in the West End revival of Hair which began performances on April 1, 2010,[5] and ended his limited engagement on May 29, 2010.[6] Audra McDonald and Swenson reprised their roles in 110 in the Shade in the Hale Center Theater Orem's production.

On October 8, 2009, Swenson appeared as in the guest cameo slot for the extension performance of Katie Thompson's R.R.R.E.D.: A Secret Musical, as part of the 2009 New York Musical Theatre Festival. In 2010, Swenson played the lead role of "Tick"/"Mitzi" in the pre-Broadway North American company of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert in Toronto, Canada.[7]

In October 2013, Swenson was cast as Inspector Javert in the 2014 Broadway revival of Les Misérables, which opened in March 2014 at New York's Imperial Theatre, where the musical had previously run for 13 years.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Swenson met his former wife, Amy (née Westerby) while they were both in one of his grandmother's comedies, Hopsville Holiday. The couple has two young sons, Bridger and Sawyer, but have since divorced. Swenson and Audra McDonald became engaged in January 2012[9] and were married on October 6, 2012. This is the second marriage for each which will include a blended family of three children from previous marriages.[10]



  1. ^ "The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shepherd". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  2. ^ Milzoff, Rebecca. "Hair's Will Swenson on Pantsless Acting and His Former Career in LDS Cinema". Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  3. ^ "Famous Mormons". Truman Library. Retrieved 2008-05-09. I don't practice Mormonism at all anymore, but I grew up in a Mormon family. 
  4. ^ "Hair, with Swenson, Creel, Allen, Levy, Case and Sheik, Returns to Broadway March 6". Playbill.com. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  5. ^ Shenton, Mark. "Broadway's Hair to Let It All Hang Out at West End's Gielgud Theatre", playbill.com, November 12, 2009
  6. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "EXCLUSIVE: Burkhardt to Succeed Swenson in London's Hair", playbill.com, May 21, 2010
  7. ^ "Swenson & Sheldon Lead Pre-Broadway PRISCILLA in Toronto; Opens Oct. 26". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  8. ^ "Utah’s Will Swenson lands role in ‘Les Miz’ revival". sltrib.com. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  9. ^ Hetrick, Adam.Audra McDonald and Will Swenson Are Engaged" playbill.com, January 3, 2012
  10. ^ [1] Broadway stars Audra McDonald, Will Swenson wed

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