Jonathan Groff

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Jonathan Groff
Jonathan Groff at Outfest 2013.jpg
Groff at 2013 Outfest in Los Angeles, U.S.
Born Jonathan Drew Groff
(1985-03-26) March 26, 1985 (age 31)
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater Conestoga Valley High School
  • Actor
  • singer
Years active 2005–present

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.

Groff is also known for his many television appearances, starring as Ian Todd in the Starz political drama Boss and as Patrick Murray in the HBO comedy-drama series Looking. He also received critical acclaim for his recurring role of Jesse St. James in the Fox musical-comedy series Glee. He also voiced the role of Kristoff in Walt Disney Animation Studios' 2013 film Frozen.

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Groff was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the son of Julie (née Witmer), a physical education teacher, and Jim Groff, a harness horse trainer and driver. He has one older brother, David, and is a first cousin of singer James Wolpert,[1] Groff was raised in Ronks, Pennsylvania.[2] His 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. 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."[3]

He 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 realized he would "never be able to pay off [his] college loans" and decided to move to New York City instead.[4] 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 (in Bat Boy: The Musical and Honk!).[5]

November 2006


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.[6] 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 Lea Michele. He had previously played the role in the original Off-Broadway production earlier in the summer of 2006.[7] 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 11 episodes.[8] 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.

In 2010, he guest-starred in eight episodes of the Fox musical comedy-drama Glee as Jesse St. James.[9] Groff continued to guest star as the character in subsequent seasons, including the final episode of the series.[10] In August 2010, he made his West End debut in Deathtrap, at the Noël Coward Theatre, directed by Matthew Warchus.[11]

From August to October 2012, Groff appeared as Ian Todd in the second and final season of the Starz series Boss.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15][16] Following the film's massive commercial success and its ranking as the highest-grossing animated film of all time, the sixth 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.[17]

September 2010

Groff starred as Patrick Murray, a gay video game developer, in HBO's comedy-drama series Looking.[18][19] On March 23, 2015, HBO cancelled Looking after its second season but greenlit a television film to conclude the story.[20] In April 2013, Groff joined another HBO production, playing Craig Donner in the film adaptation of Larry Kramer's play The Normal Heart.[21] 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.[22]

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.[23] 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.[24] He reprised the role in the Broadway production, which started performances July 13, 2015.[25] 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.

In March 2016, it was reported that Groff would star in the Netflix series Mindhunter, executive produced by David Fincher and Charlize Theron. He is set to portray FBI agent Holden Ford, a serial killer investigator in the Behavioral Science Unit.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Groff had skin cancer in his early 20s.[27]

Groff publicly came out as gay in October 2009 during the National Equality March in Washington.[28] He dated actor Gavin Creel from 2009 to 2010.[29] From 2010 through 2013, Groff was in a relationship with actor Zachary Quinto.[29][30]

An advocate for the LGBT community, Groff was listed in Out Magazine's OUT100 as one of the 100 most compelling LGBT people in 2013 and again in 2014, this time alongside Murray Bartlett and Russell Tovey, his fellow out co-stars in Looking.[31][32] Also in 2014, he was named a Grand Marshal of the New York City Pride Parade, alongside actress Laverne Cox and National LGBTQ Task Force executive director Rea Carey.[33]

In April 2015, Groff was honored by the Point Foundation with the Point Horizon Award, which "recognizes a young trailblazer who has taken a leadership role as an advocate of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community."[34] 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."[35]

Acting roles[edit]


Cast recordings
Other recordings
Featured singles
Year Title Peak chart positions Album
2010 "Highway to Hell" 88 89 Glee: The Music, The Complete Season One
"Run Joey Run" 61 64 45 12 27
"Another One Bites the Dust" 79 53 41 101
"Bohemian Rhapsody"
"Hello" 35 79 37 31 35 Glee: The Music, Volume 3 Showstoppers
"Total Eclipse of the Heart" 16 28 17 3 9
"Like a Virgin" 87 99 83 47 58 Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna
"Like a Prayer" 27 28 27 2 16
2011 "Rolling in the Deep" 29 49 Glee: The Music, Volume 6
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in the region

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2007 Tony Award Best 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 Outstanding Debut Performance Won Audience Choice Award Favorite Leading Actor in a Broadway Musical Won
Favorite Male Breakthrough Performance Won
Favorite Onstage Pair (shared with Lea Michele) Won Theatre Fans' Choice Award Best Leading Actor in a Musical Nominated
2009 Obie Award Outstanding Performance Prayer for My EnemyThe Singing Forest Won
2011 Theatregoers' Choice Award London Newcomer of the Year Deathtrap Won
2012 Los Angeles Award Best Leading Actor in a Play (Touring Production) Red Nominated
2013 Behind the Voice Actors Award Best Male Lead Vocal Performance in a Feature Film Frozen Nominated
2014 Gold Derby TV Award Best Comedy Actor Looking Nominated
EWwy Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
NewNowNext Award Best New Television Actor Nominated
2015 Gold Derby TV Award Best Comedy Actor Nominated
Point Horizon Award LGBT activism Won
Bayard Rustin Award Won
2016 Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Musical Hamilton Nominated
Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Won Audience Choice Award Favorite Featured Actor in a Musical Won
Favorite Funny Performance Won
Favorite Diva Performance Won
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Duo or Group Nominated


  1. ^ Hummel, Cindy (January 13, 2014). "James Wolpert still calls Strasburg home". LancasterOnline. 
  2. ^ Adams, Sean (January 27, 2015). "Actor Jonathan Groff on 'Frozen,' 'Glee,' HBO and growing up in Lancaster County". Penn Live. Retrieved August 7, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Profile Jim and Jonathan Groff" (PDF). Hoof Beats Magazine. July 2007. 
  4. ^ "Actor Jonathan Groff Goes From "Glee" to "Boss"". August 15, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  5. ^ Ritzel, Rebecca J. (December 19, 2006). "Broadway 'Awakening'". Lancaster Online. Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  6. ^ Jonathan Groff. YouTube. April 19, 2007. 
  7. ^ Simonson, Robert (July 20, 2006). "Off-Broadway Hit Spring Awakening to Awake on Broadway". 
  8. ^ "'One Life To Live' Pulls Hostage Plot After Virginia Tech Killings". Access Hollywood. April 24, 2007. 
  9. ^ Ross, Dalton (October 19, 2009). "'Glee' Exclusive: 'Spring Awakening' star Jonathan Groff to join the show". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  10. ^ Ward, Kate (March 30, 2011). "He's back: Jonathan Groff returning to 'Glee'!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 10, 2011. 
  11. ^ Bamigboye, Baz (April 16, 2010). "Glee heart-throb Jonathan Groff is to be star in the West End". The Daily Mail. 
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 6, 2012). "Sanaa Lathan & Jonathan Groff Join Starz's 'Boss' As New Regulars For Second Season". 
  13. ^ Jones, Kenneth (August 12, 2012). "Red, With Alfred Molina and Jonathan Groff, Opens in L.A.". Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  14. ^ Hetrick, Adam (February 20, 2012). "Alfred Molina and Jonathan Groff Will Appear in Red for L.A. Theatre Works; Production Will Be Recorded". Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  15. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (December 19, 2012). "'Frozen': Jonathan Groff from 'Glee' voicing hero in Disney's 'Snow Queen' adaptation". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  16. ^ Liu, Meng (November 19, 2013). "Disney's 'Frozen' Premiere Turns L.A. Into a Winter Wonderland". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  17. ^ Graser, Marc (December 3, 2014). "'Frozen Fever' Short to Debut in Front of Disney's 'Cinderella'". Variety. Retrieved December 3, 2014. 
  18. ^ Schou, Solvej (February 8, 2013). "'Glee's' Jonathan Groff to Star in HBO Comedy Pilot (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 8, 2013. 
  19. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (May 14, 2013). "HBO Greenlights Gay-Themed Dramedy Series". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  20. ^ Ausiello, Michael (March 25, 2015). "Looking Cancelled at HBO – But Patrick's Story Isn't Over Yet". TVLine. 
  21. ^ Hibberd, James (April 26, 2013). "Jonathan Groff to play Taylor Kitsch's lover in Ryan Murphy film". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 26, 2013. 
  22. ^ Shenton, Mark (March 13, 2015). "Jonathan Groff To Star in London Concert of How to Succeed". Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  23. ^ Gans, Andrew (December 15, 2014). "Ellen Greene in Little Shop, Jonathan Groff in New Brain and Sutton Foster in Wild Party Set for Encores! Off-Center Season". Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  24. ^ Hetrick, Adam (February 25, 2015). "Spring Awakening Star Is New King of Broadway-Bound Hamilton". Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  25. ^ Lloyd Webber, Imogen (June 15, 2015). "Jonathan Groff Will Reign Over Broadway as King George III in Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton; Complete Cast Set". Retrieved June 18, 2015. 
  26. ^ Ausiello, Michael (March 7, 2016). "Jonathan Groff Joins David Fincher's New Netflix Series Mindhunter". TVLine. 
  27. ^ Dulin, Dann (November 12, 2015). "Evolved Encounter: Jonathan Groff Mixes Reel Life with Real Life & Looks to the Beginning of the Epidemic for Wisdom". A&U Magazine. Retrieved November 12, 2015. 
  28. ^ Jensen, Michael (October 19, 2009). "Tony Award Nominee Jonathan Groff has Most Low-key Coming Out Ever.". Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  29. ^ a b Fallon, Kevin (July 20, 2016). "How 'Looking' Helped Jonathan Groff Learn to Like Being Gay". The Daily Beast. IAC. Retrieved January 8, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Jonathan Groff and Zachary Quinto end yearlong romance". United Press International. Retrieved January 24, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Out100: Jonathan Groff". November 11, 2013. Retrieved May 8, 2015. 
  32. ^ Krochmal, Shana Naomi (November 4, 2015). "OUT100: Jonathan Groff & Murray Bartlett & Russell Tovey of Looking". Retrieved May 8, 2015. 
  33. ^ Nichols, JamesMichael (April 22, 2014). "Laverne Cox, Jonathan Groff And Rea Carey Named 2014 NYC Pride Grand Marshals". The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 8, 2015. 
  34. ^ Lee, Ashley (March 11, 2015). "Looking Star Jonathan Groff to Be Honored by Point Foundation (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 8, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Equality PA Presents The Bayard Rustin Award & The Pioneering Advocacy Award to leaders in the LGBT Community". Equality Pennsylvania. Retrieved December 6, 2015. 
  36. ^ "iTunes - Music - Dreaming Wide Awake: The Music of Scott Alan by Scott Alan". Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  37. ^ Gioia, Michael (August 24, 2015). "Audio Exclusive! Jonathan Groff Sings Inspirational New Song About Starting Anew". Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  38. ^ Gans, Andrew (July 8, 2008). "Audio Version of Rudetsky's "Broadway Nights," with Bell, Chenoweth, Groff, Now Available". Retrieved March 11, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Red – Audiobooks and Plays Featuring Stars of Stage and Screen". Retrieved September 22, 2015. 
  40. ^ Various – Frozen Fever
  41. ^ Peak positions for featured singles in the United States:
  42. ^ Peak positions for featured singles in Australia:
  43. ^ Peak positions for featured singles in Canada"
  44. ^ "Discography Glee Cast". Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  45. ^ "Chart Stats – Glee Cast". Chart Stats. Retrieved February 25, 2010. 

External links[edit]