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Jonathan Groff

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Title: Jonathan Groff  
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Subject: Frozen (2013 film), New York (Glee), Saturday Night Glee-ver, Dream On (Glee), Lea Michele
Collection: 1985 Births, 21St-Century American Male Actors, 21St-Century American Singers, American Male Film Actors, American Male Musical Theatre Actors, American Male Soap Opera Actors, American Male Television Actors, American Male Voice Actors, American Tenors, Gay Actors, Gay Musicians, Lgbt Entertainers from the United States, Lgbt Musicians from the United States, Lgbt People from Pennsylvania, Lgbt Singers, Living People, Male Actors from Pennsylvania, People from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Skin Cancer Survivors
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Jonathan Groff

Born Jonathan Drew Groff
(1985-03-26) March 26, 1985
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Occupation Actor, singer
Years active 2002–present

Jonathan Drew Groff (born March 26, 1985) is an American actor and singer. At the age of 22, Groff received a Tony Award nomination for his performance as Melchior Gabor in the Broadway rock musical Spring Awakening. He also portrayed the role of Claude in the critically acclaimed revival of Hair. Regularly seen on the off-Broadway stage, Groff has won an Obie Award for starring in two of Craig Lucas's plays, Prayer for My Enemy and The Singing Forrest. He made his West End debut in the revival of the play Deathtrap opposite Simon Russell Beale. He also starred in the two-man play Red alongside Alfred Molina.

In 2013, Groff starred in the first-ever screen adaptation of author David Sedaris's work, C.O.G., in which he portrayed a character based on Sedaris himself. In the same year, he voiced mountain man Kristoff in Disney's Academy Award-winning feature film Frozen, the highest-grossing animated film of all time and fifth highest-grossing film of all time. On television, Groff portrayed the recurring role of Jesse St. James in the Fox series Glee, and as of 2014, he stars as Patrick Murray in the HBO series Looking.

Early life

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, and he's a first cousin of singer James Wolpert,[1] a semifinalist on the fifth season of The Voice.

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."[2]

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 these college loans" and decided to move to New York instead.[3]

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 and Ugly in Honk!).[4][5]


Groff earned his Actors' Equity Association card in 2005, doing the musical Fame at the North Shore Music Theatre. In the same year, he did his Broadway debut as an understudy and swing 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.[6] 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[7] through May 18, 2008. He also played the same role in the original Off Broadway production earlier during the summer of 2006.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12] 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").[13] 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.[14][15]

In August 2010, he made his

Groff played Ken in the Center Theatre Group's production of the Tony Award winning play Red, alongside Alfred Molina reprising

. Boss TV series Starz 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 Saturday Night Glee-ver in Glee Despite leaving the show for the first part of its third season, Groff returned to [17]

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