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Evolution Of The Star: Jonathan Groff

Rome was not built in a day. In the same way, Jonathan Groff took time to build his career and took small steps to get where he is now. He involved himself in acting from an early age, and before he got his big break, he acted for small parts in plays. 

He even directed a few of his childhood plays and put up a show at home. He knew his love for acting and took it up as his career and did well on his part.

Life Before Limelight

Life Before Limelight

Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to Julie and Jim Groff, a physical educator and a harness horse trainer, Jonathan Groff is also the first cousin to the singer James Wolpert. Coming from a German background, he was raised in the Methodist faith. 

He was brought up in Amish communities and spent most of his teenage driving around with his Amish neighbors, who were never allowed to drive cars or even use electricity. 

It was early in his childhood when he was introduced to the world of acting and theatre. When Groff was just three, he fell in love with the performance of Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins.  

After that, he, along with his brother, produced many childhood plays at home in their barn, such as The Wizard of Oz, where he played the role of Dorothy. He used to idolize Sutton Foster as a young actor and used to wait by the theatre door to get an autograph from her. 

Back when Jonathan Groff was in middle school and high school, he joined the drama club, and that inspired him to pursue a career in this profession. He also engaged in community theatres in Lancaster. 

When Jonathan Groff was just seventeen, he acted and directed Charlie Brown’s You’re a Good Man for high school theatre festivals. For this, he even won a community award. 

He graduated high school in 2003 from Conestoga Valley High School. He wanted to go to university, but that is when he got a chance to be cast in a non-equity national tour for The Sound of Music as Rolf. So, he delayed his admission for a year. But after that, he chose to get on with his career. 

Beginning Of The Journey: 2005-2009

Beginning Of The Journey

Groff had his fair share of struggles before he got the card to the Actors Equity Association in 2005. He earned the card with musical fame when he played Nick Piazza at the North Shore Music Theatre. 

That year as well, he made his debut in Bradway for the lead role as an understudy for  swing and was also the dance captain in the musical by Joseph Brooks named “In My Life.” 

However, the performance that got him fame was in 2006 when he was cast in the lead role of the rock musical Spring Awakening in the Broadway production by Melchior Gabor. This musical was an adaptation of Frank Wedekins’s original play.  

This shows the story of repressed adolescents set in the 19th century and trying to discover their sexuality. He was first cast in one of the workshops for Spring Awakening at the Baruch College, along with John Gallagher Jr, Lea Michele, and the rest of the original cast.  

After that, the production moved for the off-broadway run to the Atlantic Theatre Company before it transferred to Broadway. During the Broadway production, he played his rebut role on December 10, 2003, and continued that till May 18, 2008.  

After that, he left the production along with his best friend and co-star, Lea Michele. This musical achieved amazing critical acclaim, received eleven nominations, and won eight awards at the 61st Tony Awards

In between these, he played several roles that caught the eye of the audience and the producers. And he played different shades of characters and explored himself. In 2009, he starred as Dionysus, opposite Anthony Mackie, in the play The Bacchae. However, after all his efforts and good work, he did not get much success. 

Rise To Fame: 2010-2016 

Groff became popular when he started in the 2010 musical comedy-drama Glee. Here, he played the role of Jesse St. James, where he was the lead performer in a glee club and was Rachel Berry’s love interest. Lea Michele played the role opposite Jonathan Groff. 

He starred in a total of fifteen episodes over all six seasons. From August 2010 to January 2011, he made his debut in Wes End with the London revival of Deathtrap. Ira Levin wrote this play, and Mattew Warchus directed it.  

He played the character of Clifford Anderson, a brilliant playwright, and starred along with Simon Russel Beale. There were a lot of positive responses to this play. Groff was appreciated for the part he played. 

He did numerous plays from 2010 to 2016, and he was highly appreciated for them. In 2013, he did a voice-over for Kristoff’s character in the animated film Frozen.  

He joined the cast of the musical Hamilton in 2015 and replaced Brian d’Arcy James for the role of King George III. He was even nominated for a Tony for his role in this play. He reprised the entire role for the Broadway production. Hamilton was highly successful. 

He Expanded His Career: 2017- Private Affairsresent

Back in 2017, he acted in the Netflix series “Mindhunter.” this was a crime thriller created by Joe Penhall and Charlize Theron, and David Fincher was the executive producer. Jonathan Groff portrays the role of an FBI officer named Holden Ford in this crime thriller. 

The character is loosely based on the life of John E. Douglas, one of the most prominent criminal profilers in the history of the FBI. His performance and the series were critically acclaimed, and loved Groff in this series.  

He is known for making the characters he plays empathetic. He even won the Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series for his role in this play. Groff did not limit himself to acting; he also starred as Jade on a musical podcast named 36 Questions.  

He also performed in one of the symphonic concert productions at the Hollywood Bowl of Sondheim on Sondheim. In 2019, he again reprised the role of Kristoff in the movie Frozen II and sang a solo for the title of the movie.  

Frozen II was the highest-grossing animated film of all time. He also reprised in Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, the short film that came out in 2017, as well as in Kingdom Hearts III, the video game that came out in 2019. 

Private Affairs

Jonathan Groff was diagnosed with melanoma and went through surgeries to remove it in his early 20s. He refused to use social media and is known to practice Transcendental Meditation. 

In October 2009, he publicly declared that he is gay to a Broadway.com reporter. He shared his experience when he came out and openly discussed how he felt when he stayed closeted. He knew that disclosing his sexuality could have a negative impact on his career. 

He enjoys the fact that he is like a role model to the young actors for being an out actor, and he encourages people to share their stories of coming out to motivate them and accept themselves the way they are. 

In 2009, he was linked with the actor Gavin Creel. From 2010 to 2013, he was romantically involved with Zachary Quinto. After that, he dated Corey Baker, a choreographer from New Zealand, from 2018 to 2020. 

From the beginning of his professional career, he has volunteered in a nonprofit, Broadway Cares, and has always taken part in all kinds of fundraisers. He has also taken part and performed in numerous charity functions for theatre institutions.

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A self-proclaimed Swiftian, Bridgerton-holic, and cinephile, Subhasree eats, breathes, and sleeps entertainment. When she is not imagining dates with Iron Man on Stark Tower (yes, she has the biggest crush on RDJ, which she won’t admit), she can be seen with the gram always open on her phone. Always the first one to break celebrity gossip, Subhasree is addicted to sharing everything celeb, Hollywood, and entertainment related on Gossipment. She is our go-to-source for the latest scoops and is our resident editor.

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