From stage to screen, Jonathan Groff proves he can do it all

Jonathan Groff

Jonathan Groff

Jonathan Groff has been a beloved name in theatre for years but these days he’s more on the public radar than ever. He’s stepping out with a limited engagement with L. A. Theatreworks and a starring role in a new HBO pilot.

This March, Groff will reprise his role in Red at the James Bridge Theatre in a special encore engagement. The L.A. Theatre Works production, which he initially starred in last fall with Alfred Molina, follows artist Mark Rothko (Molina) and his assistant, Ken (Groff), as Rothko faces artistic challenges among a new generation.

Groff’s upcoming HBO series, which has yet to be named, will focus on the lives of three gay friends who wrestle with modern life and balancing their professional lives with romance. Groff will play Patrick, a thirty-something man living in San Francisco with a great career and a less-than-stellar love life. Behind the series are Sarah Condon of the hilarious Bored to Death and Michael Lannan, so it’s clear that something special is on its way to television.

And for Groff’s fans who have been comparing him to a prince for years, your voices will be heard come next November as Groff will be playing the heroic Kristof in the Disney animated film Frozen. The film also stars iconic theatre talents Idina Menzel, who will be playing the villainous Ice Queen, and music from Tony Award winning Robert Lopez.

Ever since he made his Broadway debut in 2005’s short-lived musical In My Life, Groff has been making a name for himself as a dynamite performer. When he starred in Spring Awakening the following year as Melchior Gabor, a tortured and bright young student, he became one of the youngest actors nominated for a Tony Award and brought thousands to tears with his soulful performance. He then switched gears and played Claude in Shakespeare in the Park’s production of Hair, leading theatregoers to wonder – is there anything he can’t do?

Though he’d acted on television before and made a short appearance on One Life to Live years earlier, his role on Glee as fierce vocalist Jesse St. James in 2010 is what brought him to the forefront of the silver screen. His performance as the dedicated Vocal Adrenaline singer was made even more fun by the fact that he was acting with Glee regular Lea Michele, his former Spring Awakening co-star. From the moment he sauntered in front of the camera and burst into a rendition of Lionel Richie’s “Hello” with Michele (which was far more impassioned than the original version of the song, we may add) he was making waves. Viewers who already knew his theatre work loved seeing him onscreen, and new fans swooned as he took “heartthrob” to a whole new level. As the series went on, he continued to be recognized for his acting chops and won over Glee viewers left and right.

When an actor like Groff is such equal parts talented and incredibly charming, there’s no reason his work shouldn’t be widely revered. His new HBO series brings an exciting opportunity for him to reach even more audiences and become an even bigger name in television. And of course, his New York fans will always dream that he might return to Broadway.

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About Claire H.

Writer, performer, picture-taker, New Yorker. Find me on Twitter at @Claire_Hannum.
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3 Responses

  1. I LOVE Jonathan Groff and I can’t wait to see his new show. He was one of the kindest, most genuine interviewees I have ever had the pleasure of chatting with.

  2. I am interested in seeing Groff act in something that allows him to be more “adult.” Having a show on HBO will certainly allow for that. Also there are lots of Broadway vets in Frozen! They really are making that dynamic switch from stage to screen.

    • I so agree! I think he has a much wider acting range than he’s necessarily been able to use in his roles so far, HBO’s going to offer a whole new perspective on his talent!