Jonathan Groff – BIO

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Jonathan Groff


Jonathan Drew Groff (born March 26, 1985) is an American actor and singer. He originated the lead role of Melchior Gabor in the award winning Broadway rock musical Spring Awakening, for which he earned a Tony Award nomination in 2007. He later portrayed Claude in the 2008 Off-Broadway revival of Hair and received critical acclaim for his role in the West End revival of Deathtrap in 2010.

He regularly appears on the Off-Broadway stage and has earned an Obie Award for starring in two of Craig Lucas’ plays, Prayer for My Enemy and The Singing Forrest. He is also known for his previously recurring role as Jesse St. James on the FOX series Glee. More recently, Groff starred in the first-ever screen adaptation of author David Sedaris’ work, C.O.G., in which he portrayed a character based on Sedaris himself. He also voiced Kristoff in Disney’s feature film Frozen, and is the star of 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. 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.”[1] He graduated from Conestoga Valley High School in 2003 and was going to attend Carnegie Mellon University until he booked his first professional job in New York City, the Broadway musical In My Life.[2]

Groff booked his first acting job in 2005 as a swing/dance captain 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.[3] 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[4] through May 18, 2008. He also played the same role in the original Off Broadway production earlier during the summer of 2006.[5] Groff also was in the National Tour of The Sound of Music as Rolf, and appeared in Fame at the North Shore Music Theater in Beverly, Massachusetts. 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.[6]

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.[7] Before performing on the Broadway stage, Jonathan was a performer at The Ephrata Performing Arts Center in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. There he portrayed such characters as Edgar in Bat Boy: The Musical and Ugly in Honk!. 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.[8] 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.[9] 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”).[10] 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.[11][12]

In August 2010, he made his West End debut in Deathtrap,[13] at the Noel Coward Theatre in a production directed by Matthew Warchus. Groff returned to Glee at the end of the second season, where his character tried to ask Rachel for forgiveness. He returned to the show on May 10 to finish out the remainder of the second season.[14] Despite leaving the show for the first part of its third season, Groff returned to Glee in Saturday Night Glee-ver 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 Starz TV series Boss.

Groff played Ken in the Center Theatre Group’s production of the Tony Award winning play Red, alongside Alfred Molina reprising his role as painter Mark Rothko. The show ran from August 1 to September 9, 2012.[15] 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, like all that take place on LATW, were recorded to be broadcast on radio.[16]

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 movie premiered November 19, 2013, and went into wide theatrical release on November 27.[17][18] Groff also stars as Patrick, a gay video-game developer, in HBO’s comedy Looking, which, following an eight-episode initial order in 2013, was renewed for a second season.[19][20][21] In April 2013, Groff joined another HBO production, playing Craig in the TV movie adaptation of the Larry Kramer play, The Normal Heart.[22]
Personal Life

In October 2009, Groff told during the National Equality March in Washington, D.C., that he is “gay and proud”.[23] Since 2010, Groff was in a relationship with actor Zachary Quinto. In September 2012, Quinto confirmed that he and Groff were in a relationship.[24] In July 2013, it was reported that the two had broken up.[25]

Groff is a first cousin of singer James Wolpert,[26] a semifinalist on the fifth season of The Voice.
Theatre Credits


Year Show Role Production
2005 Fame Nick Piazza North Shore Music Theatre
May 31 – June 19, 2005
2005 In My Life Dance Captain / Swing / Understudy Music Box Theatre
October 20 – December 11, 2005
2006 Spring Awakening Melchior Gabor Atlantic Theatre Company
May 19 – August 5, 2006
2006 Spring Awakening Melchior Gabor Eugene O’Neill Theatre
December 10, 2006 – May 18, 2008
2007 Hair (40th anniversary concert) Claude Hooper Bukowski Delacorte Theatre
September 22 – 24, 2007
2008 Hair Claude Hooper Bukowski Delacorte Theatre
July 22 – August 16, 2008
2008 Prayer for My Enemy Billy Noone Playwrights Horizons
November 14 – December 21, 2008
2009 The Singing Forest Gray Korankyi / Walter Rieman The Public Theater
April 27 – May 17, 2009
2009 The Bacchae Dionysus Delacorte Theatre
August 11 – 30, 2009
2010 Deathtrap Clifford Anderson Noël Coward Theatre
August 21, 2010 – January 15, 2011
2011 The Submission Danny Larsen Lucille Lortel Theatre
September 8 – October 22, 2011
2012 Red Ken Mark Taper Forum
August 1 – September 9, 2012
2013 Red Ken L.A. Theatre Works
March 14 – 17, 2013
2013 The Pirates of Penzance (concert) Frederic Delacorte Theatre
June 10, 2013
2015 Hamilton King George Richard Rodgers Theatre

Other works include a national tour of The Sound of Music as Rolf, as well as Ugly in Honk! and Edgar in Bat Boy: The Musical, both at the Ephrata Performing Arts Center.


Year Title Role Notes
2007 One Life to Live Henry Mackler Recurring guest star, 11 episodes
2008 Pretty/Handsome Patrick Fitzpayne Pilot
2010 – 2012 Glee Jesse St. James Recurring guest star, 12 episodes
2012 The Good Wife Jimmy Fellner Episode: “Live from Damascus”
2012 Boss Ian Todd Series regular, 10 episodes
2014 Looking Patrick Murray Series lead, 8 episodes
2014 The Normal Heart Craig Donner TV movie
Year Title Role Notes
2009 Taking Woodstock Michael Lang
2010 Conspirator, The Conspirator Louis Weichmann
2010 Twelve Thirty Jeff
2013 C.O.G. Samuel
2013 Frozen Kristoff Voice
2014 Sophie Ben Short movie


Cast recordings

  • Spring Awakening (Original Broadway Cast Recording) (2006)
  • Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna (2010)
  • Glee: The Music, Volume 3 Showstoppers (2010)
  • Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals (2010)
  • Glee: The Music, The Complete Season One (2010)[27]
  • Glee: The Music, Volume 6 (2011)
  • Frozen (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2013)

Other recordings

  • Dreaming Wide Awake: The Music of Scott Alan (2007)[28] as featured soloist on the track “Now”


  • Broadway Nights by Seth Rudetsky (2008)[29] as Mason

Awards and Nominations


Year Award Category Work Result
2007 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading 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 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
Favorite Ensemble Cast Won Theatre Fans’ Choice Awards Best Leading Actor in a Musical Nominated
2008 Grammy Award Best Musical Show Album (featured soloist) Won
2009 Obie Award Performance Prayer for My Enemy
The Singing Forest
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



  1. Hoof Beats Magazine, July 2007: “Profile Jim and Jonathan Groff
  2. “Actor Jonathan Groff Goes From “Glee” to “Boss””. Details. August 15, 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
  3. Jonathan Groff performs at a benifit concert for the Ephrata Performing Arts Center
  4. Jonathan Groff at the Internet Broadway Database
  5. Lortel Archives—The Internet Off-Broadway Database
  6. The American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards – Official Website
  7. One Life To Live’ Pulls Hostage Plot After Virginia Tech Killings
  8. “Playwrights Horizons”. Playwrights Horizons. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  9. Ross, Dalton (October 19, 2009). “‘Glee’ Exclusive: ‘Spring Awakening’ star Jonathan Groff to join the show | Inside TV |”. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  10. Satoodeh, Ramin (April 26, 2010). “Straight Jacket”. Newsweek. Retrieved 2010-05-18.
  11. EW staff (May 11, 2010). “‘Glee’ creator Ryan Murphy pushes for ‘Newsweek’ boycott”. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-05-18.
  12. Villoreal, Yvonne (May 12, 2010). “Newsweek-gate: GLAAD weighs in”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-05-18.
  13. Baz Bamigboye (April 16, 2010). “Glee heart-throb Jonathan Groff is to be star in the West End”. The Daily Mail.
  14. Ward, Kate. “He’s back: Jonathan Groff returning to ‘Glee’!”, March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
  15. Jones, Kenneth. “Red, With Alfred Molina and Jonathan Groff, Opens in L.A.”, August 12, 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
  16. Hetrick, Adam. “Alfred Molina and Jonathan Groff Will Appear in Red for L.A. Theatre Works; Production Will Be Recorded”, February 20, 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
  17. Goldberg, Lesley. “‘Frozen’: Jonathan Groff from ‘Glee’ voicing hero in Disney’s ‘Snow Queen’ adaptation”, December 19, 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
  18. Liu, Meng (November 19, 2013). “Disney’s ‘Frozen’ Premiere Turns L.A. Into a Winter Wonderland”. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
  19. Kondolojy, Amanda (February 26, 2014). “‘Looking’ Renewed for Second Season by HBO”. TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  20. Schou, Solvej. “‘Glee’s’ Jonathan Groff to Star in HBO Comedy Pilot (Exclusive)” The Hollywood Reporter, February 8, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
  21. Goldberg, Lesley. “HBO Greenlights Gay-Themed Dramedy Series” The Hollywood Reporter, May 14, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
  22. Hibberd, James. “Jonathan Groff to play Taylor Kitsch’s lover in Ryan Murphy film” Entertainment Weekly, April 26, 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-26.
  23. Jensen, Michael (October 19, 2009). “Tony Award Nominee Jonathan Groff has Most Low-key Coming Out Ever.”. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  24. Strecker, Erin (September 12, 2012). “Zachary Quinto on dating Jonathan Groff: ‘I’m incredibly happy’“, Retrieved 2012-09-12.
  27. “iTunes – Music – Glee: The Music, The Complete Season One by Glee Cast”. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
  28. “iTunes – Music – Dreaming Wide Awake: The Music of Scott Alan by Scott Alan”. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
  29. Gans, Andrew. “Audio Version of Rudetsky’s “Broadway Nights,” with Bell, Chenoweth, Groff, Now Available”, July 8, 2008. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
  30. Peak positions for featured singles in the United States:


31. Peak positions for featured singles in Australia:

32. Peak positions for featured singles in Canada”

33. “Discography Glee Cast”. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-04-13.

34 “Chart Stats – Glee Cast”. Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2010-02-25.

35. “Official Singles Chart for the week ending June 19, 2010”. ChartsPlus (Liverpool: UKChartsPlus) (460): 1–4. June 16, 2010.

36. “Rolling In The Deep (Glee Cast Version featuring Jonathan Groff)”. Retrieved 2011-05-03.

37. “Rolling in the Deep (Glee Cast Version featuring Jonathan Groff)”. Retrieved 2011-05-19.

38. “Jonathan Groff Says Hello To WEBstaurant Store Fans”. YouTube. February 8, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-17.

39. [1]

40. “Rub VODKA on it”. Cocktail Deeva. Retrieved 2012-02-17.

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