March 26, 1985
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States
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Whether on Broadway, television or the silver screen, Tony Award-winning performer Jonathan Groff proved equally adept no matter the medium. Born March 26, 1985, his parents - one Methodist, the other Mennonite - instilled conservative values in the young Groff, including weekly Sunday school sessions. Despite this religious upbringing, however, it was the call of the Broadway stage that Groff eventually heeded, forgoing his initial plan to attend Carnegie Mellon University in 2005 for a chance to understudy in a production of "In My Life." Despite never seeing the stage, Groff's patience paid off just a year later, when he starred in the original production of "Spring Awakening." Based upon a controversial German play that explored themes of homosexuality, rape, abortion, child abuse and suicide, it went on to win eight Tony Awards, with the Best Leading Actor going to Groff. The acclaim led to a regular role on the long-running soap opera "One Life to Live" (ABC 1968-2013). Fate, however, cut his stint short, as the real-life Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 nixed his character's ongoing storyline about a similar school shooting. Nonetheless, it began an up-tick in Groff's career that continued in 2009, when he made his feature film debut in director Ang Lee's late-'60s period piece "Taking Woodstock" (2009). Roles in the indie family drama "Twelve Thirty" (2010) and Robert Redford's "The Conspirator" (2010) followed, in between several more off-Broadway performances. In 2010, Groff began his most-visible role, a 12-episode stint on the series "Glee" (Fox 2009-2015) as the leader of Vocal Adrenaline, the rival glee club. The following year saw Groff take on his first starring film role in the low-budget indie comedy "C.O.G." (2011). His next movie brought him to an entirely new fanbase: the animated musical "Frozen" (2013), in which he played the male lead of Kristoff, was an enormous hit that inspired a fanatically devoted young audience. Conversely, Groff's next project was the decidedly adult comedy-drama series "Looking" (HBO 2014-15), in which he starred as a gay video game developer looking for love in San Francisco. After appearing in a small role in Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper" (2014), Groff co-starred in the television adaptation of Larry Kramer's "The Normal Heart" (HBO 2014) After "Looking" ended following its second season, the story was concluded with the feature-length "Looking: The Movie" (HBO 2016).