November 30, 2017 at 9:10 pm PST | by Susan Hornik
Jonathan Groff: ‘Look at me now, Mrs. Evans’

Jonathan Groff’s star is ascendant. (Photo courtesy PBS)

Hollywood is simply in love with Broadway darling Jonathan Groff. With two Tony Award nominations—for the uber popular “Spring Awakening” and “Hamilton,” under his belt, the versatile actor/singer has also been in FOX’s “Glee,” HBO’s “Looking,” and the theatrical animated feature, “Frozen.”

It’s no wonder then, why Out magazine recently named Groff Entertainer of The Year.

During the magazine’s interview, Groff talked about his latest endeavor: starring as a straight FBI agent investigating serial killers in the 1970s, on Netflix’s psychological drama, “Mindhunter.”

“His sexuality is a huge part of the story, because Holden is having his sexual awakening while talking to psycho-sexual killers, which is such a bizarre and interesting character arc.”

He continued: “I think one of the benefits of being out is that you can share your stories, be who you are, and put yourself in the work regardless.”

At a panel for the recent Television Critics Press Tour, Groff performed and chatted about “Live From Lincoln Center” a new PBS miniseries, in which he is guest starring. The series tapes in about a month and will air in the spring.

When asked if he loved theater more than acting in television, Groff said: “I really like theater. It sounds so cliché, but it is what I started doing as a kid, and it’s where my heart is. I really do love it, and having moments like this to perform live is really exciting for me.

“And when you get to do a show and tell the story from beginning to end in one night, it’s so satisfying. As an actor in the theater, you’re in charge of your final edit, which is also so exciting.”

Groff compared the experience of doing film and television, to being in the mind of the showrunner or the director.

“So much of the final product has nothing to do with you.  On set, you get to give a bunch of different versions of something, and then they sort of cut it together and piece it together.  But in the moments when I’m on set and I’m discovering a character and learning about a character, it’s so exciting because of sound purposes and whatever.  It’s completely silent… it’s like that bell rings or whatever and the boom goes up, and then it’s action, and between action and cut, it feels like anything can happen.

“And there’s this hyper-awareness and energy and excitement and anticipation. Because even though it’s not a live audience, the moment of creating something on film is so quiet, and the camera is right here, and it’s so intimate and so vulnerable and so personal that I do get that kind of excited feeling on set, even though there isn’t a live audience.”

“So it’s obviously very different, and I like them both, but my heart does flutter on set like it does in front of a live audience.”

For all of his success Groff has remained confident but humble.

“My first Broadway show was ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ and I remember Mrs. Evans, who was teaching fifth grade, was like, ‘Someday, Jonathan, you are going to be in the pit playing your trumpet. And I remember listening to her and being, like, in my mind — I didn’t say it to her. I didn’t have the balls or even the knowledge to say it, but in my mind, I was like, ‘No, no.  Not in the pit. I’m going to be on stage.’ I had a feeling. That was fifth grade. It’s so weird.”

As for the future, Groff remains open to special opportunities.

“ I don’t have a dream role…I’ve never had one.  I just want to keep working on good stuff with people that I respect and have a lifetime of that. That would be my ultimate dream, just to always have something great to sink my teeth into that was inspiring and surprising and challenging and fun. That would be my ultimate — that’s my dream.”

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