BWW WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Jonathan Groff Talks GLEE Season Finale
Following this weekend's WORLD PREMIERE EXCLUSIVE FIRST LISTEN of "For Good" from WICKED as featured on the GLEE season finale, today BroadwayWorld is bringing the gleeks one last special surprise, just in time for the Season Two finale, which premieres tonight at 8 PM/EST on Fox!
Today, we are talking to GLEE fan favorite - as Jessie St. James - and theatre superstar - from SPRING AWAKENING on Broadway to DEATHTRAP in the West End - the charismatic and magnetic Jonathan Groff. In this world exclusive interview, Jonathan and I discuss all things GLEE and all about working on the second season of the show - and, most importantly, everything about the season finale - with GLEE stars Lea Michele, Cheyenne Jackson, and Charice, in addition to working with Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel and GLEE creator/show-runner Ryan Murphy - and, of course, recording and performing Adele‘s "Rolling In The Deep" with Lea Michele, the surefire musical highlight of Season Two.
Additionally, in the forthcoming complete chat, we take a look back at Groff's many stage roles ranging from HAIR and THE BACCHAE in Central Park for The Public Theater, to SPRING AWAKENING on Broadway, DEATHTRAP in the West End, as well as his debut in IN MY LIFE - a show whose composer/lyricist/writer, Joe Brooks, was just in the news following his apparent suicide this weekend. Jonathan and I also touch on his blazing feature film debut in Ang Lee's TAKING WOODSTOCK co-starring Liev Schreiber, as well as his work on the pilot for Ryan Murphy's PRETTY/HANDSOME, co-starring Joseph Fiennes and Blythe Danner, and his participation in the new independent film TWELVE THIRTY. Plus, we take a look ahead to the future and deduce what is next for one of the brightest talents on Broadway! All of that and much, much more - yet, one question remains: Is it 8 PM yet?!
Rolling In The Glee
PC: Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" was an amazing vocal performance by you and Lea - the best song of Season Two.
JG: Thank you so, so much. I was so nervous about it because I am such a huge Adele fan. I have been listening to that album non-stop since it first came out. So, when Lea texted me and told me that we were going to be doing that song, I was really excited about it, but, at the same time, I was also pretty freaked out.
PC: Did you know right off the bat you were going to be doing it acapella like that? That's what makes it so unique.
JG: No, I didn't. I didn't. We knew that, like, just before we were going into the studio to record it. It's actually John Legend's version, that he did.
PC: No way! Are you a Legend fan?
JG: Oh, yeah - but, I didn't know that he had done a version of it until we got that recording of it.
PC: It makes a sort of relationship triptych with you and Lea - "Hello" to "Total Eclipse of the Heart" to "Rolling In The Deep". All great duets - building, dissolving, then breaking up.
JG: Oh, you're making my day! I loved doing all of those so much. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.
PC: Have you gotten good feedback from the fans on "Rolling In the Deep", as well? It's a big YouTube and iTunes hit.
JG: Amazing, right? Yeah, I got some really nice e-mails and some really nice phone-calls, so that was really, really cool.
PC: Could you please give me a few words on some of your GLEE co-stars - particularly these three who have done this column?
PC: Kristin Chenoweth.
JG: I love Kristin Chenoweth. I mean, she was so amazing on GLEE and I actually went to go see her in WICKED when I was in high school - I got her and Idina's autographs, actually. (Laughs.) I even went to the stage door - I was such a huge, huge fan.
PC: Idina Menzel was the next one on my list, actually!
JG: Oh, it was so, so exciting to get to work with both of them on the show. They were so nice and so hardworking. I mean, Kristin was like improving and knew all of her lines for the whole episode - she's just a total pro and I am just blown away with her.
PC: She also supported your character on Twitter when there was some backlash about Jessie being too mean or too cruel too "queeny".
JG: Yeah, right. You know, with things like that, it is sort of like getting a bad review and you just have to let it roll off your back. It didn't really affect me that much.
PC: Do you want to duet with Idina in the future since she plays Lea's mother on the show?
JG: Oh, I would kill to do a duet with her. I am such a huge fan. I adore her. I think she is so talented. I was so excited that we got to do some scenes together and got to work together. And, she just had her baby so the baby was on set. It was just awesome.
PC: What about Charice?
JG: I actually never got to work with her onset or even meet her yet! She's so, so talented, though.
PC: What about your relationship with the star of the show and la piece de resistance de GLEE - Lea Michele.
JG: Oh, yes - hello?!
PC: Literally, "Hello".
JG: (Big Laugh.) We had so much fun - and we always have so much fun together. I mean, we wrapped the show about a week and a half ago and it was like 3 AM or something and we were on the set and we were walking back to our trailers and we just had a moment of, like, "Wow, I can't believe that we met five years ago. At that callback of SPRING AWAKENING, who would have ever guessed that now we'd be on the set of this TV show?"
PC: It must be mind-blowing.
JG: It was completely surreal. I mean, to go through an exciting thing and have an exciting thing happen in your career is always really fun, but to be able to do it with someone and to experience things with someone is so much more fun. I feel really lucky to experience all the things I've gotten to experience with her. It's just been a blast.
PC: Is it true you suggested her to Ryan Murphy?
JG: Well, she came out to visit me when I was doing that pilot we were just talking about that didn't get picked up [PRETTY/HANDSOME], and, Ryan was like, "Oh, my God! You would be so perfect for this role on GLEE!" So, I just introduced them.
PC: Was she visiting the set?
JG: Yeah, she had come out to visit me just for like a weekend when we were shooting out there in LA.
PC: That's all it took?
JG: Yeah, I guess so! (Laughs.)
PC: Did you get to work with Patti LuPone at all on the finale?
JG: No, I didn't! I wish. I wish. I am such a huge fan. I love her so much - I saw her in GYPSY and I thought she was amazing. I am just a huge, huge fan.
PC: Did you enjoy that production of GYPSY?
JG: I loved that production, yeah - I wish I could have seen it twice.
PC: Are you doing any stops on the GLEE tour?
JG: I don't think so - but, I don't know for sure. Nothing has been asked of me yet - but, you never know with GLEE!
PC: You and Lea - along with Matt Morrison, Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth and Cheyenne Jackson on GLEE - are breakout stars unlike anything we've seen in quite some time. GLEE seems to be providing a perfect avenue for Broadway performers to parlay their success into Hollywood.
JG: It's so funny - Cheyenne was actually on set for the finale! I have not seen him all season long, even though we've done some of the same episodes. I saw him when we were on set during the season finale - finally. (Pause.) I can't believe they haven't had him sing yet! I can't wait until Cheyenne sings on GLEE.
PC: When Charice did this column she said the same thing! Not yet.
JG: Not yet! Hopefully it's coming! (Laughs.)
PC: Would you like to do a song with him in the future?
JG: Of course!
PC: "You're Nothing Without Me" from CITY OF ANGELS?
JG: (Big Laugh.) I feel like he and Matt would do that really well, though, don't you think?
PC: Or, Matt and Bryan Ryan (played by Neil Patrick Harris)?
JG: Totally! Absolutely. I hope Neil comes back next year, as well.
PC: So, we can confirm Jessie St. James survives the season? He doesn't die in a motorcycle accident or anything as rumored?
JG: (Laughs.) No, I definitely don't die in a motorcycle accident.
PC: What can all the fans - the gleeks - look forward to in the finale?
JG: I mean, I think they are in for a surprise. I read the script a couple of weeks ago and the whole thing takes place - most of it - in New York. I am not in any of those scenes - I didn't get to come to New York to shoot the episode. So, you can definitely look forward to seeing lots of New York City, which will be lots of fun.
PC: What was your first reaction to the script?
JG: I was pretty shocked by the end of the finale. I think people will be surprised.
PC: How do you feel the second season has progressed? It seems to be an ever-evolving machine, especially how the parts are constantly changing and being renovated.
JG: Totally. I think that Ryan does such a good job of always keeping it new and always keeping it fresh and always trying to change it up. And, always trying to push the envelope a little bit - all of the different people that he has brought onto the show; and, like, that whole storyline that he did with Chris [Colfer] that happened this year has been so amazing. (Pause.) So, yeah, it really is ever-evolving.
PC: What do you think about the show as a fan?
JG: Oh, I have to say that I think all of the character development that has happened this season has been great. I have been excited to get to know Santana a little bit more - and, to get to hear her sing more. And, Heather [Morris], too - to get to see her do her thing in the "Britney" episode and everything. Yeah, I am really enjoying getting to know all of the other characters. I think it's great. And, it keeps it interesting for everyone watching.