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BWW Interview: Jonathan Groff on HAMILTON- 'It's the Most Fun 8 Minutes I've Ever Had'


Screen Actors Guild Foundation and Broadway World have partnered for filmed Conversations Q&A series to recognize and celebrate the vibrant theatre community in New York City and the union actors who aspire to have a career on the stage and screen. The most recent conversation featured Jonathan Groff, moderated by BroadwayWorld's Richard Ridge. As a part of the special event, Groff and Ridge spoke in depth about his current role is the hit Broadway-Bound musical- Hamilton. Read on below to find out what he had to say about playing King George III!

Check out the full interview here!

How much fun are you having playing King George in Hamilton?

It's so fun. I'm on stage for 8 minutes and it's the most fun 8 minutes I've ever had. It's a blast. I replaced Brian d'Arcy James in the show, who is incredible. So I got to see it a bunch of times before I went into it and I just like wept through the show every single time even in like the stage management booth at the back of the theater. I was like I'm just going to watch it for technical and then I'm like crying watching it. It's such an amazing show and such an amazing group of people. It's great.

How did you get cast? Who came to you?

Lin [Manuel Miranda] and Tommy Kale, who directed it, just like shot me an email. They were like, "Hey Brian has to leave. Would you want to come in and replace him for the last couple months of the show?" It was before it had opened and I hadn't heard any of the music and I didn't know anything about the show and was just like, "Sure!"- based on just loving them and knowing them and knowing their work. I just said yes and then I was in it.

What's it like inhabiting him? It's such a fun role.

It is such a fun role. It's kind of like you can get away with anything in that role. I had like 2 days of rehearsal before I went into it. It was really fast. King George doesn't really interact with anyone on stage except for the audience. And so I love that. I've started to do cabarets here and there and I love that sort of direct contact and relationship with the audience and because of the character of King George and the dynamic, it definitely feels like anything can happen every night... which is great.

What has it been like working with Lin-Manuel Miranda and singing his score?

He's like the messiah of musical theater first of all. The show is so groundbreaking. I watch the show when I'm not on stage because just watching it every night you get something different. It's just so beautifully written and complex and he's such a genius. On the flip side, he acts like an elementary school teacher. He's just the sweetest, heart-in-the-right-place guy. He's so generous. I feel like it's so rare that that combo happens- where somebody's so epically talented and not insane. I mean he's insane, but in all of the best possible ways.

And working with this cast?

Chris Jackson does what he did in In the Heights. He does a prayer circle everyday at 5 minutes before the show where pretty much the whole company stands in a circle and holds hands and talks. He sort of says something different every night whether it's "We're so lucky to be here," or blessing the people in the audience. Just everybody's heart is in the right place. And it's exciting too because it's a lot of will-be Broadway debuts. So it's exciting to be around that energy and have these young people not even know how gifted they are. Like Pippa Soo, who plays Eliza... she's so amazing and she's just like so effortless. She's 24 years-old and breaking hearts nightly on stage. Just the whole cast is a lot of young talent and I 'm just so excited for them.

Will you maybe be doing this on Broadway?

I don't know. It's TBD. I would love to. We'll see.

What does this piece mean to you?

The show itself does the impossible thing of a musical. It checks all the boxes. It's incredibly sort of artistically ambitious and yet it's completely commercial. I feel like the best way to describe it is to say that in like one week Bill Clinton, Busta Rhymes and Bernadette Peters came to see the show. And that just shows the reach of this show. And they all came backstage and expressed their love and admiration for the show and their appreciation for what Lin wrote. He's touching on some sort of cultural nerve there.

Equally versatile on stage and screen, Jonathan Groff can currently be seen as King George in The Public Theater's acclaimed world premiere musical production of Hamilton, with book, music, and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda. In June, Groff will star in the Encores! Off-Center production of William Finn's A New Brain at New York City Center. Jonathan Groffcan also currently be seen as Patrick in the second season of the hit HBO television series, "Looking." Created by Michael Lannan and directed and executive produced by Andrew Haigh, "Looking" follows the lives of three gay friends as they navigate life in modern-day San Francisco.

Theater credits include: Melchior Gabor in the Tony Award-winning musical, Spring Awakening (Theatre World Award, in addition to Tony, Drama Desk, and Drama League Award nominations), famed role of Claude in The Public Theater's heralded revival of Hair, which ran as part of The Public Theater's "Shakespeare in the Park" series at the Delacorte Theatre.He was the recipient of an Obie Award for Outstanding Performance - Prayer for My Enemy, directed byBartlett Sher, at Playrwights Horizons, and The Singing Forest, co-starring Olympia Dukakis, at the Public Theatre. West End debut in the heralded revival of Ira Levin's Deathtrap. Most recently, Jonathan joined Alfred Molina in the Donmar Warehouse production of the Tony Award-winning Best Play, Red at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

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