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15 Reasons To Love Jonathan Groff

Happy 30th Birthday, Jonathan Groff! To welcome him to the 30 Club (I just joined a months ago. We have a special handshake), let's remember the days before 30 and why he's so awesome.

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15. Spring Awakening

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Several years back, Jonathan starred in a pivotal and groundbreaking Broadway musical called Spring Awakening. Spring Awakening is this generation's equivalent of the Mickey Mouse Club. Dozens of bright screen and stage stars emerged from it like JGroff's bestie Lea Michele, John Gallagher Jr. (already a stage and screen veteran in his own right, then and now), and Skylar Astin to name a few. But this show earned the birthday boy his big break as the memorable and earnest Melchior Gabor and next year, we'll be celebrating its 10-year anniversary!

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Check out Spring Awakening's performance at the 2008 Easter Bonnet event.

14. Pretty/Handsome

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Television soon called and after a brief stint on One Life to Live, Jonathan was in a television pilot created by future collaborator Ryan Murphy. The show Pretty/Handsome didn't get picked up, but it definitely made the screener rounds. It was, unfortunately, ahead of its time but one failed television attempt didn't twart him.

13. Taking Woodstock

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His first film role ever and it was directed by the brilliant Ang Lee. Taking Woodstock was about the Woodstock festival with Jonathan taking the role of festival co-creator Michael Lang. It certainly played to Jonathan's quiet and subdued side and since it took place in the '60s it did prepare him for a future career role.

12. Hair in Central Park

Though he wasn't able to take the role to Broadway, Jonathan played the role of Claude during the successful run of Hair put on by the Public Theater in 2008. I'm sure he let the sunshine in during every production.

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He's still got it. Listen to him sing Let the Sunshine In at Cleve Jones' birthday party just last year.

11. Jesse St. James on Glee

How can anyone leave out Jesse St. James on Glee? As a Spring Awakening fan, I followed him straight to this show where he played love interest to Lea Michele's Rachel Berry. Jesse was arrogant yet cool, extremely talented, and a perfect leader of rival group Vocal Adrenaline. Spoiler alert: it all worked out for him in the end.

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Glee's take on Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" was one of the best numbers on the show thanks to the vocal power of Lea Michele and Jonathan.

10. Concerts

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Never one to forget his singing background, he performed a couple of concerts at Joe's Pub, introducing us to some familiar songs, and fantastic covers. It was the beginning of the concert career. He recently played a show in his hometown near Pennsylvania. Jonathan Groff's vocal stylings, coming to a city near you.

9. Boss

Jonathan played the do-anything-it-takes-to-make-it-to-the-top Ian Todd on the second season of Boss. Though it did not make it to a third, and Ian never quite got what he wanted, the role allowed him to show plenty of range and diversity in character. That face playing a conniving character? It's possible.

8. C.O.G.

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C.O.G. based on a short story by David Sedaris is one of Jonathan's most intense roles. Going from unaware college kid to a more self-aware man shaped by his experiences in the film was a pretty tough watch. But he managed to evoke sympathy, fear, and comedy in the short span of time we get to know him. Takes one talented actor to get the job done but with Jonathan at the helm, it worked well.

7. Red

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Proving that fantastic theater doesn't only happen in New York City, Jonathan graced Los Angeles with his presence in the 2012 production of Red at the Mark Taper Forum. I was lucky enough to catch this one twice and neither he nor Alfred Molina ever gave less than 100% of themselves in their performances. It was ever-present, visceral, and unflinching portrayal of a boy and his mentor. Once again, Jonathan started his character through a beginning to a satisfying end.

6. Sense of Humor

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Did I mention he's pretty charismatic, charming, and hilarious, too? Because he is. Listen to this story he tells of the time he forget every single word to the Spring Awakening song "Left Behind."

5. Love For All Things Sutton Foster

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Jonathan Groff, he's just like us. Okay, he might be more than a little like us. It's a well-known fact that the person he obsesses about the most? Sutton Foster. Can we blame him? She's perfection. But he also knows more about her than is humanly possible. Let's watch him know things about her that other people probably wouldn't know about her.

4. Frozen

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Sure, Jonathan a Tony award-nominated actor didn't get a song in Frozen. But he did voice the roles of BOTH the reindeer Sven AND the handsome Kristoff! Known fact: he is kind enough to record messages for kids in the voice of Sven. What a gem. This was a dream role for him and he certainly made it his own.

3. The Normal Heart

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Teaming up again with Ryan Murphy, Jonathan played a small but pivotal role in the first few minutes of the film. It's one of the most important plays and stories of this generation and Jonathan's been a vocal advocate of the LGBT community since his own coming out in 2009.

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If you look up #jonathangroff on instagram, you'll see numerous photos of Jonathan posing with fans after his show Hamilton or whenever he goes to a public event. It says a lot about a person who shows kindness that is genuine and real. No, he absolutely doesn't need to nor should he feel obligated to stop for someone, but he does and he will. It can mean so much to someone who admires him or just wants to speak to him. For him to do that, it says a lot about his character and who he is as a person to be kind for that one minute and I'm sure is always, always appreciated.

1. Looking

This one's painful to write about. The cancellation of the show is still fresh. It was my favorite show due in part because of the character of Patrick. Patrick was your every-day, every-man. He was that boy navigating the world through his experiences and he wasn't too experienced as a 29-year-old. Through him, you learn about his world, his friends, his romances. Jonathan, through some exceptional writing on the Looking staff, created and formed a nuanced performance that was awkward, sexy, uncomfortable, cute, cringe-worthy - it ran a gamut of emotions and feelings. Patrick's story isn't done yet. HBO was smart enough to give them the opportunity to wrap-up the story, but I think it's one of Jonathan's best roles to date. He gave something really special in this television role, something that can't be replicated, and will now only live on in reruns and repeats. But he had a lot of love to give this role and it's only right that I give love in return by praising his wonderful performance.

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And don't worry. This won't be the last you see of him. Jonathan will be performing in Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton until the beginning of May. No tickets available to these shows but hopefully there's room in the August Broadway transfer? Otherwise, see him in A New Brain in June in New York City. Happy 30th Birthday, Jonathan!

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