Why Did Jonathan Groff Leave 'Hamilton'? He's Turning Into A 'Mindhunter'
King George III isn't on stage for very long in Hamilton, yet his role is among the most comic and clever parts of the show. Every man who played King George added his own flavor to Hamilton, but I have to say my favorite was far and away Jonathan Groff. Groff, who you, if you’re a theater nerd like me, probably remember from Spring Awakening and his turn as Jesse St. James on Glee, brought so much haughtiness to the part that you couldn’t help but laugh. Unfortunately, he’s no longer with the show — why did Jonathan Groff leave Hamilton ?
I have to say that we can’t just all expect our favorite actors to play our favorite parts in perpetuity. They’re people too, you know! They have to move on to other things! And that’s exactly what Groff did. According to Playbill, his last Hamilton show was on April 9, when he left to begin filming his role in David Fincher’s Netflix series, Mindhunter. But who will play King George!? Not to worry, Hamilton fans — Rory O’Malley, who was nominated for a Tony for his turn in The Book Of Mormon, is filling Groff’s very heavy crown. He started the show April 11 and hasn’t looked back since.
All of this switching has me thinking — who else could play King George? Brian d’Arcy James, Andrew Rannells, and Groff all took a stab at it for a few months, and O’Malley will eventually decide to leave, too. What other Broadway actor could get up on that Hamilton stage to play the King? I have a few ideas.
With shows like Legally Blonde, Spamalot, Mary Poppins, and Something Rotten! under his belt, Borle not only has the Broadway chops but the comedic timing needed to make King George a real scream. You’ve probably also seen him in NBC’s short-lived Broadway drama Smash!, so you’re also used to seeing Borle act completely alone on stage. He's going to play Willy Wonka in the upcoming musical, so his time would be short, but worth it.
He plays Lafayette in Hamilton. He played Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton. Why can’t Diggs play King George, too? He’s show us his mettle as a rapper and a singer, so why not a comedian? It may be a little too much costume work for one performer to handle, but if anyone can do it, Diggs definitely can. I’ll accept taking away “Guns and Ships” for a few turns at hearing Diggs sing “You’ll Be Back.”
So you Broadway lovers are probably saying, “Huh? The guy from Rent?” Yep, the very same. When I saw Lin-Manuel Miranda and Adam Pascal do a Ham4Ham duet to “What You Own” from Rent, it suddenly all made sense to me. Pascal has starred in everything from Rent to Aida, so the guy has range — why can’t he play a king with a pompous British accent? I believe in you, Adam.
You’d have to bring the key up quite a bit, but Kristin Chenoweth can out sing mostly anyone. It would be fun for her to play a role that isn’t as much about the singing as it is about the comedy — remember when she was on Glee? At that point in the show, I wasn’t sure if it was funny or not, but Chenoweth always nailed it. She’s also been in um, every Broadway show ever, so I’m sure she’d be great in Hamilton.
There are so many particularly talented actors on Broadway that can play the role of King George, and I can't wait to see who joins Hamilton next.