Groff Withdraws from Paper Mill Godspell for Broadway Awakening

News   Groff Withdraws from Paper Mill Godspell for Broadway Awakening Jonathan Groff, who will return to Broadway later this season in the transfer of the acclaimed Off-Broadway musical Spring Awakening, has withdrawn from the Paper Mill Playhouse's upcoming production of Godspell.

Jonathan Groff will next appear in Godspell at the Paper Mill.
Jonathan Groff will next appear in Godspell at the Paper Mill. Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Groff had been announced to play Jesus in the New Jersey theatre's mounting of the Stephen Schwartz musical. A spokesperson for Paper Mill told Playbill.com that Groff has withdrawn from the project due to the transfer of the Atlantic Theater Company's production of Spring Awakening. (The producers of Spring Awakening, including Ira Pittelman and Tom Hulce, have not officially announced casting for the Broadway run.)

The Paper Mill spokesperson said that the theatre "congratulates Mr. Groff on this great opportunity and looks forward to working with him on future projects. The Paper Mill artistic staff is currently seeking a replacement for our production."

As previously announced, Godspell is scheduled to begin previews at the Paper Mill Sept. 20 with an official opening Sept. 24 at 7:30 PM. The limited engagement will run through Oct. 22. Directed by Daniel Goldstein, the cast will feature Uzo Aduba, Sarah Bolt, Holly Davis, Joshua Henry, Patrick Heusinger, Anika Larsen, Telly Leung, Megan Lewis, Julie Reiber and Jimmy Smagula.

The creative team for the production comprises David Korins (set design), Miranda Hoffman (costume design), Ben Stanton (lighting design), Randy Hansen (sound design) and Loren Toolajian (musical direction).

Godspell, which was conceived and originally directed by John-Michael Tebelak, features a score by Wicked’s Stephen Schwartz. About the Paper Mill production, director Goldstein said in a statement, “Our Godspell is about people coming together, out of a storm, and finding refuge in the theatre and in each other. . . . My team and I are creating the show for the individual talents of our extraordinary cast and specifically for the Paper Mill stage." Godspell features such tunes as "Day By Day," "Save The People," "Learn Your Lessons Well," "All Good Gifts," "Turn Back, O Man" and "By My Side."

Jonathan Groff made his Broadway debut in the short-lived musical In My Life. He played Rolf in the national tour of The Sound of Music and was seen in the North Shore Music Theatre's production of Fame as well as in shows at the Fulton Opera and EPAC. He recently concluded a run in Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik's Spring Awakening at the Atlantic Theater.

The Paper Mill Playhouse is located on Brookside Drive in Millburn, NJ. Tickets, priced $19-$68, are available by calling (973) 376-4343 or by visiting www.papermill.org.

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Spring Awakening, which co-starred Groff as the rebellious teen Melchior, ended its much-extended run at Off-Broadway's Atlantic Theater Company Aug. 5. Broadway dates and venue are expected shortly.

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