While at the Television Critics Association Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton July 31 promoting a Live From Lincoln Center special for PBS, stage and screen actor Jonathan Groff opened up about channeling Barbra Streisand for the role of King George in Hamilton.
Tony nominee Groff, who originated the role on Broadway, said he was originally intimidated by Brian D'Arcy James’ performance in the original Off-Broadway show, and was struggling to find his own version of the character.
“Brian is so different than me. He’s older than me. He’s got these amazing eyebrows, and he’s got these legs when he would walk out, it was like Napoleon was walking out. I was sitting in the audience, and I was like, ’...I’m nothing like that’,” Groff told the crowd at the L.A. event.
The actor said that, originally, he attempted to copy James’ take on King George, until he unexpectedly found inspiration from a clip of Streisand singing “When the Sun Comes Out” on My Name is Barbra.
“It’s black and white, and it’s one take, and she comes down the center of the thing, and she stands at the edge of the stage, and it’s like she’s f*cking herself with her own voice," Groff explained, laughing. "She comes down...and she stands at the edge of the stage and she is so powerful in the way that she’s standing and in the way that she’s feeling herself. I was like, ’That’s what I’m going to do as the king.'”
As previously reported, it was also revealed at the Television Critics Association Press Tour that Groff and two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster will unite for an upcoming Live from Lincoln Center special on PBS.