Doctor Who Series 14 Casts Another Big American Musical Star
First Neil Patrick Harris, then Jinkx Monsoon, now the star of Frozen and Glee… does anybody cast in new Doctor Who not have musical chops?
Jonathan Groff is the latest cast member announced to be joining Doctor Who series 14 in an as-yet undisclosed mysterious “key role”, the BBC has announced.
Groff is best known to children the world over as the voice of Kristoff in Disney’s Frozen films, and to Broadway audiences as King George III from the original cast of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s mega-hit musical Hamilton.
That makes him the third big American Broadway star making his debut in the new Doctor Who episodes, following Neil Patrick Harris’ villainous role in the forthcoming 60th anniversary specials, and the recent announcement that Chicago the stage musical and RuPaul’s Drag Race star Jinkx Monsoon had joined the cast of series fourteen.
Could that much-discussed all-singing, all-dancing episode finally be on the way? The official press release accompanying the casting announcement doesn’t exactly quash the rumours with its choice of headline: “Doctor Who Hits Another High Note As Jonathan Groff Joins”.
We shall have to wait and see. If not, this trio wouldn’t be the first singers to appear in the show in non-singing roles. Bonnie Langford, John Barrowman, Kylie Minogue… would all have been capable of breaking into song at the sight of a Sontaran platoon during their time on Doctor Who but mostly managed to keep it zipped.
TV-wise, Groff is also known for Mindhunter and Fox musical comedy Glee,in which he played the love interest/antagonist role of Jesse St. James, lead male and later coach of rival acapella high school group Vocal Adrenaline. On the big screen, he played the new Agent Smith in The Matrix: Resurrections, going up against Keanu Reeves’s Neo and his former ‘self’ played by Hugo Weaving. This year, Groff starred opposite Dave Bautista and Rupert Grint in M. Night Shyamalan horror Knock at the Cabin.
Showrunner Russell T Davies describes Tony and Emmy-nominated Groff’s casting as “an incredible coup and a great honour” to welcome “such a huge star” to the set. “Strap on your space boots, this is going to be a blast!”.
In response, Groff said he was thrilled, Russell T Davies’ mind was extraordinary, and that Ncuti Gatwa was going to soar in this iconic role, all of which we can probably agree is the case.
Previously confirmed as appearing in Doctor Who series fourteen are Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard (who has a history with musicals too, as it happens) and returning UNIT queen Jemma Redgrave, who plays Kate Lethbridge-Stewart.
They’re joined by Anita Dobson, recently seen in BBC Two’s Inside No. 9 and Michelle Greenidge, along with Karen Pirie’s Bhav Joshi, Traces’ Eilidh Loan, Gangs of London’s Pete MacHale, Slow Horses’ Miles Yekinni and Mamma Mia!’s Hemi Yeroham. Come to think of it, Mamma Mia’s a musical too, isn’t it? And didn’t Anita Dobson sing the lyrics-version of the EastEnders theme tune?
Doctor Who returns to BBC One and iPlayer in November in the UK, and comes to Disney+ everywhere else.