Jonathan Groff Fondly Remembers His First Gay Kiss

by Emell Adolphus

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday June 29, 2022

Jonathan Groff on "And Just Like That"
Jonathan Groff on "And Just Like That"  (Source:HBO Max)

Jonathan Groff is opening up about a defining moment in every gay person's life: their first gay kiss.

Groff was 19 years old, living in New York and working as a waiter at the Chelsea Grill in Hell's Kitchen when it happened. While working as a waiter, he met Tom Viola, executive director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and found his way into New York's theater crowd.

"He talked to me about the organization and the good that they did for the community and he also talked to me about how they have volunteers standing with red buckets collection money [at Broadway theaters]," Groff told Jan Svendsen during an episode of the "Broadway Gives Back" podcast, Variety reported.

Being a volunteer for the organization meant you got to watch the second act of Broadway shows for free, he remembers.

"You could watch the second act of Broadway shows by signing up as a volunteer. So the volunteering aspect of the organization, plus the fact that I could see theater got me super interested," he said.

The same day Viola invited Groff to the Broadway Cares offices to learn more about their work, Groff landed his first smooch.

"I had a crush on from my hometown, who ended up being my, quote-unquote, roommate, because I wasn't out of the closet for three and a half years," recalled the "Frozen" and "Hamilton" star. "He had come over to the apartment I was living in, and that happened. And then I was like, 'I have to go. I have to go meet Tom Viola.' I remember walking in and meeting him and feeling like my entire body was on fire. I was like levitating thru the offices of BC/EFA."

Chaotic but relatable.

On June 26, the BCEFA raised more than $1.8 million at its annual burlesque show "Broadway Bares" at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.