If you’ve seen “Little Shop of Horrors” — the starry revival headlined by Jonathan Groff in a small Off Broadway theater — you probably noticed that Groff spits a lot when he speaks onstage. He’ll be the first to tell you that he’s been a spitter as long as he can remember, but “Little Shop” is the first time in a while that he’s acted in a theater small enough that the front rows are in the splash zone.
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“I spit a lot onstage,” Groff (“Frozen 2,” “Mindhunter”) said on the latest episode of Stagecraft, Variety‘s theater podcast. “I’ve always been a spitter … I start sweating. I just get wet when I perform onstage. It is just what happens.”
He went on, “For the first couple weeks of the run I felt bad, because I’d walk down to the end of the stage in the second song of the show, ‘Skid Row,’ and I can’t help it, I’m just, like, spitting on everyone. And they’re either enjoying it, or they’re laughing, or they’re holding up their programs to block their face. … I don’t care anymore, but it made me feel self-conscious at first. I’d never been so close to the audience where I was actually seeing the reaction on people’s face while I spat on them!”
Groff, who is the voice of Kristoff in the hit Disney animated film “Frozen” and its new follow-up, “Frozen 2,” also talked about seeing the Broadway musical version of “Frozen” — and said he wouldn’t want to play Kristoff in it. “I’m not trying to downgrade the voice actor’s contribution to animated films, but the animators are so amazing, and they really in my mind are the characters, because of the brilliant artistry of what they do. I don’t really feel an ownership of the character [of Kristoff] in the way that I do feel a sense of ownership of Holden [the character he plays in ‘Mindhunter’], because it’s me on the screen.”
Also on the new episode of Stagecraft, Groff revealed how working with David Fincher has influenced his “Little Shop” performance, explained why the musical is such a “healing experience” for the cast, and answered the question of whether he’d ever want to make a return appearance in “Hamilton.”
New episodes of “Stagecraft” are available every Tuesday. Download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or anywhere finer podcasts are dispensed. Find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.