When I decided to write this book, I knew I couldn’t do it without devoting an entire section to Jonathan Groff. He’s my best friend in the entire world - in fact, it’s fair to say that I didn’t understand the concept until I met him. He’s been through more ups and downs with me than anyone else. He’s like a brother, and I love him like crazy.
We met at our Spring Awakening audition I had done workshops of the show, so I felt pretty confident that I’d be able to keep my role with the production, but we needed to find a guy to play Melchior. And in walked Jonathan Groff, this kid from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, wearing jeans that were way too short and a shirt that had clearly been washed when it neede to have been dry-cleaned. And the gel! His hair was as hard as a rock. I looked at him and thought, “What a sweet boy, but he’s never going to get this part.” But I helped him that day because it was clear that he was the nicest person: I gave him some insight into things the director liked to see and worked through some of the scenes with him outside the room before we went in. But I can’t take much credit because there was a huge amount of talent beneath the badly fitting outfit and hair gel! Not only did he get the part, but he ended up getting a Tony nomination and the launchpad for an incredibly successful career.
To this day, I’ve never met someone who has understood me more than Jonathan - I can completely be myself, with all my different quirks, and never feel judged. I’ve laughed harder, and cried harder, with Jonathan than I have with anyone else. We’ve been kicked out of Broadway shows for falling into fits of giggles in the audience, and I’ve literally shown up on his doorstep with my heart broken. He always helps me put myself together. After one particularly rough episode with a guy, Jonathan wrote me this incredibly nice letter, in which he told me that I would find someone amazing. He was going away on a vacation and so he gave me a task to complete while he was gone, since he knew I would miss him like crazy and needed distractions. He instructed me to watch every single Meryl Streep movie while he was gone - and said that there would be a quiz when he returned.
And then there was the time we went to Washington, DC, together so that I could sing for President Obama. Melanie was there in the hotel room with us, doing my makeup, and I was trying to focus on the task at hand; serenading the leader of the free world is no small thing. But Jonathan was intent on getting me to laugh, and so a wrestling match/tickle fest went too far, and he made me laugh so hard I peed my pants. I assure you, I showered - but thirty short minutes later, I was in front of the president. Those are the moments that keep you sane, and so I’m eternally grateful to Jonathan for always helping me keep my feet on the ground. If peeing my pants is what it takes, I’m always game.
From the moment I met Jonathan, I knew that he was gay. I’ve always been a loud ad outspoken person who has little to no filter. But for whatever reason, even though I would normally not have been shy about saying, “Oh, you’re gay,” out loud in front of other people (particularly Broadway people), with Jonathan, I held my tongue. I didn’t want to do or say anything that might possibly hurt or embarrass him, particularly because it was apparent that he wasn’t ready to be out. For the first time, I could feel someone’s emotions. I could feel that at that time, he just wasn’t ready, and I needed to give him the space to do it on his own.
We call ourselves City Mouse and Country Mouse, because he grew up with Amish people, while I grew up with cross-dressers in New York City. Watching Jonathan grow over the years has been one of the best things ever: He’s developed an incredible career and been a wonderful son to his parents (who have become my parents’ best friends).
That time in Spring Awakening with Jonathan was the best time of my life. We had a very intense sex scene that we had to do together; you have to feel really comfortable with someone to do that. We went there together, every night. Sometimes we would do the scene and cry the entire time; others, we would be silly and laugh. But we were in it together.
I also have Jonathan to thank for Glee. Jonathan was in Los Angeles filming a TV pilot with Ryan Murphy when I went though a bad break-up (yes, same bad breakup that I’ve mentioned before - ha ha, if you’re reading this, and thanks for getting me my big break!). I needed to get out of NYC and spend some time with Jon, so I flew to L.A. to see him. After I arrived, Jonathan, Ryan and I went to Chateau Marmont, and I spent the night talking to Ryan about how much I love and admire Barbra Streisand. After, Jonathan told me that Ryan was writing a show called Glee and that he wanted me to do it. I was like, “Yeah, right - I’m never going to get that,” as I hadn’t had any luck breaking into TV.
I’m so thankful for him - obviously for introducing me to Ryan and pointing me toward Glee, but mainly because he’s there for me like no one else and it’s such a relief to know that a person like Jonathan is out there.
Love Letter to Jonathan Groff, from Lea Michele’s book “Brunette Ambition” (released on May 20, 2014) (x)
Roddy Piper was as unique as they come, ‘the perfect villain’
by Jim Ross [August 1st, 2015]
As I walked into a banquet hall in the Hilton hotel Friday to speak
at the annual NWA Wrestling Legends Fan Fest, I received a message that
my friend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper had unexpectedly died, apparently in his
sleep the night before, at age 61.
My speech was immediately erased from my memory.
Every image in my mind was that of “Hot Rod.” The notes for my speech
had been hastily jotted down but were hard to read through teary
Luckily, at least I had something down on paper.
Even though the legend that was the unpredictable and controversial
albeit massively talented Piper preceded him from his Mid Atlantic
Wrestling (Charlotte), TBS/Atlanta, and WWF in the pivotal days of the
company whose future was deeply mortgaged on the success of the first
WrestleMania concept, I first worked closely with Roddy in 1996.
The “Hollywood Backlot Brawl” saw the bizarre villain Goldust facing a
returning Piper who had been in and out of WWE multiple times since he
was Hulk Hogan’s chief rival in the first WrestleMania more than a
Piper had a long, often times, controversial relationship with WWE
Chairman Vince McMahon and, therefore, had “trust issues” when he was
convinced to come back for a short WWE run that would culminate with the
Canadian-born athlete defeating the “androgynous” Goldust in 1996 at
WrestleMania 12 in Los Angeles.
Jerry Brisco, an old friend of Piper’s from the Mid Atlantic days and
a WWE official, convinced Roddy that he could trust me in my role as
vice president of talent relations. So, I became the primary liaison
between Hot Rod and creative.
Brisco used his long-time friendship with Hot Rod to bridge the gap
between the bombastic trash talker and myself, who represented WWE
Roddy and I became friends during WM12 and remained such until his
death. Through the build to the 1996 mega-event, I had dozens of
telephone calls and “sitdowns” with Roddy to reassure him that all was
good and that his discretionary pay would be to his liking.
Piper, Roderick George Toombs, grew up a child of the streets, turned
pro at age 15, never graduated high school but had a Ph.D. in the game
of life. The trust issues seemingly never went away when it came to the
After his successful performance at WM12, where he drove a white Ford
Bronco during the elaborate presentation, Roddy and I hugged as he was
about to enter a sedan for his ride from LAX to catch his flight home to
Portland, Oregon. My responsibility of care-taking Roddy was near an
He casually asked me what we were going to do with the white Bronco
and I told him I didn’t know, but why? He indicated that he liked the
slick, late-model vehicle so I asked him to not leave and to hold
I sought out WWE Chairman Vince McMahon – who was always a big fan
of Piper’s, especially his villain persona – and asked if we could give
the white Bronco to Roddy. McMahon said, “Of course.”
Hot Rod was as elated as if he’d won a new car on “The Price is Right.”
We dismissed the limo driver because Roddy wanted to drive the white
Bronco from L.A. to Oregon.
Yep, Hot Rod was a unique cat.
The man many feel was the greatest, TV wrestling villain in history
was moved to tears by McMahon’s gift of a used, late-model, low mileage
I compare the wrestling villain Rowdy Roddy Piper to Bruce Dern’s
character in the John Wayne classic film, “The Cowboys.” The perfect
villain to play opposite any hero. A vile character who cheated to win.
Without great villains there are no great heroes in any form of entertainment or sports.
To be a great villain in the pro wrestling genre, an individual must
be legitimately fearless and have a burning desire to truly be despised
as opposed to being “cool.” This describes the kilt-wearing Rowdy Roddy
And then there was the time we went to Washington, DC, together so that I could sing for President Obama. Melanie was there in the hotel room with us, doing my makeup, and I was trying to focus on the task at hand; serenading the leader of the free world is no small thing. But Jonathan was intent on getting me to laugh and so a wrestling match/tickle fest went too far, and he made me laugh so hard I peed my pants. I assure you, I showered-but thirty short minutes later, I was in front of the president. Those are the moments that keep you sane, and so I’m eternally grateful to Jonathan for always helping me keep my feet on the ground. If peeing my pants is what it takes, I’m always game.
Lea Michele talks about Jonathan Groff in Brunette Ambition (x)
PWX student nearly dies at Chicago’s Riot Fest [September 13th, 2015]
Aspiring professional wrestler Steve Schneider was nearly a victim of trampling over the weekend at the Chicago music festival Riot Fest. During System Of A Down’s headlining set, Schneider was knocked to the ground in the band’s mosh pit. Schneider gives a detailed account of the incident:
I fell over during System Of A Down, then someone fell on top of me so I
couldn’t breathe. Then once they got up, someone else fell on top of
me. It was never ending. At one point I had someone on top of my back,
and someone either sitting or standing on my head, pushing my face down
into mud. I couldn’t breathe the entire time, but then any breath I
could take I was close to inhaling muddy water. It was the scariest
thing in my entire life cause I had no idea how long I’d be trapped for.
Apparently System of a Down had to stop playing so paramedics
could get me out, I was unconscious at that point so I have no memory of
it. Both of my eyes are blood red from passing out due to lack of air +
someone crushing my head + screaming for my life.
System Of A Down immediately halted the performance, seeing what was happening, and helped bring attention to the incident. Steve was taken from the crowd to get care from paramedics. This video was uploaded to YouTube, showing the events of the near-death situation. All of my respect goes straight to SOAD, who protected their fans and a brother in our community.
question. what does face paint have to do with hair? I don't see how unless louis literally rubbed is face in harry's hair intentionally, how the two have anything to do with each other
I’m sorry but please tell me you’re joking. How do the two have anything to do with each other? HOW DO THE TWO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH EACH OTHER?
I’ll break it down. Louis went out wearing white face paint the night before. Harry, who was NOT wearing face paint the night before, shows up the next day with white paint in his hair. Harry is taller than Louis and yet, the paint was at the top of his head. Hmm let’s think of some scenarios that would cause that to happen.
All night wrestling match
A snuggle fest
A rousing game of twister
Sleeping in the same bed cuddled together
I’ll give you a hint, 1 and 3 are the least likely. The remaining options would definitely involve Louis rubbing his face in Harry’s hair/Harry rubbing his head on Louis’ face. So 2+2=???