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Will Roland (born March 5, 1989)[1][2] is an American actor and singer, best known for originating the role of Jared Kleinman in the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen. On film, he is known for his role in the drama film One Penny. Most recently, he played the lead role of Jeremy Heere in the musical Be More Chill both Off-Broadway and on Broadway.[1]

Will Roland
Born (1989-03-05) March 5, 1989 (age 30)
EducationFriends Academy
Alma materNew York University
OccupationActor, singer
Years active2011–present
Home townLocust Valley, New York, U.S.

Early lifeEdit

William Frederick Roland was born in New York City to Beth and William J. Roland, who co-own Roland Antiques, an auction house.[3] He initially lived in East Village, Manhattan, before moving to Locust Valley, Long Island at the age of eight.[4] He attended Friends Academy for middle school and high school.[4] Roland graduated from New York University in 2011 with a degree in musical theater from Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.[5][6]

CareerEdit

Roland's first professional role after graduating from college was in 2011, where he played the role of Ian DeForge in The Bus at 59e59 Theaters. The show opened on October 4, 2011 and closed on October 31, 2011.[7]

In 2012, Roland played the role of Nato Obenkrieger from August 16, 2012 to September 2, 2012 in a staged workshop of The Black Suits, a musical by Joe Iconis in The Berkshires at the Barrington Stage Company.[8] In this production, he played alongside Ben Platt, who he would again star beside in Dear Evan Hansen. Roland reprised this role in 2013 from October 27, 2013 to November 24, 2013 in Los Angeles, California, for the show's world premiere at the Center Theatre Group.[9]

In April 2013, Roland participated in the first reading of Be More Chill, wherein he read the role of Michael. He then departed the production and re-auditioned for the lead in 2015 when it was casting for its world premiere, whereupon he did not get cast.[10] Around this time, he also became involved in the as then Untitled PPL Project. Starting in July 2014, Roland participated in readings and workshops of the show that would become Dear Evan Hansen, playing the role of Jared Kleinman. The show made its premiere in Washington, D.C. at the Arena Stage and ran from July 10, 2015 to August 23, 2015.[11]

While in Washington, D.C. for the workshop and original production of Dear Evan Hansen, and Roland was also cast as Collin in the independent film One Penny. Principle photography occurred in 2015. The film premiered at the DC Independent Film Festival in February 2017.[12] He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Northern Virginia International Film and Music Festival in 2017.[13]

In 2016, Roland reprised his role as Jared when Dear Evan Hansen went Off-Broadway for a limited engagement run at the Second Stage Theatre.[14] Previews began March 26, 2016. The show opened on May 1, 2016 and ran until May 29, 2016. After selling out its Off-Broadway run, the show then transferred to Broadway at the Music Box Theatre. Previews began November 14, 2016 and the show opened on December 4, 2016. Roland departed the show on June 10, 2018.[15]

In 2017, Roland was approached by the showrunners of Billions after seeing his performance in Dear Evan Hansen. He was offered an audition for a guest role[16], which turned into the recurring role of Winston, who Roland portrayed in seasons 3 and 4 of Billions.

On April 13, 2018, it was announced that Roland would play the role of Jeremy Heere in Joe Iconis' Be More Chill Off-Broadway limited engagement run at the Pershing Square Signature Center.[17] Previews began July 26, 2018. The show opened August 9, 2018 and closed on September 30, 2018 after a one-week extension.[18] Through Ghostlight Records, Roland released a new song called "Loser Geek Whatever" that had been introduced to the show as the new act 1 finale for its Off-Broadway run.[19] After its sold out Off-Broadway run, Roland reprised the role when the show then transferred to Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre.[20] Previews began February 13, 2019. The show opened March 10, 2019 and closed August 11, 2019.[21]

Personal lifeEdit

On November 7, 2018, Roland became engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Stephanie Wessels.[22]

CreditsEdit

TheatreEdit

Year Title Role Venue Category
2011 The Bus Ian DeForge 59e59 Theaters Off-Broadway
2012 Billy Witch Michael Astoria Performing Arts Center
2012 Wonderful Town Frank Lippencott Gallery Players
2012 The Black Suits Nato Obenkrieger Barrington Stage Company Regional
2013 Center Theatre Group
2014 Academia Nuts! Joseph McCutter New York Musical Festival Off-Broadway
2015 Dear Evan Hansen Jared Kleinman Arena Stage Regional
2016 Second Stage Theater Off-Broadway
2016–2018 Music Box Theater Broadway
2018 Be More Chill Jeremy Heere Pershing Square Signature Center Off-Broadway
2019 Lyceum Theater Broadway

FilmEdit

Year Title Role
2017 One Penny Collin

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Category
2015 The Mysteries of Laura Nerd #3 Episode: "The Mystery of the Intoxicated Intern"
2016 Red Oaks Joel 2 episodes
2018–2019 Billions Winston 7 episodes
2018 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Quidditch Player Episode: "Kimmy Meets an Old Friend!"

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Association Category Work Result
2017 Northern Virginia International Film and Music Festival Best Supporting Actor – Feature Film One Penny Nominated[13]
Broadway.com Audience Choice Award Favorite Funny Performance Dear Evan Hansen Won[23]
Favorite Breakthrough Performance (Male) Nominated[23]
Favorite Featured Actor in a Musical Nominated[23]
2018 Grammy Awards Best Musical Theater Album Won[24]
Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Musical Performance in a Daytime Program "You Will Be Found" from Dear Evan Hansen on The Today Show Won[25]
2019 Broadway.com Audience Choice Award Favorite Leading Actor in a Musical Be More Chill Nominated[26]
Favorite Onstage Pair (with George Salazar) Won[26]
Favorite Onstage Pair (with Stephanie Hsu) Nominated[26]
Theatre Fan's Choice Awards Best Leading Actor in a Musical Won[27]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Duboff, Josh. "Will Roland Knows What Makes a Teen-Centric Broadway Hit—He's Starred in Two of Them". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  2. ^ Roland, Will (2018-12-18). "Mine and @jenashtep's birthday!". @will_roland. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  3. ^ Roland, Will (April 14, 2017). "Every day is opening night". DKC/O&M. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Dijkstra, Kimberley (January 24, 2017). "Will Roland Brings Laughs To Broadway Stage". Long Island Weekly. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  5. ^ "About Me". Will Roland. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  6. ^ Fierberg, Ruthie (November 7, 2016). "How This Dear Evan Hansen Star Spends His Days". Playbill. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  7. ^ "The Bus". 59e59.org. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  8. ^ Admin, B. S. C. (2012-08-03). "Joe Iconis's Rock Musical "The Black Suits" at Barrington Stage Musical Theatre Lab, August 16 - Sept. 2". Barrington Stage Company. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  9. ^ Gans, Andrew (2013-11-03). "Black Suits Musical, Starring Annie Golden, Jimmy Brewer, Harrison Chad, Opens Nov. 3". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  10. ^ "Why Will Roland Left 'Dear Evan Hansen' for 'Be More Chill'". www.backstage.com. 2018-08-21. Retrieved 2019-09-30.
  11. ^ Gioia, Michael (July 30, 2015). "Pasek and Paul's Dear Evan Hansen, About the High School Struggle to Fit In, Premieres in D.C." Playbill.
  12. ^ "This Local Duo Financed Their First Film By Flipping Houses". DCist. Archived from the original on 2017-09-07. Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  13. ^ a b "Archives | Welcome to the NOVA Fest!". nova-filmfest. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  14. ^ Cox, Gordon (August 13, 2015). "Buzzy Musical 'Dear Evan Hansen' Sets New York Run". Variety.
  15. ^ Sullivan, Lindsey (April 13, 2018). "Alex Boniello to Join Dear Evan Hansen; Mike Faist & Will Roland Set Final Performance Dates".
  16. ^ "Will Roland On 'Billions', 'Be More Chill' & 'Dear Evan Hansen'". 2019-04-08. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  17. ^ McPhee, Ryan (2018-04-13). "Be More Chill Will Play Off-Broadway; Will Roland to Star". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  18. ^ McPhee, Ryan. "Be More Chill Will Play Off-Broadway; Will Roland to Star", Playbill.com, April 13, 2018
  19. ^ "Be More Chill Releases "Loser Geek Whatever" Single, Performed by Will Roland | TheaterMania". www.theatermania.com. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  20. ^ Clement, Olivia (2018-12-18). "Entire Off-Broadway Cast of Be More Chill Will Make the Move to Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  21. ^ "Breaking: BE MORE CHILL Announces Summer Closing Date; Joe Iconis Performs At Tonight's Curtain Call". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  22. ^ Fierberg, Ruthie (November 9, 2018). "Be More Chill Star Will Roland Gets Engaged to Stephanie Wessels". Playbill. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  23. ^ a b c "Dear Evan Hansen Leads Winners of Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards, Falsettos, Bette Midler Also Take Top Prizes". Broadway.com. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  24. ^ Nevins, Jake (2018-01-29). "Grammy awards 2018: full list of winners". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  25. ^ "Daytime Emmy Awards 2018 Winners: The Complete List". E! Online. 2018-04-29. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  26. ^ a b c "Be More Chill Leads Broadway.com Audience Choice Award Winners; Pretty Woman, Mockingbird Also Take Top Prizes". Broadway.com. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  27. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Winners Announced For The 17th Annual Theatre Fans' Choice Awards - BE MORE CHILL, HADESTOWN, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Take Home Top Honors!". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 2019-08-30.