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William Swenson (born October 26, 1972) is an American actor and singer best known for his work in musical theatre. He also has developed a film career, primarily in LDS cinema.

Will Swenson
Will Swenson.jpg
Swenson in July 2011
William Swenson

(1972-10-26) October 26, 1972 (age 46)
OccupationActor, singer
Spouse(s)Amy Westerby (divorced)
Audra McDonald (m. 2012)
Children3 (2 with Westerby, 1 with McDonald)



Swenson was born in Provo, Utah. He is known among members of the LDS church for his role as Jonathan Jordan in the LDS Cinema movie The Singles Ward (2002) and its sequel, The Singles 2nd Ward (2007).[1] Swenson co-wrote, directed and acted in the LDS Cinema feature film, Sons of Provo (2004).

A grandson of Nathan and playwright and actress Ruth Hale,[2] Will Swenson was born in Utah and moved around a lot throughout the United States during his childhood. He attended Brigham Young University and later served as an LDS missionary in Ecuador. However, as of 2008 he was no longer practicing the LDS faith.[3]

Swenson appeared on Broadway in Lestat, 110 in the Shade and Brooklyn. Off-Broadway, he played the role of Stacee Jaxx in the musical Rock of Ages but did not go on to perform the role on Broadway because he was offered the starring role of Berger in the Broadway revival of Hair. He played Sir Sagramore in Camelot at Lincoln Center and Chris in the second national tour of Miss Saigon.

He played the role of Berger in the Off-Broadway 40th Anniversary Concert of Hair opposite Karen Olivo. In 2008, Swenson was again cast as Berger in The Public Theater's revival of the show in Central Park. He went on to reprise the role when the production moved to Broadway in March 2009.[4] He received critical acclaim for his performance on Broadway and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical. He played the role of Berger again in the West End revival of Hair which began performances on April 1, 2010,[5] and ended his limited engagement on May 29, 2010.[6] Audra McDonald and Swenson reprised their roles in a two-week fundraising production of 110 in the Shade at the Hale Center Theater in Orem, Utah.[7]

On October 8, 2009, Swenson appeared as in the guest cameo slot for the extension performance of Katie Thompson's R.R.R.E.D.: A Secret Musical, as part of the 2009 New York Musical Theatre Festival. In 2010, Swenson played the lead role of "Tick"/"Mitzi" in the pre-Broadway North American company of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert in Toronto, Canada.[8]

In October 2013, Swenson was cast as Inspector Javert in the 2014 Broadway revival of Les Misérables, which opened in March 2014 at New York's Imperial Theatre, where the musical had previously run for 13 years.[9]

In 2018, Swenson played Satan in the New Group's off-Broadway production of "Jerry Springer: The Opera."

Personal lifeEdit

Swenson met his first wife Amy (née Westerby) while they were both in one of his grandmother's comedies, Hopsville Holiday. The couple have two sons, Bridger and Sawyer, but have since divorced.

Swenson and actress Audra McDonald became engaged in January 2012[10] and were married on October 6, 2012.[11] In October 2016, McDonald and Swenson welcomed their first child, Sally.

Theatre creditsEdit

Year Show Role Category
2002 Miss Saigon Chris Scott US National Tour
2004 Brooklyn Vocalist; u/s Street Singer; u/s Taylor Collins Broadway
2005 Two Gentleman of Verona Ensemble Off-Broadway
2006 Lestat Ensemble; u/s Armand; u/s Lestat Broadway
2007 Adrift in Macao Rick Shaw Off-Broadway
2007 110 in the Shade Cody Bridger; u/s Bill Starbuck Broadway
2008 The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island Psychiatrist Off-Broadway
2008 Hair Berger Off-Broadway
2008 Rock of Ages Stacee Jaxx Off-Broadway
2009 Hair Berger Broadway
2010 West End
2010 Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Tick (Mitzi) Toronto
2013 Murder Ballad Tom Off-Broadway
2013 Little Miss Sunshine Richard Hoover Off-Broadway
2014 Les Misérables Javert Broadway
2016 Pericles Cleon Theatre for a New Audience
2017 Waitress Earl Broadway
2018 Jerry Springer - The Opera Satan Off-Broadway



Year Title Role Notes
1996 Treasure Chest Thor Short film
2002 The Singles Ward Jonathan Jordan
2003 The R.M. Kori Swenson
2004 Sons of Provo Will Jensen
Dear John Tyson Short film
2007 The Singles 2nd Ward Jonathan Jordan
2010 The Switch Actor on stage
2013 Gods Behaving Badly Ares Unreleased
2014 This Is Where I Leave You Young Mort Altman
2017 The Greatest Showman Philo Barnum


Year Title Role Notes
2002 All My Children Purse-snatcher Episode: August 14, 2002
2006 As the World Turns Vanya Episode: December 18, 2006
2007 Six Degrees Photoshoot man Episode: "Slings and Arrows"; uncredited
2008 Live from Lincoln Center Sir Sagramore Episode: "Camelot"
2009 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Joe Lazar Episode: "Rock Star"
Late Show with David Letterman Berger Episode: April 30, 2009
2012 The Good Wife Justin Varney Episode: "Pants on Fire"
Pzazz 101 Will Episode: "Method Acting"
2016 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Mitch Hampton Episode: "Broken Rhymes"
2016–17 No Tomorrow Pete 2 episodes

Web seriesEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2014 Submissions Only Fred Planer Episode: "Having Foresight"

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Work Result
2009 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Hair Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Nominated


  1. ^ "The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shepherd". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-07-17.
  2. ^ Milzoff, Rebecca. "Hair's Will Swenson on Pantsless Acting and His Former Career in LDS Cinema". Retrieved 2009-03-31.
  3. ^ "Famous Mormons". Truman Library. Retrieved 2008-05-09. I don't practice Mormonism at all anymore, but I grew up in a Mormon family.
  4. ^ "Hair, with Swenson, Creel, Allen, Levy, Case and Sheik, Returns to Broadway March 6". Retrieved 2009-03-29.
  5. ^ Shenton, Mark. "Broadway's Hair to Let It All Hang Out at West End's Gielgud Theatre",, November 12, 2009
  6. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "EXCLUSIVE: Burkhardt to Succeed Swenson in London's Hair",, May 21, 2010
  7. ^ (2010-04-25). "Tony-Award winner to star in Hale Center show". Retrieved 2011-09-05.
  8. ^ "Swenson & Sheldon Lead Pre-Broadway PRISCILLA in Toronto; Opens Oct. 26". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
  9. ^ "Utah's Will Swenson lands role in 'Les Miz' revival". Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  10. ^ Hetrick, Adam. Audra McDonald and Will Swenson Are Engaged", January 3, 2012
  11. ^ "Broadway stars Audra McDonald, Will Swenson wed", October 7, 2012

External linksEdit