Jay Armstrong Johnson
Jay is a native of Fort Worth, Texas, aka Cowtown.
Developing an undying love for acting, singing, and dancing from an early age, Jay's first memory on stage was in Mr. Ingram's 5th grade English class where he played the role of Romeo in a much abridged version of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
With the encouragement and support of the Lanzas, friends, and fellow church choir members, Jay auditioned for Kids Who Care, a local musical theater company at age 12. He landed the role of Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream: the Rock Musical, and hasn't stopped since. Just a year later Jay was cast as John Darling in Cathy Rigby's Peter Pan, and credits that as being the moment his passion also became his career. Jay continued throughout his adolescent and teenage years rigorously training at Kids Who Care, Dian Clough West Dance Studio, and Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts while simultaneously building an impressive resume working at professional venues such as Casa Mañana, Stage West, Six Flags Over Texas, and Bass Performance Hall.
It was while performing as Mark in A Chorus Line at Casa Mañana, Jay earned his equity card.
When Jay thought of college, only one place ever came to mind: New York City. On a whim, he only applied to NYU and was accepted into the Steinhardt School of Music as a vocal performance major. Throughout his freshman, sophomore, and junior years at NYU Jay also found time to audition for Broadway shows. In 2008, his time at NYU was cut short, as Jay accepted the role of Mark in the first national revival tour of A Chorus Line. After seven wonderful months on the road, Jay decided to return to the Big Apple and continue the pursuit of his dream:
As fate would have it, Jay auditioned for the 2009 revival of HAIR his first week back in the city and shortly after was cast to understudy one his musical theater heroes, Gavin Creel. At age 21, Jay Armstrong Johnson made his Broadway debut, without having even one rehearsal, when Gavin became ill in HAIR's third week of previews.
After HAIR, Jay was cast as the standby for Aaron Tveit as the lead role, Frank Abagnale Jr. in the 2011 musical Catch Me if You Can.
Knowing he was capable of much more than an understudy, Jay spent the next few years convincing the biz of his immeasurable talent by landing actual roles off-Broadway and regionally. Frederick in Pirates! or Gilbert and Sullivan Plunder 'dat the MUNY in Saint Louis, Wild Animals You Should Know at MCC, Working (Drama Desk Award) at Prospect Theater Company, Romeo in The Last Goodbye at The Old Globe, and 35MM: A Musical Exhibition (available on iTunes here!) to name a few.
His first opportunity to prove himself came in 2012, when he was cast as Greg Wilhote in the short-lived but heartfelt Broadway musical Hands on a Hardbody, which was met with positive reviews.
After HOAH closed, Jay's first audition was for the role of Chip in On the Town at the Barrington Stage Company in the Berkshires. He scored the role, and the show opened to RAVE reviews, breaking Barrington box office records. With the help of some kick ass producers, Howard and Janet Kagan, On the Town was on its way to Broadway!
During the transition, Jay was bestowed the immense opportunity to play Anthony in the New York Philharmonic's staged concert of Sweeney Todd, which was broadcast on PBS. Jay was honored to find himself acting alongside seasoned pros Emma Thompson, Bryn Terfel and Audra McDonald.
Jay was featured in a number of publications upon On the Town's opening on Broadway, including the New York Times, and when the show opened in the fall of 2014, it was met with positive reception. After spending a year in his first leading role on the great white way, Jay set his sights on a new dream:
Television & film
Appearing in "Law & Order: SVU" "Seeking: The Web Series" and "Sex and the City 2" among others, Jay has worked tirelessly to gain exposure in the industry.
His perseverance, paired with his talent, helped Jay to land the role of Will Olsen in the hit ABC television drama QUANTICO in late November of 2015.
Tune in March 6th at 10pm on ABC to see Jay's premier episode on QUANTICO!