Jonathan Groff Earns First Tony Award for Role in Merrily We Roll Along

Groff tearfully accepts his first Tony Award for his role in Merrily We Roll Along

Jonathan Groff wins best performance by a leading actor in a musical at the 77th Tony Awards in New York City on June 16, 2024. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, THEO WARGO/GETTY)
Jonathan Groff wins best performance by a leading actor in a musical at the 77th Tony Awards in New York City on June 16, 2024. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, THEO WARGO/GETTY)

Jonathan Groff has finally taken home his first Tony Award, winning Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for his role in the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s 1981 musical, Merrily We Roll Along.

The 2024 Tony Awards, held on Sunday, June 16, celebrated Groff’s outstanding portrayal of Franklin Shepard, a character that marks his third Tony nomination but his first win.

Groff, who has previously been nominated for his performances in Spring Awakening (2007) and Hamilton (2015), expressed deep gratitude and emotion during his acceptance speech.

The 39-year-old actor thanked his family for their unwavering support, saying, “Thank you for always allowing my freak flag to fly without ever making me feel weird about it.”

He also tearfully acknowledged his co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Lindsay Mendez, calling them his “soulmates” and expressing his excitement for their future together.

In Merrily We Roll Along, Groff plays Franklin Shepard, a Broadway composer whose journey through life and career is depicted in reverse chronological order.

The musical opens with Shepard as an unfulfilled, successful Broadway composer and traces his career backwards, exploring the compromises he makes and how he trades his initial idealism for commercial success.

The revival of Merrily We Roll Along began with a two-month Off-Broadway run in November 2022, featuring Radcliffe and Mendez alongside Groff.

The production moved to Broadway in September 2023, taking up residence at the Hudson Theatre, where it will continue to play until July 7.

The show has been well-received, with The New York Times praising Groff’s performance as “thrillingly fierce” and calling the production “the first convincing revival of the cult flop Sondheim musical.”

Radcliffe, known for his iconic role as Harry Potter, also won his first Tony Award that evening for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical.

Merrily We Roll Along's Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff and Lindsay Mendez in New York City on Oct. 8, 2023. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, BRUCE GLIKAS/WIREIMAGE)
Merrily We Roll Along’s Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff and Lindsay Mendez in New York City on Oct. 8, 2023. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, BRUCE GLIKAS/WIREIMAGE)

His co-star, Lindsay Mendez, was nominated for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical. The trio’s performances, under the direction of Maria Friedman, have been instrumental in the show’s success.

Friedman, a close friend of the late Stephen Sondheim, took on the role of director for the first time with this revival.

Sondheim, who passed away in November 2021, has left a lasting legacy in musical theater, and Friedman’s direction has been praised for breathing new life into the show.

The production’s success is also reflected in its financial performance; in its first week of previews at the Hudson Theatre, Merrily grossed $1.3 million, breaking the venue’s six-performance house record.

Groff’s acting career spans a variety of roles across television, film, and theater. He is known for his work in the TV series Glee, the Frozen franchise, and the Netflix series Mindhunter.

This year, he also stars in the romantic comedy A Nice Indian Boy alongside comedian Karan Soni, which premiered at South by Southwest in March.

Additionally, Groff had a guest role in a recent episode of Doctor Who, further showcasing his versatility as an actor.

Tickets for Merrily We Roll Along are still available for purchase, with the show continuing to draw audiences eager to see the critically acclaimed performances and the innovative storytelling of this Sondheim classic.

The 77th Tony Awards, which aired live on CBS and Paramount+, celebrated the best of Broadway, and Groff’s win was a highlight of the evening.

Groff’s journey to his first Tony Award has been marked by dedication and a deep passion for his craft.

His portrayal of Franklin Shepard has not only earned him critical acclaim but also solidified his place as one of Broadway’s leading talents.

As Groff and his co-stars continue to perform in Merrily We Roll Along, theatergoers have the opportunity to witness the magic that earned this talented actor his well-deserved accolade.

For those interested in experiencing the celebrated revival, tickets can be purchased at merrilyonbroadway.com.

The production promises to offer an engaging and thought-provoking exploration of friendship, ambition, and the passage of time, brought to life by an exceptional cast and creative team.

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