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    Out & Proud Jonathan Groff Wins 1st Tony & Our Hearts

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    In a night filled with emotion and triumph, Jonathan Groff took home his first Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for his role in the Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along.” The June 16, 2024, ceremony saw Groff, 39, delivering a heartfelt acceptance speech that left many in tears, including himself.

    Groff, known for his diverse roles in “Glee,” the “Looking” series, and “Doctor Who,” has been a beloved figure in the LGBTQ+ community for years. Despite previous Tony nominations for “Spring Awakening” in 2007 and “Hamilton” in 2015, this marks his first win, making it a particularly special milestone in his career.

    In “Merrily We Roll Along,” Groff portrays Franklin Shepard, a Broadway composer whose journey of idealism and commercialism is depicted in reverse chronological order. The show, originally a cult favorite, has found new life under the direction of Maria Friedman, and Groff’s performance has been widely praised as “thrillingly fierce” by The New York Times.

    As Groff accepted his award, he expressed profound gratitude to his family for their unwavering support. “Thank you for always allowing my freak flag to fly without ever making me feel weird about it,” he said, highlighting the importance of acceptance and love. He also took a moment to honor his “Merrily” co-stars, Daniel Radcliffe and Lindsay Mendez, referring to them as “soulmates.” Groff’s deep bond with Radcliffe and Mendez has been a cornerstone of the production’s success, both on and off stage.

    +Related: Gatwa and Groff’s Gay Romance Makes ‘Doctor Who’ History

    The revival of “Merrily We Roll Along” has been a notable highlight of the Broadway season, breaking records and receiving rave reviews. Its Off-Broadway run began in November 2022 before transferring to the Hudson Theatre in September 2023, where it will continue until July 7. Radcliffe, 34, also celebrated his first Tony win for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical, sharing the spotlight with Groff and Mendez, the latter of whom was nominated for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.

    Groff’s win is not only a personal achievement but also a significant moment for the LGBTQ+ community. His journey from a young actor in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to a Tony-winning star is a testament to his talent and resilience. Throughout his career, Groff has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, often sharing his experiences and supporting initiatives aimed at increasing visibility and acceptance.

    From 'Looking' - HBO

    This year has been especially busy for Groff, who also stars in the romantic comedy “A Nice Indian Boy” alongside comedian Karan Soni. The film premiered at South by Southwest in March and has been eagerly anticipated by fans. Additionally, Groff made a guest appearance in a recent episode of “Doctor Who,” further showcasing his versatility as an actor.

    For those looking to experience Groff’s award-winning performance, tickets for “Merrily We Roll Along” are still available at merrilyonbroadway.com. As Groff continues to captivate audiences with his talent and authenticity, his Tony win is a well-deserved recognition of a remarkable career.

    +Related: Jonathan Groff Reflects on ‘Looking’ & Its Lasting Impact


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