Jonathan Groff Tearfully Hails Merrily Cast 'Soulmates' at First Tony Win

Broadway's latest hit shatters records, captivates critics alike

by Zain ul Abedin
Jonathan Groff Tearfully Hails Merrily Cast 'Soulmates' at First Tony Win
© Jenny Anderson/Getty Images

Jonathan Groff, a familiar face from hits like Glee, Frozen, and Mindhunter, achieved a career milestone at the 2024 Tony Awards, clinching his first award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. Groff's journey to this moment has been marked by notable nominations, including his roles in Spring Awakening and as King George III in Hamilton, but it was his role in Merrily We Roll Along that finally saw him victorious.

Set in the bustling world of Broadway, Merrily We Roll Along revives Stephen Sondheim's 1981 musical, where Groff stars as Franklin Shepard, a musical composer caught in the web of fame and artistic compromise. The narrative uniquely unfolds in reverse chronological order, painting a poignant picture of Shepard's ascent to success and the consequent spiritual decline.

The show initially opened off-Broadway in November 2022 before making a triumphant transfer to Broadway's Hudson Theatre in September 2023, boasting a robust cast including Daniel Radcliffe and Tony winner Lindsay Mendez.

During his emotionally charged acceptance speech, Groff expressed his gratitude towards his family and his co-stars, Radcliffe and Mendez, whom he affectionately termed "soulmates." His heartfelt words highlighted their deep bond and mutual support, projecting a future of shared growth and evolving friendships.

Box Office Triumph

The production has not only been a personal triumph for Groff but also a financial one. In its first week at the Hudson Theatre, the musical set a new house record by grossing $1.3 million over six performances, as reported by Deadline.

Critics, too, have lauded the show; The New York Times described Groff's performance as “thrillingly fierce” and heralded the revival as a convincing reimagining of the once-cult flop. Directed by Maria Friedman, a close associate of the late Sondheim, this marks the show's first Broadway revival since its original inception.

The musical's success this season was further accentuated by Radcliffe's win for Best Featured Actor, and a nomination for Mendez, enriching the ensemble's celebratory atmosphere. Apart from his stage endeavors, Groff continues to explore diverse roles, including starring in the rom-com A Nice Indian Boy and a guest appearance on Doctor Who.

His continued presence in diverse projects underscores his versatility and commitment to his craft. Merrily We Roll Along continues its run at the Hudson Theatre until July 7, with tickets available at The 77th Tony Awards, which showcased these memorable wins, was broadcasted live on CBS and Paramount+.