Jonathan Groff's Tony Award acceptance speech (Twitter)
Jonathan Groff's Tony Award acceptance speech (Twitter)
3 min read

Lead actor in the Musical ‘Merrily We Roll Along’ Jonathan Groff has won his first Tony Award for the musical revival and thanked everyone involved in the original ‘Spring Awakenings’ Broadway production, who not only made his dream come true but also inspired him to come out of the closet when he was 23.

Groff, 39, nominated for his third Tony after earlier nominations for Spring Awakenings and Hamilton, won the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and in his emotional acceptance speech thanked his co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Lindsay Mendez for their support.

“You are more than old friends,” Groff said to Mendez and Radcliffe, “You are soulmates, and I’m looking forward to watching each other change for the rest of our lives.


“Thank you to every member of the extraordinary cast for lifting this Merrily into the spiritual stratosphere. Thank you to everyone working inside the Hudson Theater. Thank you New York Theater Workshop.”

In a competitive category, Groff beat fellow nominees Brody Grant for The Outsiders, Dorian Harewood for The Notebook, Brian d’Arcy James for Days of Wine and Roses, and Olivier Award winner Eddie Redmayne for Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club.

The former Glee star spoke about growing up in a house surrounded by cornfields in Pennsylvania and thanked his family for allowing him to grow up and encourage his passions.

“I was raised by my parents, Jim and Julie Groff, and my brother David, and the three of them are sitting right there,” Groff continued.

“Thank you for letting me dress up like Mary Poppins when I was three.

“Thank you for letting me act out scenes from I Love Lucy on my 10th birthday. Thank you for always allowing my freak flag to fly without ever making me feel weird about it. Even if they didn’t always understand me, my family knew the life-saving power of fanning the flame of a young person’s passions without judgment.

“I walk through life with an open heart because you let me know that I could.”

Groff also had thanks for his school teachers and the musical that started his Broadway career.

“Thank you to all of my teachers back in Pennsylvania, especially Sue Fisher, who told me I could do this for a living.

“I moved to New York exactly 20 years ago this year, and I got a job waiting tables and became a volunteer for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS, and all I wanted was to be a part of this community.

“Thank you to everyone involved in Spring Awakening, who not only made that dream come true but also inspired me to come out of the closet when I was 23. I’m now 39, and musical theatre is still saving my soul.”

Jonathan Groff's acceptance speech (Twitter)
Jonathan Groff’s acceptance speech (Twitter)

Named best musical revival, ‘Merrily We Roll Along‘ is a new production of the 1981 version that was also based on the 1934 play of the same name. Merrily charts the turbulent relationship between three lifelong friends — played by Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff, and Lindsay Mendez — and traces every milestone of their lives for nearly two decades as they navigate success, show business and unbreakable bonds.

An equally emotional Daniel Radcliffe won his first Tony, cementing his stage career pivot by winning featured actor in a musical, his first trophy in five Broadway shows.

“This is one of the best experiences of my life,” Radcliffe said. “I will never have it as good again.” He also thanked his parents for playing Sondheim in the car growing up.


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For Groff, this was the culmination of a life of devotion to Broadway and the Tony Awards.

“Finally, I just want to say when I was a kid in Pennsylvania, I used to record the Tony Awards on a VHS tape and watch the performances over and over again,” Groff continued.

“To actually be able to be a part of making theatre in this city, and just as much to be able to watch the work of this incredible, incredible community, has been the greatest gift and pleasure of my life, and I thank you, and thank you so much for this honour.”

See Groff’s emotional acceptance speech below

Last Updated on Jun 17, 2024

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