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Jonathan Groff’s star turn in “Merryly We Roll Along” earned him his first Tony

Jonathan Groff’s star turn in “Merryly We Roll Along” earned him his first Tony

Jonathan Groff, a gregarious entertainer who loves and loves Broadway, won his first Tony Award Sunday night, taking home the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for his star turn in a transformative revival of “Merryly We Roll Along.” “

The award recognizes industry recognition for a musical theater star who has also had success on screen: He voices the characters Kristoff and Sven in the Disney “Frozen” films, and had a recurring role on the TV series. “cheerful” He played King George in Hamilton, a performance that reached a wide audience through the live film (as well as a popular cast album).

Tony acknowledges Groff’s sympathetic portrayal of Franklin Shepard, the Juilliard-trained composer who abandoned his youthful idealism and his theatrical career and co-writer to become a successful film producer. Groff uses his considerable charm to give the character, who can seem like a sellout, more depth, and in the process he helps make the musical, which was a notorious flop in 1981, a huge success this time around. (Another key factor: One of Groff’s co-stars is Daniel Radcliffe, of “Harry Potter” fame.)

Groff’s performance, the scaffolding on which the production stands, has received widespread critical acclaim. Jesse Green, writing in The New York Times, described Groff as “thrillingly ferocious” and said “Groff, always a compelling actor, here rises to an unmissable level.” And Charles McNulty, Writing for the Los Angeles Times“The key to making this work — which is to say, making us care — is Groff’s performance, who humanizes Frank’s choices without sentimentalizing his story,” he said.

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Groff, 39, arrived on Broadway as an understudy in the short-lived 2005 play “In My Life.” He’s been nominated for a Tony Award every time he’s returned to Broadway since — in 2007 for the title role as a rebellious teen in the original production of “Spring Awakening,” and in 2016 for his peacocking performance in “Hamilton” and this year. For “cheerfully.”

The intervals between Broadway roles were filled with screen work – he starred in the live-action series “seek” And “Mind hunter“, as well as the “Frozen” films. He has also worked periodically Off-Broadway, including the first star role in the still-running 2019 revival of “Little Shop of Horrors,” with a variety of well-known performers in lead roles, at Theater West Side.

The revival of “Merryly,” directed by Maria Friedman, began life in New York (there have been previous seasons, with different performers, in Britain and Boston) with a 2022 off-Broadway production at the New York Theater Workshop. The Broadway theater opened last October; The final performance is scheduled for July 7.