Jonathan Groff Opens Up About the 'Life-Changing Effect' Musical Theater Has Had on Him: 'I Feel So Lucky'

The Tony winning 'Merrily We Roll Along' star is getting candid about his love for the stage

<p>Matthew Murphy</p> Jonathan Groff in

Matthew Murphy

Jonathan Groff in 'Merrily We Roll Along'

Jonathan Groff wasn't exactly holding his Tony Award close to him in the hours after his win.

"My favorite thing tonight has been to give it to people to take pictures with... happily," the actor, 39, said in an interview with The Broadway Show with Tamsen Fadal, filmed hours after his win from the famed annual Tonys afterparty held at the Caryle Hotel. "That's actually the joy of it!"

In fact, Groff told Editor in Chief Paul Wontorek that the award wasn't even with him as the two sat down to talk from the Café Carlyle. "Right now, the Tony is on a table a couple of rooms away from here," he said. "I think it's safe!"

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It helps that the bash — hosted by John Gore, Rick Miramontez and Jamie DuMont — was attended by a venerable who's-who of the Broadway community, many with trophies of their own including Sarah Paulson, Leslie Odom Jr., Kara Young, Billy Porter, Shaina Taub, Eddie Redmayne, Alex Edelman, Nikki M. James, Kecia Lewis and Groff's costar Daniel Radcliffe.

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Groff fits right in after taking home his first Tony on Sunday, June 16 for his leading actor in a musical role in the hit Broadway revival of Merrily We Roll Along. But the phrase "Tony winner Jonathan Groff" hadn't quite hit him yet when he was talking to Wontorek.

"That still hasn't sunk in," he admitted. "I think that's why I'm giving my Tony to people to take pictures with, because I'm like, 'What?' "

<p>Kristina Bumphrey/Variety via Getty</p> Jonathan Groff with his trophy at the 2024 Tony Awards

Kristina Bumphrey/Variety via Getty

Jonathan Groff with his trophy at the 2024 Tony Awards

Related: Jonathan Groff Overcome with Emotion After Getting Standing Ovation at First Merrily Show Since Tony Win

But Groff earned it, alright — not just for his emotional performance in Merrily, but for a string of other stage roles like his other two Tony-nominated performances on the boards, for 2007's Spring Awakening and 2015's Hamilton.

"All I wanted was to be a part of this community," Groff said in his speech. "To actually be able to be a part of making theater 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."

He continued that gratitude while speaking on The Broadway Show.

"I feel so lucky to be a working actor and to me, the opportunity to get on that stage is to acknowledge the incredible, life-changing effect that musical theater specifically has had on me," Groff said. "It changed my life."

<p>Theo Wargo/Getty</p> Jonathan Groff at the 2024 Tony Awards

Theo Wargo/Getty

Jonathan Groff at the 2024 Tony Awards

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Not only did the art form take Groff from the farmlands of Pennsylvania to the streets of New York City, but it also opened him up to fame in Hollywood, with a string of television and film successes to his name (see Frozen, Looking, Mindhunter and The Matrix Resurrections, among others). It gave him the confidence to come out, too.

Perhaps that's why the 2024 Tony Awards felt so "important" to Groff. "I had my mom and my dad and my brother next to me and it felt profound and big," he said. "I was expecting it to feel more like a party.... And then tonight I felt, 'Oh my God, I'm at the Tonys!' "

The Broadway Show with Tamsen Fadal airs weekends in syndication (check local listings).

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