Daniel Radcliffe lands first Tony Award for starring role in Merrily We Roll Along

Daniel Radcliffe lands first Tony Award for starring role in Merrily We Roll Along

British star Daniel Radcliffe has won his first Tony Award for his starring role in Merrily We Roll Along, during a ceremony dominated by first-time winners.

Oscar-winner Ariana DeBose, who choreographed and starred in the opening number of the ceremony, returned for the third time as host at the Lincoln Centre’s David H Koch Theatre in New York City.

After performing with the cast of Merrily We Roll Along on stage, Radcliffe appeared shocked to win the award for best actor in a featured role in a musical.

“This has been one of the best experiences of my life,” Radcliffe said.

The Harry Potter star thanked the late George Furth and Stephen Sondheim “for writing this unbelievable show” in 1981, the songs of which he described as “a gift to get to sing every night”.

The 34-year-old described it as an “honour” to share the stage with co-stars Lindsay Mendez and Jonathan Groff in the musical which charts the turbulent relationship between three lifelong friends.

2024 Tony Awards – Show
Daniel Radcliffe accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical for Merrily We Roll Along (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

“I will miss you so much, I don’t really have to act in this show, I just have to look at you and I feel everything, I will never have it this good again,” he said.

Radcliffe wished a happy Father’s Day to his parents who were in the audience, and declared his love for partner Erin Darke.

“My love Erin, you and our son are the best thing that has ever happened to me, thank you so much,” he added.

The star-studded ceremony saw Angelina Jolie and her daughter Vivienne, Nick Jonas, Nicole Scherzinger, Jennifer Hudson, Idina Menzel, and Cynthia Erivo among the attendees, alongside a surprise performance from Alicia Keys and Jay-Z.

“I had to do something crazy, this is my home town,” Keys said, after the pair joined the cast of her semi-autobiographical musical Hell’s Kitchen to perform their 2009 hit song Empire State Of Mind in tribute to New York.

2024 Tony Awards – Arrivals
Angelina Jolie and her daughter Vivienne arrive at the 77th Tony Awards (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

The ceremony saw a host of first-time winners, including Radcliffe’s Merrily We Roll Along co-star Groff who won best actor in a musical – beating British star Eddie Redmayne who was nominated for his role as Emcee in Cabaret At The Kit Kat Club.

During his speech, Groff said Radcliffe and Mendez were “more than old friends, you’re soul mates”, while also thanking British director Maria Friedman.

Earlier in the ceremony, Friedman had collected the gong for best revival of a musical alongside her producer sister Sonia.

The ceremony kicked off with a first-time win for Succession’s Jeremy Strong, who triumphed in the best actor in a play category for An Enemy Of The People.

In the revival of Henrik Ibsen’s production, Strong plays a doctor who refuses to be silenced when he discovers public baths to be contaminated.

“This play is a cry from the heart and an exhortation to face up to the difficult truth that are starring us all down right now, it’s been a privilege to give its warning and its hope to audiences,” he said on stage.

2024 Tony Awards – Show
Jeremy Strong accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a play for An Enemy Of The People (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Sarah Paulson also won her first Tony Award for best actress in a play for her role in Appropriate, a dark family drama-turned-comedy from playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.

The 49-year-old said it was “humbling to be included in the same breath” as her fellow nominees including Rachel McAdams, who was nominated for her role in the production of Mary Jane.

Paulson also paid a tribute to her partner Holland Taylor who was in the audience, telling the actress: “Thank you for loving me”.

Theatre veteran Kecia Lewis won her first Tony Award for featured actress in musical Hell’s Kitchen, which she performed earlier in the night.

2024 Tony Awards – Press Room
Kecia Lewis poses in the press room with the award for best performance by an actress in a featured role in a musical for Hell’s Kitchen (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

In an emotional on-stage speech, Lewis said: “Forty years ago yesterday I walked into the Imperial Theatre to begin my Broadway career at 18 years old.

“I have had so many amazing experiences and some heartbreaking ones too, I took a short break from showbusiness and raised a son as a single parent while trying to build a career.

“This moment is the one I dreamed for most of those 40 years, so I say to everyone who can hear my voice – don’t give up.”

The ceremony also saw Danya Taymor win best direction of a musical for The Outsiders, which was co-produced by Hollywood star Jolie and follows two weeks in the life of a 14-year-old boy.

In her speech, Taymor named actress Jolie among the “great women who have lifted me up”.

2024 Tony Awards – Show
Angelina Jolie on stage at the Tony Awards (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

The production later won the coveted best musical gong, which saw Jolie appear on stage.

Introducing the cast on stage for a musical number, Jolie said: “Suzie Hinton wrote The Outsiders in high school, a half a century later it still speaks to us. Society changes, but the experience of being an outsider is universal.

“To any young person, any person, feeling on the outside – you are not wrong to see what is unfair, you are not wrong to wish to find your own path.

“As the cast raise their voices, I hope it inspires many of you watching to value yours.”

US star Scherzinger, who recently triumphed at the Olivier Awards for her role in Sunset Boulevard, performed during the in-memoriam segment.

2024 Tony Awards – Show
Nicole Scherzinger singing What I Did for Love for the In Memoriam segment during the 77th Tony Awards (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Among those remembered were British stars Sir Michael Gambon, Bill Kenwright and Glenda Jackson alongside US actors Louis Gossett Jr and Ron Cephas Jones.

A separate tribute was paid to late Broadway star Chita Rivera, who died in January at the age of 91.

Dancers took to the stage to perform Rivera’s best-loved roles, including Rose in Bye Bye Birdie, Velma in Chicago, and Anita in West Side Story.

Host DeBose, who won an Oscar for playing Anita in the film adaptation of West Side Story, said “I literally would not be here if it weren’t for Chita Rivera.”