First-Time Tony Nominee Daniel Radcliffe Hopes to Star in Another Musical | Playbill

Tony Awards First-Time Tony Nominee Daniel Radcliffe Hopes to Star in Another Musical

The stage and screen actor picked up a Tony nomination for Merrily We Roll Along on Broadway.

Daniel Radcliffe Michaelah Reynolds

The hit revival of Merrily We Roll Along marks Daniel Radcliffe's fifth Broadway outing, following impressive turns in revivals of Equus and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying as well as the Broadway premieres of Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan and Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell, and Gordon Farrell's The Lifespan of a Fact. Although he received Drama Desk nominations for his work in Equus, How to Succeed, and Inishmaan, Merrily marks the first time the actor has earned a Tony Award nomination.

Radcliffe, in fact, is currently nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical, a category that also features Roger Bart (Back to the Future: the Musical), Joshua Boone (The Outsiders), Brandon Victor Dixon (Hell's Kitchen), Sky Lakota-Lynch (The Outsiders), and Steven Skybell (Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club). Merrily, it should be noted, picked up a total of seven nominations, including one for Best Revival of a Musical as well as those for co-stars Jonathan Groff and Lindsay Mendez, director Maria Friedman, sound designer Kai Harada, and orchestrator Jonathan Tunick.

On April 30, the morning the 2024 Tony nominations were announced, Harry Potter star Radcliffe chatted with Playbill about his first Tony nod and how he prepares to sing Stephen Sondheim's tongue-twisting "Franklin Shepard, Inc." every night. Read the brief interview with the actor—who brings humor, charm, and a palpable sense of longing to the role of Charley Kringas—below.

Lindsay Mendez, Jonathan Groff, and Daniel Radcliffe in Merrily We Roll Along Matthew Murphy

How did you find out about the nomination today?
Daniel Radcliffe: I was texted by one of our castmates. Leana [Rae Concepcion] was the first person to text me. I was just in the process of finishing breakfast and putting our son down for his morning nap. I'd seen Jonathan [Groff] had already been nominated because I turned on the CBS [program], so I saw them announce those ones early. I texted him, but then I was in the middle of doing baby stuff!

No one loves musical theatre more than Leana in our show. She was very, very excited about the nominations coming out. She had said to me the other day, "Are you OK if I text you about it?" I was like, "Yes."

What was your initial reaction when you found out you had been nominated?
Obviously, hugely excited and honored. I'm honestly so proud of the show that we do and the work that we all do in it. For all three of us to be nominated, and for the show to be nominated, and [director] Maria [Friedman], it all feels incredibly special.

What does it mean to you to receive the nomination, especially in such a jam-packed season as this one?
It's just a huge honor. It's an honor to be nominated alongside everybody else in my category. For our show to be nominated alongside all these other shows, it's going to be a very excited day in the theatre today.

Had you been a Sondheim fan before the show?
My parents played a lot of [his work]. I thought it was completely normal to have musicals be the soundtrack to all your road trips as a kid. That's what my parents played a lot of. It wasn't all Sondheim, but there was a lot of Sondheim in there. Company was actually the one. I've never seen Company, but I know the score so well because we listened to—I might get the year wrong—the 1996 Sam Mendes production in London with Adrian Lester as Bobby was played a lot. But obviously, Into the Woods was played a lot. Sweeney Todd was played a lot. As well as a lot of Chicago, a lot of Cabaret. Yeah, a good mix.

Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff, and Natalie Wachen in Merrily We Roll Along Matthew Murphy

You have probably the biggest tongue twister of the musical. How do you prepare for that every night—or do you just go for it?
I wish that I could tell you that I just went for it! At this point, it is more superstition than anything else, but I do run it pretty incessantly. After we do the prologue, the opening number of the show, and the rest of the cast goes into "That Frank," I've got like a 20-minute break before I come on to do the next scene, which leads into "Franklin Shepard." And, so, I spend a lot of time in that period just running it to myself. I regard myself as having, like, relaxed slightly since our Off-Broadway run [at New York Theatre Workshop]. When I was doing it Off-Broadway, I was also running the number a lot when I was at home, and I have now managed to at least stop doing that.

What do you think you've learned about yourself playing this role?
I don't know that I have a good answer for that. [Laughs] I think I learn things about myself less from [playing] the role itself, and [more] just doing theatre and just doing eight shows a week, doing stuff live. Doing a long run of something is its own challenge, going through the natural kind of peaks and valleys of a run where sometimes you're feeling great about it. Sometimes you feel like, "Oh God, you've done it a 100 times." And then [you're] finding a way to make it feel fresh again. I always feel like I come away from the stage a better actor than [before]. That's where I come to learn about myself as an actor, I think.

Would you be open to doing another musical at some point?
Absolutely. I think it will be a while, honestly. I think it's been 10 years since I did How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. I don't necessarily want it to be 10 years again. [Musicals] have been some of the most special experiences of my professional career, but also some of the hardest. I've been really lucky as well in that both of them that I've done, I've ended up absolutely loving. I feel like I want to be really sure that that's going to be the case before I do one again. I've always had that experience, and I've been lucky enough to have it. And hopefully I'll be able to, you know, find others that I love as much down the line.

Maybe the three of you can do Follies in a couple of years.
Lindsay [Mendez] suggested that in an interview the other day. That's actually not a Sondheim show I know, but clearly I have to look into it.

Meet 2024's 1st Time Tony Nominees

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