LGBTQ+ stars win big at 2024 Tony Awards

The ceremony was dominated by first-time winners, including Sarah Paulson, Jonathan Groff, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and more.

LGBTQ+ Tony Award winners Sarah Paulson and Jonathan Groff pose for a photo with their trophies. They are photographed from the waist up, facing each other with their mouths open.
Image: @sarahpaulsbean via X

The 2024 Tony Awards took place on Sunday, June 16, with LGBTQ+ stars among the night’s big winners. Hosted for the third year by queer American actor Ariana DeBose, the 77th annual ceremony celebrated the best of theatre with a fabulous event at New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Following her first-ever nomination, Sarah Paulson collected the Tony for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play. The 49-year-old was recognised for her work as Toni Lafayette in Appropriate.

Paulson attended the ceremony with her long-term partner and fellow actor Holland Taylor, who she also addressed in her acceptance speech, saying: “Thank you for loving me.”


Appropriate’s Branden Jacobs-Jenkins also won a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. The 39-year-old playwright is the mind behind the production, which follows the dysfunctional Lafayette family as they battle over their late father’s inheritance and estate – a former plantation home in Arkansas.

Jacobs-Jenkins is a fellow of both MacArthur and Guggenheim, as well as an Obie winner and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is married to actor and cabaret artist Cheo Bourne, with whom he also has a daughter.


Jonathan Groff was another LGBTQ+ star who won big, receiving the 2024 Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical. He was recognised for expertly playing Franklin Shepard in Merrily We Roll Along.

Like Paulson, this was Groff’s first Tony win, which he accepted with an emotional speech. Addressing his parents, he said: “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 judgement.”


Groff’s co-star and LGBTQ+ ally Daniel Radcliffe was also awarded for his role in Merrily We Roll Along, a production which emerged victorious from a total of four categories on the night.

Maleah Joi Moon similarly won for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for playing Ali in Hell’s Kitchen. She dedicated the award to her parents and thanked Alicia Keys, who is responsible for the show’s music, lyrics and arrangements. 


Queer playwright David Adjmi received one of the most prestigious honours of the night, winning Best Play for Stereophonics. The three-hour production premiered Off-Broadway in 2023 before transferring to Broadway’s John Golden Theatre in early 2024. It received nominations in 13 Tony categories – the most of any play in history – and emerged victorious from five.


Finally, Tom Scutt was another LGBTQ+ Tony Award winner for 2024, crowned for Best Scenic Design of a Musical. He was recognised for his work on Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, in which he aimed to balance “ferocity of spirit and queer joy”.


© 2024 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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