Lancaster native Jonathan Groff wins his first Tony Award

Jonathan Groff poses on the red carpet at Disney’s D23 Expo in 2019. PHOTO COURTESY OF WALT DISNEY TELEVISION / FLICKR

Katelyn Auty
Head Copy Editor
Social Media Editor
Associate Sports Editor

On Sunday night, Lancaster native Jonathan Groff won his first Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for “Merrily We Roll Along.”

In “Merrily We Roll Along,” Groff plays Franklin Sheppard, a musical composer who chases theatrical dreams with two lifelong friends, played by Lindsay Mendez and Daniel Radcliffe. The show tells the story of their deteriorating friendship over 20 years in reverse chronological order.

The show was a quick-closing flop when it debuted on Broadway in 1981. However, this revival has become one of the hottest-selling tickets this past year, a fact that many critics have attributed to the performances of Groff, Mendez, and Radcliffe. 

For those who are not theatre fans, Groff winning a Tony is the theatre equivalent of Leonardo DiCaprio finally winning an Oscar.

This is the third time Groff has been nominated for a Tony. He was nominated first in 2007 for his starring role as Melchior Gabor in “Spring Awakening” and then again in 2016 for his performance as King George III in “Hamilton.” 

During his acceptance speech, Groff thanked family and teachers who have supported him along the way. He shared “I grew up in a house surrounded by cornfields in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I was raised by my parents, Jim and Julie Groff, and my brother David, and the three of them were sitting right there… 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 judgment.” 

He also took time to thank those who have guided him along the way, shouting out his former teacher Sue Fisher, saying she encouraged him to pursue a career on Broadway.

A teary-eyed Groff recalled growing up in Pennsylvania and longing to be part of the Broadway community, remarking “I just want to say when I was a kid in Pennsylvania, I used to record the Tony Awards on a VHS tape and watch the performances over and over again, and 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. And I thank you and thank you so much for this honor.”

“Merrily We Roll Along” did well at the Tony Awards, winning four of the seven awards it was nominated for, including Best Revival of a Musical. Radcliffe also won his first Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for his role as Charley Kringas.

Groff will star in “Merrily We Roll Along” at the Hudson Theatre until the production closes on July 7. 

The Enola Low-Grade Trail provides breathtaking views

The Enola Low-Grade Trail looks peaceful as the sun sets. JAMIE HUGHES / SNAPPER

Jamie Hughes
Associate Photography Editor

Stretching from Quarryville to Turkey Hill, the Enola Low-Grade Trail is a walking and bicycling trail with a low grade. Low-grade trails are highly forgiving due to their lack of heavy slopes, a feature left over from the trail’s past as a railway line. However, the real attractions here are the two trestle bridges that formerly served the railway but are now developed for pedestrian traffic.

These bridges are very tall and offer a stunning view of their surroundings. One is located near Martic Forge and overlooks a scene of tree-covered hills and the Pequea Creek. The other is in Safe Harbor and overlooks the Susquehanna River and the Safe Harbor hydroelectric dam. The latter bridge also crosses over the point where the Conestoga River flows into the Susquehanna.

The Enola Low-Grade Trail has multiple entry points, each with parking. If you want to visit both trestle bridges, I recommend two of the lots; the one in Safe Harbor and the other on Red Hill Road. For either option, I suggest you travel the trail by bicycle, as the bridges are roughly four miles apart. The path between the bridges is mostly wooded on each side and features tall rock walls in parts, some of which are set up to be used by rock climbers.

If you want to see the Safe Harbor bridge first, go to the parking lot in Safe Harbor. This lot is directly underneath the bridge, and you will need to climb a long set of stairs to get to the bridge deck. To get to the Martic Forge Trestle from Safe Harbor, walk or bike towards the east away from Safe Harbor. 

The other option is to come from the opposite direction and see the Martic Forge Trestle first. To do this, park instead in the Red Hill Road Trailhead lot, which is along Route 324 close to the town of Martic Forge. Now, this ride will be slightly longer, as there is about a mile between the Red Hill Road lot and the Martic Forge Trestle, making a full trip to both trestles roughly ten miles round trip from the parking lot. However, I find this to be the more satisfying trip, as it saves the best views for last.

Overall, the Enola Low-Grade Trail is a must-see for those living in or visiting Lancaster County. The trail provides a way for people to appreciate the county’s natural beauty and get some exercise at the same time. The scenic vistas from both bridges allow for a nice break from your ride, and the view at sunset from the Safe Harbor bridge is stunning, especially in autumn. My best time here was coming to the Safe Harbor Trestle on a November evening, and watching the sun set on the Susquehanna from the bridge. Now, the trail closes at dusk and is not lit, so if you intend to do this please have a safe, quick way of returning to your car!

While the distance between the bridges may seem daunting, the low grade allows bicycle riders to maintain a steady pace along the trail. For me, the miles breezed by on my bike. For students at Millersville University who drive and own a bike, this is a perfect local getaway.

For more information on the Enola Low-Grade Trail, see the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership’s webpage for the trail at https://susquehannagreenway.org/land-trails/enola-low-grade-rail-trail/

NBA finals preview

Current minority owner Mark Cuban celebrates with the Mavericks’ bench during game six of the 2011 NBA finals against the Miami Heat. 2011 was the last time the Dallas Mavericks were in the NBA finals. PHOTO COURTESY OF DANNY BOLLINGER / FLICKR

Ben Staker
Sports Editor

The NBA Finals matchup is now set with the Dallas Mavericks taking on the Boston Celtics. For the Mavericks, this will be their first finals appearance since they beat the Miami Heat in 2011. As for the Celtics, they’ll be returning to the finals for the second time in three years.

Coming into this series, there are still many interesting storylines to be concluded. Will Kyrie Irving beat his former team in the finals?  Will Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown finally get over the hump and bring home a championship? Or will the Mavericks role players continue their hot streak? There’s a lot riding on this series for both sides as the NBA looks to crown their sixth different champion in as many years.

To get here, both teams had very different stories. The Celtics ran the Eastern Conference and finished with a record of 64-18 and the conference’s number one seed. They carried their regular season success into the playoffs by defeating the Heat and Cavaliers in five games each, as well as an Eastern Conference Finals sweep of the Indiana Pacers. After amassing an impressive 12-2 record in the first three rounds of the playoffs they’ll enter the finals as the favorites.

In the Dallas Mavericks case, they have had a different road. They finished the regular season with a 50-32 record, which earned them the Western Conference’s number five seed. They defeated the Clippers and number one-seeded Thunder in six games and the Minnesota Timberwolves in five games. The team didn’t have the luxury of home-court advantage in any playoff series they’ve played so far, and that won’t change for the finals. 

These teams match up well against each other. Despite the narratives you might hear coming into the series, Tatum and Brown will show up in the big moments. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have already proved they can rise to the occasion for the Mavericks. I think this series will come down to which team can get a signature game from one of their role players.

As of late, P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford have been able to complement Doncic and Irving. If they’re able to keep this good string of basketball going they can beat the Celtics. However, players like Derrick White, Jrue Holiday, or even Al Horford can have that same kind of impact on the Celtics. Whichever team can get the most out of their depth players will win the series.

I like the Mavericks’ depth more than the Celtics, so I’m picking them for the series in seven games.

Game one of the NBA Finals is set to tip off on Thursday, June 6 at 8:30 p.m.

PWHL Minnesota becomes the first team to win the Walter Cup

PWHL Minnesota leaves the ice after their win against PWHL Montreal on Jan. 6, 2024. PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Katelyn Auty
Head Copy Editor
Social Media Editor
Associate Sports Editor

Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) Minnesota has made history as the first team to hoist the Walter Cup. After an action-packed inaugural season, it all came down to a winner-takes-all game at the Tsongas Center in Massachusetts, PWHL Boston’s home stadium. After a hard-fought series, Minnesota ultimately became the first to win the Walter Cup after beating Boston 3-0.

The first period was uneventful, with no goals from either team. Minnesota forward Liz Schepers opened the scoring in the second period with her first-ever PWHL goal, putting Minnesota on the board and giving them a 1-0 lead. The third period saw a goal from Minnesota forward Michela Cava, bringing the score to 2-0. Kendall Coyne Schofield, captain of PWHL Minnesota, scored an empty-netter with just two minutes left in the game, sealing their victory and shutting out Boston. 

Directly following the game was the presentation ceremony for the Ilana Kloss Playoff MVP Award and, of course, the Walter Cup. Presented by Ilana Kloss herself, Taylor Heise was named the Ilana Kloss Playoff MVP. The Walter family and Billie Jean King, former number one tennis player and champion for women’s sports, presented the Walter Cup to Minnesota captain Kendall Coyne Schofield.

“This is the new pinnacle of women’s hockey and to be on top is the best feeling in the world and to be on top with this group is extremely special,” shared Coyne Schofield after the ceremony. 

Although the season is over, there are many exciting things for PWHL fans to look forward to in the coming months. The PWHL has announced that the second annual draft will take place on June 10 at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It has also been announced that team names and logos for the six teams will be introduced in August of this year.

Overall, this inaugural season has paved the way for what will hopefully be a very successful league. This may be the end of the inaugural season, but this is just the beginning for the PWHL.