Groundhog Day (musical)

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Groundhog Day
The Musical
Groundhog Day Broadway Musical Artwork.jpg
Original Broadway production artwork
Music Tim Minchin
Lyrics Tim Minchin
Book Danny Rubin
Basis Groundhog Day
by Harold Ramis
Danny Rubin
Premiere 16 August 2016: The Old Vic, London
Productions 2016 London
2017 Broadway
Awards Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical

Groundhog Day is a musical comedy with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, and a book by Danny Rubin. Based on the 1993 film of the same name written by Rubin and Harold Ramis, the musical made its world premiere at The Old Vic in London in summer 2016 and opened at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway on 17 April 2017. The plot centres around Phil Connors, an arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania,[1] finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again.[2]

Background[edit]

The musical is based on the 1993 film Groundhog Day.[3] The film itself starred Bill Murray as Phil Connors and Andie MacDowell as Rita Hanson and was produced on a budget of $14.6 million, earning over $70 million in domestic box office receipts.[4] In 2006 it was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."[5] It was voted at number 8 in the top ten greatest films in the fantasy genre by the American Film Institute in 2006.[6]

In August 2003, Stephen Sondheim, when asked what his next project might be, said that he was interested in the idea of a musical adaption of Groundhog Day.[7] However, in a 2008 live chat, he said that "to make a musical of Groundhog Day would be to gild the lily. It cannot be improved."[8] In 2009, during an interview with MTV News, Harold Ramis revealed that Danny Rubin was working on the book for a musical version of the film.[9] Rubin affirmed he had been working on a concept of a Groundhog Day musical for some time, and already had about 12 song ideas (whittled down from 30) along with dialog, scenes, and other production aspects. Around 2012, Rubin had become stuck and felt it impossible he could make the musical happen as he believed he could not progress without the collaboration of a composer.[10] Shortly after reaching this conclusion, Rubin was called by director Matthew Warchus to introduce him to Tim Minchin, who had just finished writing the songs for Matilda the Musical. Rubin felt Minchin's work in Matilda proved he "can write songs that are funny and moving and smart and beautiful," and the three started working on adapting Rubin's book.[10]

The trio formally announced their partnership towards the musical in January 2014.[11] A workshop was held in London on 12 July, and Minchin performed an early version of a song from the show; "Seeing You", during his concerts at KOKO (December 2013 along with "Night Will Come"), Hyde Park (July 2014), the steps at Sydney Opera House (February 2015).[12]

On 2 April 2015, the musical was officially confirmed and it was announced that the show would receive its Broadway premiere in March 2017.[13] It was later announced the musical would make its world premiere during 2016[14] at The Old Vic theatre in London,[15] as part of director Matthew Warchus' debut season as artistic director of the theatre.[citation needed]

The musical has a book by Danny Rubin, based on his and Harold Ramis's original screenplay,[16] and is directed by Matthew Warchus,[17] with choreography by Peter Darling[18] and design by Rob Howell.[19] The show features an original score and lyrics by Australian comedian and lyricist Tim Minchin.[20] The production reunites most of the creative team behind the 2010 musical Matilda.[21]

Speaking about the musical, director Warchus said that it's "a show full of intellect, integrity and wit, insight, humor—and of course romance."[22] Minchin, who wrote the music and lyrics for the adaptation, added, "Our version of Groundhog Day is going to be both instantly recognisable, and utterly different" and that "The central conceit is perfectly suited to the theatre... it has the potential to be complex, dark, visually fascinating, and thematically rich, whilst still being a joyous romantic comedy with cool tunes and lots of gags."[23]

Productions[edit]

The Old Vic, London (2016)[edit]

The show's premiere production was scheduled to begin previews at The Old Vic in London, on 11 July 2016, with its official opening night coming on 16 August, booking for a limited period until 17 September 2016,[24] with an extra performance added on 19 September 2016.

Tickets went on general sale on 12 April 2016, with priority booking from 10 March.[25] In January 2016, it was announced that Andy Karl would play the lead role of Phil.[26] Other notable casting for the show includes Carlyss Peer as Rita and Eugene McCoy as Larry.

On 8 June 2016, Minchin performed the musical's finale number, "Seeing You", with cast members Jack Shalloo, Carolyn Maitland, Georgina Hagen and Kieran Jae as backup singers at The South Bank Sky Arts Awards at the Savoy Hotel in London. Minchin also performed the song solo with the BBC Concert Orchestra at the BBC Proms in the Park in Hyde Park on 11 September 2016.

Initial previews were cancelled due to the technical complexities of the show, with the intention to restart on 15 July.[27] The first preview became an open final dress rehearsal with previews beginning instead on 16 July. [28] The running time for the London production at The Old Vic was 2 hours and 25 minutes (including an interval of 20 minutes).

The production was nominated for 8 Laurence Olivier Awards. On 9 April 2017, it won the Olivier Awards for Best New Musical and Best Actor in a Musical for Andy Karl. At the ceremony, Minchin performed a song from the show, "Hope", with some of the London cast.

Broadway (2017)[edit]

The musical had been scheduled to transfer to Broadway, opening on 9 March 2017, following previews from 23 January 2017.[29] However, Playbill reported on 22 June 2016, that the musical "may not make it to Broadway in January 2017" because the lead producer, Scott Rudin, had withdrawn from the production.[30] After the opening night of the production at The Old Vic in London, The New York Times revealed that the production was still intended to transfer to Broadway, produced by André Ptaszynski and Lia Vollack with Whistle Pig and Columbia Live Stage.[31]

The musical premiered on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre officially on 17 April 2017.[32] On 19 October 2016, it was announced that Andy Karl will reprise his role from the London production as Phil Connors with tickets going on sale from 2 November 2016. Previews will begin 16 March 2017. The full cast was announced in December 2016, which included Barrett Doss as Rita.[33] The first scheduled preview on 16 March 2017, had to be stopped after approximately 15 minutes due to technical difficulties with the revolving stage. The performance continued as a concert for the rest of act one, with a sing through of 6 songs after intermission using no technical components.[34][35]

On the preview on the evening of 14 April, Karl injured himself onstage during the number "Philanthropy" tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, but he continued the performance with a cane. The matinee on 15 April was cancelled to allow his understudy Andrew Call (who usually played Gus) to rehearse for the evening performance.[36] Despite his injury, Karl returned for the production's opening night on 17 April, receiving high praise in the reviews. He performed four performances in the week commencing 17 April to recover from his injury.[37]

On 21 April, Andie MacDowell saw the show,[38] and on 8 August, Bill Murray attended a performance with his brother Brian Doyle-Murray, who played Buster Green in the film. Bill Murray returned to watch the performance the following night.[39]

The Broadway production closed on 17 September 2017, after 176 performances and 32 previews. An 18-month national tour beginning in 2018 had been planned.[40] On 8 January 2018, Tim Minchin posted to his Twitter account that "Sadly (despicably) there’ll be no US tour".[41]

Synopsis[edit]

Act I[edit]

Phil Connors, an arrogant TV weatherman, is dreading his trip to Punxsutawney, PA to do a report on the annual Groundhog Day Ceremony, believing it is beneath him. As his weather van arrives in town, the people of Punxsutawney are hoping that the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, will not see his shadow signifying an end to winter and the start of spring ("There Will Be Sun"). The next morning, Phil wakes on 2 February full of scorn for everything and everyone he encounters on his way to Gobbler's Knob where the annual ceremony takes place ("Small Town, U.S.A."). When he arrives on location he meets up with cameraman Larry and his new producer Rita before the groundhog's forecast of six more weeks of winter ("Punxsutawney Phil"). While Phil and Rita eat lunch at a diner, Larry packs the van preparing for their departure, and the sheriff enters and tells them that a bad snowstorm has closed every road out of town, keeping them from leaving. Rita makes an entry in her journal before the Groundhog Day banquet and the townspeople remain ever hopeful for the coming spring ("February 2nd/There Will Be Sun"). The next morning, Phil wakes on 2 February and he confusedly relives his morning over again, including a run-in with an obnoxious high school classmate Ned Ryerson ("Small Town, U.S.A."). Phil begrudgingly reports on the ceremony again which has the same result as the day before ("Punxsutawney Phil") and Rita enjoys the festivities after commenting in her journal about Phil's odd behavior ("February 2nd/There Will Be Sun"). The next morning, Phil wakes on 2 February and fearing a mental breakdown, consults every doctor and healer in town, none of whom are medically qualified, who suggest a variety of ridiculous remedies ("Stuck"). Phil decides to self-medicate at the bar instead, and finds camaraderie with two drunks who are stuck in a rut and live every day just the same as the day before. The trio take advantage of not having a future and drive recklessly on train tracks and evade cops before they are caught and Phil is arrested ("Nobody Cares"). The next morning, Phil wakes on 2 February with a newfound skip in his step as he openly treats others terribly, does as he pleases, and uses his repeated days to meet and reintroduce himself to Nancy Taylor, a local woman that he tricks into sleeping with him ("Philandering"). After settling into a hedonistic groove, Phil sets his sights on Rita, determined to sleep with her. He spends several days trying to manufacture her perfect date, and grows more manic as he invariably keeps failing. With success never in sight, Phil wonders why he couldn't repeat a better day, Rita wonders if she'll ever find someone she could love, and the townspeople wonder if they will ever do all the things they've been putting off, waiting for some idealized future ("One Day"). The next morning, Phil wakes on 2 February and smashes his alarm clock.

Act II[edit]

Act Two opens at yet another Groundhog Day Ceremony as Nancy Taylor contemplates her behaviour patterns and how she presents herself ("Playing Nancy"). Phil arrives at Gobbler's Knob for his broadcast and interrupts his report to shoot Punxsutawney Phil and then himself. The next morning, Phil wakes on 2 February and exhausts every way to kill himself, vowing not to give up ("Hope") that he will one day successfully commit suicide. Phil returns to the diner and with nothing to lose, tells Rita what is happening, proving his claims by spouting off facts about the townspeople, predicting their actions, and finally telling Rita things he has learned about her ("Everything About You"). Intrigued, Rita spends the day with Phil, learning various things he's done about town and theorizing what she would do in his shoes ("If I Had My Time Again"). That evening Rita goes to the B&B to see what happens when his day starts over, but falls asleep first, with "Everything About You (Reprise)".

The next morning, Phil wakes on 2 February alone again and decides to engage with the townspeople and better himself by learning piano ("Philosopher"). Phil learns that Ned's wife has died and later that evening Phil finds a homeless man dead in the park, which he spends several days trying to prevent before accepting that some things are inevitable ("Night Will Come"). On a new Groundhog Day, Phil delivers a surprisingly profound broadcast before running about town all day helping townspeople ("Philanthropy"). Rita arrives at the banquet and overhears everyone in town raving about what Phil has done for them that day, only to discover he is also playing in the band ("Punxsutawney Rock"). In a bachelor auction, Rita buys a dance with Phil and kisses him, both feeling that they are only just learning what the other is like ("Seeing You"). The next morning, Phil wakes to find Rita still in his room and a fresh layer of snow covering the ground outside. Though overjoyed at finally being able to leave, Phil agrees to spend the day with Rita. They start their day with watching the sun rise in Punxsutawney on 3 February ("Dawn").

Musical numbers[edit]

"February 2" and "Everything About You" were originally titled "Second of the Second" and "I Know Everything" respectively in the 2016 London production.

Orchestration[edit]

London (2016) - 11 musicians Broadway (2017) - 12 musicians[42]
  • Reed 1: Flute, Alto Sax, Baritone Sax
  • Reed 2: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Tenor Sax
  • Reed 1: Piccolo, Flute, Alto Sax, Baritone Sax
  • Reed 2: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Tenor Sax
  • Trumpet 1 (doubling Flugelhorn and piccolo trumpet)
  • Trumpet 2 (doubling cornet and flugelhorn)
  • Trombone (doubling Euphonium and bass trombone)
  • Trumpet 1 (doubling Flugelhorn)
  • Trumpet 2 (doubling Cornet)
  • Trombone (tenor and bass doubling Euphonium)
  • Drum Kit/Percussion
  • Drum and cajon
  • Acoustic guitar 1 (doubling electric guitar)
  • Acoustic guitar 2 (doubling electric bass)
  • Electric bass (doubling upright bass)
  • Guitar 1 (lead - acoustic and electric)
  • Acoustic Guitar 2 (doubling Violin)
  • Acoustic Guitar 3 (doubling Cello)
  • Bass (acoustic and electric)
  • 2 Keyboards
  • 2 Keyboards

Original Broadway Cast Recording[edit]

The original Broadway cast album was recorded in March 2017 and was released digitally on 21 April and in stores 5 May 2017.[43][44] The album is available from Broadway / Masterworks and is produced by Chris Nightingale, Michael Croiter and Tim Minchin.[45] The songs "Hope", "If I Had My Time Again" and "Seeing You" were released prematurely to download for iTunes, Amazon.com and Spotify.

Groundhog Day The Musical
Groundhog Day The Musical Original Broadway Cast Recording cover.jpg
Soundtrack album cast recording by Original Broadway Cast of Groundhog Day
Released 21 April 2017 (2017-04-21)
Length 76:40
Label Masterworks Broadway

All tracks written by Tim Minchin (additional music and orchestrations by Chris Nightingale).

No.TitleLength
1."Overture"1:04
2."There Will Be Sun"2:33
3."Day One"10:20
4."Day Two"4:26
5."Day Three"1:40
6."Stuck"3:34
7."Nobody Cares"5:13
8."Philandering"4:50
9."One Day"8:46
10."Entr'acte"0:55
11."Playing Nancy"3:14
12."Hope"5:30
13."Everything About You"1:51
14."If I Had My Time Again"4:59
15."Everything About You (reprise)"1:00
16."Night Will Come"3:48
17."Philanthropy"5:03
18."Punxsutawney Rock"1:39
19."Seeing You"6:32
Total length:76:40

Characters and original cast[edit]

The characters and original cast:

Character London (2016)[46] Broadway (2017)[47]
Phil Connors Andy Karl
Rita Hanson Carlyss Peer Barrett Doss
Larry Eugene McCoy Vishal Vaidya
Ned Ryerson Andrew Langtree John Sanders
Nancy Taylor Georgina Hagen Rebecca Faulkenberry
Mrs Lancaster Julie Jupp Heather Ayers
Freddie Kieran Jae Gerard Canonico
Debbie Jenny O'Leary Katy Geraghty
Joelle Carolyn Maitland Jenna Rubaii
Ralph Jack Shalloo Raymond J Lee
Gus Andrew Spillett Andrew Call
Doris Emma Lindars Rheaume Crenshaw
Buster Mark Pollard Josh Lamon
Sheriff Antonio Magro Sean Montgomery
Deputy Roger Dipper Joseph Medeiros
Jeff Ste Clough Travis Waldschmidt
Jenson Leo Andrew William Parry
Chubby Man David Birch Michael Fatica
Piano Teacher Kirsty Malpass Tari Kelly
Lady Storm Chaser Vicki Lee Taylor Taylor Iman Jones
Swing Leanne Pinder Camden Gonzales
Damien Poole Jordan Grubb
Lisa Mathieson Natalie Wisdom
Spencer Stafford N/A
Swing / Hot Dog Vendor * Matthew Malthouse Kevin Bernard

* Matthew Malthouse covered the role of the Hot Dog Vendor as part of his Swing track in the London production. The role has been renamed for the Broadway production, but according to cast members' social media, Kevin Bernard is still considered part of the Swing Team for the production.[48]

The Dance Captain and Assistant Dance Captain for the Old Vic production were Leanne Pinder and Damien Poole, respectively. For the Broadway Production, Camden Gonzales will be the Dance Captain while Michael Fatica will be the Assistant Dance Captain.

Three members of the original cast at the Old Vic have also appeared in Matilda. Matthew Malthouse played Rudolpho/the Escapologist in the world premiere cast at the RSC in December 2010 and reprised his role as the Escapologist in the original West End cast a year later, while Antonio Magro appeared in the West End production as Children's Entertainer/Sergei, during which time he also understudied the principal role of Miss Trunchbull.[49][50] Leanne Pinder was a swing in both the West End and Broadway productions (she also took on the roles of resident and assistant choreographer, respectively).[51]

Critical reception[edit]

The original London production was received positively, opening to a string of five-star reviews.[52]

The Broadway production also received mostly positive reviews, particularly praising Andy Karl for returning to the production despite his earlier injury.[53]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original London production[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result Ref
2016 Evening Standard Theatre Awards Best Musical Nominated [54]
[55]
Best Musical Performance Andy Karl Nominated
Best Design Rob Howell Nominated
BroadwayWorld UK / West End Awards Theatrical Event of the Year Won [56]
Best New Production of a Musical Nominated
Best Actor in a New Production of a Musical Andy Karl Nominated
Best Actress in a New Production of a Musical Carlyss Peer Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a New Production of a Musical Andrew Langtree Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a New Production of a Musical Georgina Hagen Nominated
Best Direction of a New Production of a Musical Matthew Warchus Won
Best Choreography of a New Production of a Play or Musical Peter Darling Nominated
Best Lighting of a New Production of a Play or Musical Hugh Vanstone Won
Best Costume Design of a New Production of a Play or Musical Rob Howell Nominated
Best Set Design of a New Production of a Play of Musical Won
2017 Critics' Circle Theatre Award Best Musical (New or Revival) Won [57]
Whatsonstage.com Awards Best New Musical Nominated [58]
Best Actor in a Musical Andy Karl Nominated
Best Director Matthew Warchus Nominated
Best Choreography Peter Darling Nominated
Best Set Design Rob Howell Nominated
Best Lighting Design Hugh Vanstone Nominated
Best Video Design Andrzej Goulding Nominated
Laurence Olivier Awards Best New Musical Won [59]
Best Actor in a Musical Andy Karl Won
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical Andrew Langtree Nominated
Best Director Matthew Warchus Nominated
Best Theatre Choreographer Peter Darling and Ellen Kane Nominated
Best Costume Design Rob Howell Nominated
Best Set Design Nominated
Best Lighting Design Hugh Vanstone Nominated

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result Ref
2017 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated [60]
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Andy Karl Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Danny Rubin Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Matthew Warchus Nominated
Best Original Score Tim Minchin Nominated
Best Choreography Peter Darling and Ellen Kane Nominated
Best Scenic Design in a Musical Rob Howell Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Andy Karl Won [61]
Drama League Awards Best Musical Nominated [62]
Best Musical Performance Andy Karl Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards Outstanding New Broadway Musical Nominated [63]
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Andy Karl Won
Outstanding Director of a Musical Matthew Warchus Nominated
Outstanding Book of a Musical Danny Rubin Nominated
Outstanding New Score of a Musical Tim Minchin Nominated
Broadway.com Audience Awards Favorite Leading Actor in a Musical Andy Karl Nominated [64]
Favorite Comedic Performance Nominated
Chita Rivera Awards Outstanding Choreography in a Broadway Show Peter Darling and Ellen Kane Nominated [65]

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External links[edit]