Groundhog Day Musical

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Groundhog Day 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 2016 and will transfer to the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway from 17 April 2017. The plot centres around Phil Connors, an arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman[1] who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania,[2] finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again.[3]

Background

The musical is based on the 1993 film Groundhog Day.[4] The film itself was produced on a budget of $14.6 million, earning over $70 million in domestic box office receipts.[5] In 2006 it was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”[6] It was voted at number 8 in the top ten greatest films in the fantasy genre by the American Film Institute.[7]

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.[8] 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.”[9] 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.[10] Rubin affirmed he had been working on a concept of a Groundhog Day musical for some time, and already had about 12 song ideas (weened 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.[11] Shortly after reaching this conclusion, Rubin was called by director Matthew Warchus to introduce him to lyricist Tim Minchin, who had just completed his composition 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.[11]

The trio formally announced their partnership towards the musical in January 2014.[12] A workshop was held in London on 12 July, and Minchin performed a song from the show, “Seeing You”, during his concerts in KOKO, Hyde Park, the steps at Sydney Opera House.[13]

On 2 April 2015, the musical was officially confirmed and it was announced that the show would receive its Broadway premiere in March 2017.[14] It was later announced the musical would make its world premiere during 2016[15] at The Old Vic theatre in London,[16] as part of director Matthew Warchus’ debut season as artistic director of the theatre.[17]

The musical has a book by Danny Rubin, based on his and Harold Ramis’s original screenplay,[18] and is directed by Matthew Warchus,[19] with choreography by Peter Darling[20] and design by Rob Howell.[21] The show features an original score and lyrics by Australian comedian and lyricist Tim Minchin.[22] The production reunites most of the creative team behind the 2010 musical Matilda.[23]

Speaking about the musical, director Warchus said that it’s “a show full of intellect, integrity and wit, insight, humor—and of course romance.”[24] Minchin, who wrote the music and lyrics for the adaption, 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.”[25]

Productions

World premiere London production (2016)

The show’s premiere production was scheduled to begin previews at the 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,[26] with an extra performance added on 19 September 2016. Initial previews were cancelled due to the technical complexities of the show, with the intention to restart on the 15th July.[27] The first preview became an open final dress rehearsal with previews beginning instead on the 16th July. Tickets went on general sale on 12 April 2016, with priority booking from 10 March.[28] In January 2016, it was announced that Andy Karl would play the lead role of Phil.[29] Other notable casting for the show includes Carlyss Peer as Rita and Eugene McCoy as Larry.[30] The running time for the London production at The Old Vic was 2 hours and 25 minutes (including an interval of 20 minutes).

Broadway Production (2017)

After the opening night of the production at The Old Vic in London, The New York Times revealed that the production is still intended to transfer to Broadway, produced by André Ptaszynski and Lia Vollack with Whistle Pig and Columbia Live Stage.[33]

The musical will premiere on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre officially on 17 April 2017.[34] On October 19 2016, it was announced that Andy Karl will reprise his role from the London production with tickets going on sale from 2 November 2016. Previews will began 16 March 2017 opened on April 17, 2017 and closed on 17 September 2017 after 31 previews & 174 performances. The full cast was announced in December 2016, which included Barrett Doss as Rita.[35]

The first scheduled preview on 16 March 2017, had to be stopped to technical difficulties with the revolving stage after approximately 15 minutes into the performance. However, the director Matthew Warchus decided that the performance would continue as a concert-style for the rest of act one, with a sing through of 6 songs after intermission using no technical components.[36][37] The second preview on March 17 continued as planned.

Musical Numbers

2016 London Production

Act I

  • “There Will Be Sun” – Company
  • “Small Town, U.S.A.” – Phil and Company
  • “Punxsutawney Phil” – Company
  • “Second of the Second”/”There Will Be Sun” – Rita and Company
  • “Small Town, U.S.A.” – Phil and Company
  • “Punxsutawney Phil” – Company
  • “Second of the Second”/”There Will Be Sun” – Rita and Company
  • “Small Town, U.S.A.” – Phil and Company
  • “Stuck” – Phil and Healers
  • “Nobody Cares” – Gus, Ralph, Phil, and Company
  • “Philandering” – Company
  • “One Day” – Rita, Phil, and Company
Act II

  • “Playing Nancy” – Nancy
  • “Hope” – Phil and Company
  • “I Know Everything” – Phil
  • “If I Had My Time Again” – Rita, Phil and Company
  • “I Know Everything (Reprise)” – Phil
  • “Philosopher” – Phil and Company
  • “Night Will Come” – Ned
  • “Philanthropy” – Phil and Company
  • “Punxsutawney Rock” – Piano Teacher and Company
  • “Seeing You” – Phil, Rita and Company
  • “Dawn” – Company

2017 Broadway Production

Act I

  • “There Will Be Sun” – Company
  • “Small Town, U.S.A.” – Phil and Company
  • “Punxsutawney Phil” – Company
  • “February 2nd”/”There Will Be Sun” – Rita and Company
  • “Small Town, U.S.A.” – Phil and Company
  • “Punxsutawney Phil” – Company
  • “February 2nd”/”There Will Be Sun” – Rita and Company
  • “Small Town, U.S.A.” – Phil and Company
  • “Stuck” – Phil and Healers
  • “Nobody Cares” – Gus, Ralph, Phil, and Company
  • “Philandering” – Company
  • “One Day” – Rita, Phil, and Company
Act II

  • “Playing Nancy” – Nancy
  • “Hope” – Phil and Company
  • “Everything About You” – Phil
  • “If I Had My Time Again” – Rita, Phil and Company
  • “Everything About You (reprise)” – Phil
  • “Philosopher” – Phil and Company
  • “Night Will Come” – Ned
  • “Philanthropy” – Phil and Company
  • “Punxsutawney Rock” – Piano Teacher and Company
  • “Seeing You” – Phil, Rita and Company
  • “Dawn” – Company

Orchestration

The orchestration for the original London production consisted of 11 musicians;

  • Musical Director / keyboard – Alan Berry
  • Assistant Musical Director / keyboard – Alf Clewlow
  • Flute / alto saxaphone / baritone saxophone – Howard McGill
  • Clarintet / bass clarinet / tenor saxophone – Tim Holmes
  • Trumpet / flugelhorn / piccolo Trumpet – Pablo Mendelssohn
  • Trumpet / coronet / flugelhorn – Stuart Brooks
  • Euphonium / trombone / bass trombone – Adrian Hallowell
  • Violin / electric violin / acoustic guitar – Charlie Brown
  • Electric guitar / acoustic guitars – Huw Davies
  • Electric bass / upright bass – Don Richardson
  • Drums / percussion – Andy McGlasson

Original Broadway Cast Recording

The original Broadway cast album was recorded in March 2017[38] and will be released digitally on 15 April and in stores 5 May 2017.[39] The album will be available from Broadway / Masterworks and is produced by Chris Nightingale, Michael Croiter and Tim Minchin.[40]

Characters and Original Cast

The characters and original cast:

Character World premiereLondon production

The Old Vic, 2016[41]

Original Broadwayproduction

August Wilson Theatre, 2017[42]

Phil Connors Andy Karl
Rita Hanson Carlyss Peer Barrett Doss
Larry (Ensemble) Eugene McCoy Vishal Vaidya
Ned Ryerson (Ensemble) Andrew Langtree John Sanders
Nancy Taylor (Ensemble) Georgina Hagen Rebecca Faulkenberry
Mrs Lancaster (Ensemble) Julie Jupp Heather Ayers
Freddie (Ensemble) Kieran Jae Gerard Canonico
Debbie (Ensemble) Jenny O’Leary Katy Geraghty
Joelle (Ensemble) Carolyn Maitland Jenna Rubaii
Ralph (Ensemble) Jack Shalloo Raymond J Lee
Gus (Ensemble) Andrew Spillett Andrew Call
Doris (Ensemble) Emma Lindars Rheaume Crenshaw
Buster (Ensemble) Mark Pollard Josh Lamon
Sheriff (Ensemble) Antonio Magro Sean Montgomery
Deputy (Ensemble) Roger Dipper Joseph Medeiros
Jeff (Ensemble) Ste Clough Travis Waldschmidt
Jenson (Ensemble) Leo Andrew William Parry
Chubby Man (Ensemble) David Birch Michael Fatica
Piano Teacher (Ensemble) Kirsty Malpass Tari Kelly
Lady Storm Chaser (Ensemble) Vicki Lee Taylor Taylor Iman Jones
Swing Leanne Pinder Camden Gonzales
Swing Damien Poole Jordan Grubb
Swing Lisa Mathieson Natalie Wisdom
Swing Spencer Stafford
Swing / Hot Dog Vendor (Ensemble) * 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.[43]

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.[44][45] 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).[46]

Critical Reception

London Production

The original London production was received positively, opening to a string of five-star reviews.[47]

Awards and Nominations

London Production

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result Ref
2016 Evening Standard Theatre Awards Best Musical Nominated [48][49]
Best Musical Performance Andy Karl Nominated
Best Design Rob Howell (also for The Master Builder) Nominated
BroadwayWorld UK / West End Awards Theatrical Event of the Year Won [50]
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 Awards Best Musical (New or Revival) Won [51]
Whatsonstage.com Awards Best New Musical Nominated [52]
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 Pending [53]
Best Actor in a Musical Andy Karl Pending
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical Andrew Langtree Pending
Best Director Matthew Warchus Pending
Best Theatre Choreographer Peter Darling & Ellen Kane Pending
Best Costume Design Rob Howell Pending
Best Set Design Pending
Best Lighting Design Hugh Vanstone Pending

References

  1. ^ “A Groundhog Day musical is on the way”. metro.co.uk. The Metro. 21 April 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  2. ^ “‘Groundhog Day’ musical to open March 2017”. usatoday.com. USA Today. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  3. ^ “Groundhog Day musical to have world premiere at London’s Old Vic”. digitalspy.co.uk. Digital Spy. 21 April 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  4. ^ “Groundhog Day musical premieres in Warchus’s first Old Vic season”. whatsonstage.com. What’s On Stage. 21 April 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  5. ^ “Groundhog Day”. the-numbers.com. The Numbers. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  6. ^ “Films Added to National Film Registry for 2006” (Press release). Library of Congress. 27 December 2006. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  7. ^ “Groundhog Day at Belfast City Hall”. belfastfilmfestival.org. Belfast Film Festival. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  8. ^ “Sondheim Talks About Bounce; Revisions in Works”. playbill.com. Playbill. 26 August 2003. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  9. ^ “Roundabout Live Chat”. Roundabout Theatre. 5 May 2008. Archived from the original on May 10, 2008. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  10. ^ “‘Groundhog Day’ Musical In The Works, Says Harold Ramis”. moviesblog.mtv.com. MTV News. 31 March 2009. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  11. ^ a b Rubin, Danny (August 7, 2016). “How I wrote the script for Groundhog Day in less than a week”. The Telegraph. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  12. ^ “Matilda’s Tim Minchin Working on “Groundhog Day” Musical”. playbill.com. Playbill. 10 January 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  13. ^ “Tim Minchin’s Groundhog Day Musical Gets Off the Ground; Watch Song Performed in London (Video)”. playbill.com. Playbill. 17 July 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  14. ^ “Tim Minchin’s Groundhog Day Musical Sets Broadway Dates; Watch Song Performed in London (Video)”. playbill.com. Playbill. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  15. ^ “Warchus Announces First Season at Old Vic, Including Pre-Broadway Groundhog Day”. playbill.com. Playbill. 21 April 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  16. ^ Clark, Nick (20 April 2015). “Groundhog Day musical to premiere at Old Vic from Matilda theatre director”. independent.co.uk. London: The Independent. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  17. ^ “‘Groundhog Day’ musical to premiere at London’s Old Vic”. dailymail.co.uk. Daily Mail. 21 April 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  18. ^ Paulson, Michael (2 April 2015). “It’ll Be ‘Groundhog Day’ on Broadway for ‘Matilda’ Team”. artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com. New York Times. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  19. ^ “Nothing will ever be the same again: now it’s Groundhog Day the musical”. thetimes.co.uk. The Times. 21 April 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
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  21. ^ Hawksley, Rupert (3 April 2015). “Encore! Groundhog Day to open on Broadway”. telegraph.co.uk. London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  22. ^ “Tim Minchin Writing ‘Groundhog Day’ Stage Musical”. rollingstone.com. Rolling Stone. 15 January 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  23. ^ “Groundhog Day musical: Tim Minchin to write lyrics with Matilda collaborators also attached”. independent.co.uk. London: The Independent. 6 April 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  24. ^ “‘Groundhog Day’ Musical to Premiere at London’s Old Vic”. nytimes.com. New York Times. 20 April 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  25. ^ “Tim Minchin to bring Groundhog Day to stage”. bbc.co.uk/news. BBC News. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
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  27. ^ “Previews delayed for Groundhog Day at the Old Vic”. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  28. ^ “GROUNDHOG DAY Musical Will Begin This July in London; Priority Ticket Sale Begins Today!”. broadwayworld.com. Broadway World. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  29. ^ “Andy Karl Nabs Bill Murray Role in Broadway-Bound Groundhog Day Musical”. playbill.com. Playbill. 28 January 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  30. ^ “Carlyss Peer to Fall for Andy Karl in London’s GROUNDHOG DAY Premiere”. broadwayworld.com. Broadway World. 28 April 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  31. ^ Cox, Gordon (2 April 2015). “‘Groundhog Day’ Musical Hits Broadway in 2017”. variety.com/. Variety. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  32. ^ Shenton, Mark. “Broadway ‘Groundhog Day’ Musical Is in Jeopardy” Playbill, June 22, 2016
  33. ^ Paulson, Michael (2016-08-17). “‘Groundhog Day’ Musical to Come to Broadway”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-09-04.
  34. ^ Viagas, Robert. ” ‘Groundhog Day’ Will Follow Jersey Boys into Broadway’s August Wilson Theatre” Playbill, September 13, 2016
  35. ^ “See Who Has Joined the Cast of Broadway Musical Groundhog Day | Playbill”. Playbill. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  36. ^ “‘Groundhog Day’ Broadway Preview Halted By Technical Difficulties, But the Show Still Went On”. EW.com. 2017-03-17. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  37. ^ “Groundhog Day Producers Release Statement After First Preview Halted By Tech Malfunctions | Playbill”. Playbill. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  38. ^ “Cast of Broadway’s Groundhog Day Will Head Into the Recording Studio | Playbill”. Playbill. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
  39. ^ “ou’ll Want to Listen Again and Again! Groundhog Day Sets a Cast Album Release Date”. Broadway.Com. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
  40. ^ “GROUNDHOG DAY Hits the Recording Studio This Weekend; Original Broadway Cast Album Out This Spring!”. Broadway World. Retrieved 2017-03-03.
  41. ^ “Groundhog Day – The Old Vic”. The Old Vic. Retrieved 2016-08-08.
  42. ^ “Groundhog Day – Bios”. Groundhog Day. Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  43. ^ “Instagram photo by Jordan Grubb • Jan 18, 2017 at 7:00pm UTC”. Instagram. Retrieved 2017-02-11.
  44. ^ “Matthew Malthouse – Sainou Talent Agency London”. Sainou Talent Agency London. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  45. ^ “Waring & McKenna | Antonio Magro”. waringandmckenna.com. Retrieved 2016-08-08.
  46. ^ 242. “Leanne Pinder”. www.wilkesacademy.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-08-08.
  47. ^ “Groundhog Day musical gets five-star reception”. BBC News. Retrieved 2016-09-04.
  48. ^ “Evening Standard Awards shortlist announced”. WhatsOnStage.com. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
  49. ^ Thompson, Jessie (13 November 2016). “Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2016: Billie Piper and Ralph Fiennes take home top acting prizes”. London Evening Standard. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  50. ^ “2016 BroadwayWorld UK / West End Awards (UK / West End)”. www.broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 2016-11-14.
  51. ^ Snow, Georgia (31 January 2017). “Billie Piper, John Tiffany and Glenda Jackson win at Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards 2017”. The Stage. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  52. ^ “Shortlist for the 17th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards announced”. WhatsOnStage.com. Retrieved 2016-12-02.
  53. ^ “Olivier Awards 2017 Full List”. The Guardian. 6 March 2017.

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