An adaptation of the 1993 Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day is set to open on Broadway sometime in early 2017. The group putting the show together includes director Mathew Warchus, music and lyrics Tim Minchin, choreographer Peter Darling, and desginer Rob Howell. The four are no strangers to a Broadway, as they are the team who put together Matilda, an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel which is still currently showing. Minchin says that their Broadway version of the film Groundhog Day will be both familiar, and different at the same time. He adds that he is both excited, and honored to have the chance to do it.
Minchin continues in saying that he feels Groundhog Day is suited well to be performed as a musical, and in a theater. He feels that many of the original ideas from the film will be well enhanced on stage. He also adds that with the addition of some cool tunes, and a live set, the production has the potential to be visually fascinating, complex, and dark, while still holding on to its romantic comical side.
The film Groundhog Day that was written by Harold Ramis and Danny Rubin, focuses on self-absorbed weatherman Phil Connors, played by Bill Murray. Connors is on assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania, when for no explained reason he finds himself caught in a time loop. Each night he falls asleep, and he awakes the next day to find himself repeating the same day over and over again. A miffed Connors is unable to immediately find his way out of the loop by either physical escape, or suicide. For better or for worse he is then forced to rethink his life and priorities, with the help of his news producer and love interest Rita Hansen, who is played by Andie Macdowell.
When the movie opened in theaters, it was well received and grossed over $70 million in box office receipts. The film also received many notable and positive reviews. One such review came from The New York Times who called it a witty and resonant comedy. Since it’s release, it was selected by the National Film Board to be preserved in the Library of Congress in 2006, and is considered a contemporary classic.
An aspect of the movie that has always been up for great debate in pop culture, was the question on the actual amount of time that Connors was stuck in Punxsutawney. Some fans of the film say it was about 10 years. While the actual number is never revealed, the film’s own director and producer Harold Ramis years later said that he thinks it was around 30 or 40 years. There are hopes that the Groundhog Day run on Broadway will provide a better, more accurate perspective on this number. Or perhaps it will remain a mystery, with the musical production further fueling the fire to this greatly debated topic.
The Broadway version of Groundhog Day has an official opening of March 9th. Previews for the show will begin showing in January of that year. There has yet to be any announcement regarding casting, or theater choice for the show. The Broadway run of this cinema classic will surely be something that fans of the movie will rejoice over, and certainly not want to miss.
By Alec Rosenberg
Photo By Pete Bellis – Flickr License