Encouraged by a brace of near-rave reviews for the August 16 opening, producers of the London musical Groundhog Day announced that they will bring the show to Broadway, despite the pull-out of a prominent U.S. backer in June.
The musical has booked Broadway's August Wilson Theatre, which is scheduled to become vacant when the long-running Jersey Boys closes there January 15, 2017. Groundhog Day will begin previews in March 2017 and open April 17, 2017, in time to be eligible for the 2017 Tony Awards.
Groundhog Day will be produced by Matthew Warchus and André Ptaszynski for Whistle Pig, and Lia Vollack for Columbia Live Stage.
Actor Andy Karl — who was last seen on Broadway in On the Twentieth Century, for which he was Tony-nominated, and previously played the title role in Rocky — stars in London as Phil Connors, a cynical Pittsburgh TV weatherman who is sent to cover the Groundhog Day event in the small town of Punxutawney, PA, where he finds himself caught in a time loop, forced to repeat the same day again and again… and again. Until he gets it right.
Broadway casting has not yet been announced.
Groundhog Day joins a bumper crop of new musicals scheduled to open on Broadway this season, making the 2017 Tony Awards look ever more like a horse race. The expanding field includes In Transit; Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812; A Bronx Tale; Holiday Inn; Dear Evan Hansen; Come From Away; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; and Anastasia, with several more waiting for available theatres. That doesn't include musical revivals, which include Cats; Hello, Dolly!; Miss Saigon; and Falsettos.
Originally announced for a January 17, 2017, opening on Broadway, the $16.5 million Groundhog Day, from Matilda composer Tim Minchin, was thrown into question earlier this summer by the withdrawal of deep-pocket co-producer Scott Rudin.
Rudin (Shuffle Along…) withdrew from the project June 6. In a statement to the Times, Rudin indicated that he was “not satisfied with his ability to influence the evolving show.” Rudin already has a full Broadway dance card this coming season. He is producing revivals of The Front Page and Hello, Dolly!
Rudin was previously quoted saying, “The production in New York is going to be a transfer of the London production, which is not how we had originally conceived the project when I joined it.”
The New York Post quoted director Matthew Warchus as saying of Rudin, “We had an elegant separation based on nothing other than having different expectations and different ways of tackling things. I think we were probably stopping each other being at our best. He remains a kind of genius in my mind.”
Groundhog Day, which has music and lyrics by Minchin and book by Danny Rubin (who co-scripted the 1993 film of the same name with Harold Ramis), was scheduled for a limited run through September 17.
Broadway tickets will go on pre-sale through Ticketmaster starting October 12 with general on-sale starting on October 26.
To book London tickets, contact the box office on 0844 871 7628 or visit Oldvictheatre.com.
(Updated September 13, 2016)