Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Home Career Stage Work (2017) Groundhog Day

(2017) Groundhog Day

Role: Rita Hanson
Preview: March 16, 2017
Opening: April 17, 2017
Closing: September 17, 2017
Category: Broadway, Musical
Duration: 2hrs, 30 mins, 1 Intermission
Theater: August Wilson Theatre
Music by: Tim Minchin
Lyrics by: Tim Minchin
Book by: Danny Rubin
Directed by: Matthew Warchus
Cast: Andy Karl, Barrett Doss, Vishal Vaidya, John Sanders, Rebecca Faulkenberry, Heather Ayers, Gerard Canonico, Katy Geraghty, Jenna Rubaii, Raymond J Lee, ...
In the role that won him the 2017 Olivier, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Award for Best Actor, Andy Karl plays Phil Connors—a disgruntled big-city weatherman mysteriously stuck in small-town America reliving the same day over and over and over again—with no consequences, no regrets, no tomorrows, and no hangovers. But once he starts getting to know associate TV producer Rita Hanson, he discovers it's a day of second, third and fourth chances.

Based on the iconic film, Groundhog Day is the new Broadway hit that Entertainment Weekly calls, "a wonderfully inventive show, with dazzling energy, creativity, wit, and heart." And NY1 says, "This is a Groundhog Day to celebrate! With Danny Rubin's wryly humorous book, Matthew Warchus' inventive direction, and Tim Minchin's clever songs, the forecast for this Groundhog Day looks pretty bright!"

Character

Barrett plays Rita Hanson, a 36 year-old, intelligent, self-aware woman who has a great deal of compassion and love for life. In the context of the show, she goes through the journey of finding herself. She has accepted the fact that she may never find the right romantic partner and has settled into that reality. By the end of the show, she has shifted her position to the point where she has reopened herself to the possibility of a romance with Connors.

Press & Promotion

Articles & Interviews
Below you can find interviews, articles, video clips and more of Barrett and the cast promoting the musical.
Public Appearances
Barrett and her co-stars have attended several events in 2017 to promote and celebrate the musical. Check out the events below and click on each image to open up the album in the photo archive.

Background

The musical is based on the 1993 film Groundhog Day. 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. In 2006 it was added to the United States National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." It was voted at number 8 in the top ten greatest films in the fantasy genre by the American Film Institute in 2006.

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. 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." 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. 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. 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.

The trio formally announced their partnership towards the musical in January 2014. A workshop was held in London on July 12, 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).

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

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

Speaking about the musical, director Warchus said that it's "a show full of intellect, integrity and wit, insight, humor—and of course romance."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."

Production

Broadway (2017)
The musical had been scheduled to transfer to Broadway, opening on March 9, 2017, following previews from January 23, 2017. However, Playbill reported on June 22, 2016, that the musical "may not make it to Broadway in January 2017" because the lead producer, Scott Rudin, had withdrawn from the production. 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.

The musical premiered on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre officially on April 17, 2017. On October 19, 2016, it was announced that Andy Karl will reprise his role from the London production as Phil Connors with tickets going on sale from November 2, 2016. Previews will begin March 16, 2017. The full cast was announced in December 2016, which included Barrett Doss as Rita. The first scheduled preview on March 16, 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.

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

On April 21, Andie MacDowell saw the show, and on August 8, 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.

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

Synopsis

Act I
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
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").

Soundtrack

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

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