Groundhog Day the Musical – we hear from Musical Director Tim Minchin and celebrate today’s appearance of Danny Rubin, the original writer of the film, ahead of tomorrow night’s opening at The Princess Theatre!

Melbourne media and special guests were treated to a sneak peek this morning of the highly anticipated Groundhog Day the Musical, ahead of its official opening tomorrow night at the Princess Theatre. Today we experienced an insight into this heart-warming production and were also presented with a surprise appearance by the original writer of the film, Danny Rubin. To add to the excitement, the renowned Australian composer, songwriter, and musical director Tim Minchin was also present, making the occasion even more special.

Tim says, “this opening in Melbourne feels particularly special, I’ve watched Groundhog Day in London and Broadway but now being in Melbourne at The Princess Theatre, is kind of profound. This musical is about the journey of life and us trying to make sense of it all, and I moved to Melbourne in 2002 and was in a cover band as a keyboard player, and now it feels like a completion and some sort of homecoming.”

Tim adds that it’s not always easy to get Westend shows to Melbourne. He says, “suddenly a gap opened up, and it was incredibly last minute. I don’t think a musical of this complexity has ever gone from casting, rehearsal, and getting on stage as quickly as this one has.”

Directed by Matthew Warchus, this musical adaptation of the beloved film is a glorious celebration of life, love, and the power of change. With a combination of catchy songs and a captivating storyline, Groundhog Day the Musical promises to deliver a truly unforgettable experience for audiences.

The unexpected appearance of Danny Rubin, the original writer of the film, added an extra layer of authenticity to this Melbourne production. Rubin’s involvement ensures that the essence of the original story remains intact, while also allowing for fresh and innovative elements to be incorporated into the musical adaptation.

Having Tim Minchin, a celebrated Australian talent, involved in the production further amplifies the excitement surrounding Groundhog Day the Musical. Known for his exceptional song writing skills, Minchin’s contributions are bound to elevate the musical to new heights. His ability to capture the emotions and nuances of the story through music will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on audiences.

Today I asked Tim to tell me why this production is personally so special to him? Tim says, “I definitely feel so incredibly emotional about Groundhog Day. I think I love it because it was hard to make. We always feel strongly about things that have been a struggle to achieve, which is again what Groundhog Day is about, the beauty of the struggle.”

He also says the Australian cast and crew are at a globally competitive level to put it crassly!

Today was a glimpse into the magic that awaits theatregoers. The cast showcased their exceptional talents, bringing the characters to life with their vibrant performances. The energy and enthusiasm in the room were infectious, leaving everyone eagerly awaiting the official opening night.

American performer, Andy Karl has made his way down under to reprise his role as Phil Connors, the cynical TV weatherman. He played Phil in the original London production, for which he won the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical, reprising his role in the Broadway production where he was Tony Nominated for Best Actor in a Musical, and he played Phil again in London for Groundhog Day’s record-breaking return season at the Old Vic this year.

Andy says, “I’m absolutely thrilled to be in Melbourne with this incredible cast”. Andy will play opposite award-winning performer Elise McCann, who plays the quick-witted and kind-hearted television producer Rita Hanson.

Andy adds, “Elise is just incredible as Rita. It’s just wonderful to be with a new cast. I feel I’m living my own multi universe within this show. I get to see the Australian reactions to different lines that are said in different ways, and I enjoy the comradery we have as a cast. Melbourne has really welcomed us, and welcomed me, the American standout!”

Groundhog Day the Musical is a perfect blend of humour, heart, and the exploration of personal growth. It tells the story of Phil Connors, a weatherman who finds himself trapped in a time loop, reliving the same day over, and over again. As he navigates through this bizarre situation, he undergoes a transformation that challenges his preconceived notions and leads him to discover the true meaning of life.

This production is a testament to the power of live theatre, as it takes a beloved film and transforms it into a unique and captivating stage experience. With its uplifting message and a talented creative team behind it, Groundhog Day the Musical promises to be a must-see for theatre enthusiasts and fans of the original film alike.

By Melinda Sullivan

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