Groundhog Day will become a Broadway musical in 2017

Mark your calendars for January and March 2017 and circle Feb. 2, 2017, while you’re at it.

Because the folks who turned the Roald Dahl story (and movie) Matilda into a Broadway hit musical are hoping to repeat history and improve upon it when they get the chance to adapt the 1993 film Groundhog Day for Broadway.

Producers announced their adaptation of Groundhog Day would begin Broadway previews on Jan. 23, 2017, with an official opening night on March 9.

Tim Minchin, who wrote the music for Matilda, will do likewise here, finding songs somewhere within the framework of the story told on the big screen by Bill Murray and friends.

Here’s what Minchin had to say about the project a year ago (a year ago!):

Our version of Groundhog Day is going to be both instantly recognizable, and utterly different.

The central conceit is perfectly suited to the theatre, in my opinion. In fact, I think many of its ideas could be enhanced by the stage. 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. It’s certainly not an easy job, and I’m truly honoured – and genuinely excited – that Danny is letting me have a crack at it.

The idea of a Groundhog Day musical is not new; famously, Stephen Sondheim was rumoured to be working on the idea five or ten years ago. I’ve actually spoken to him about it (he is – if you’re wondering – a brilliant, witty, charming man), and the truth is he was only ever tossing the idea around. It got put on the back burner, and he is now happy that we’re making a go of it. We have Steve’s blessing – and it’s a blessing I value enormously.

So, we’re aiming for a workshop sometime towards summer, and hopefully we’ll have it on stage within a couple of years. But who knows? Maybe the whole project will get caught in a temporal vortex and we won’t be able to finish writing it until we’ve achieved wisdom.

Either way, you won’t hear any more about it from us until we know where and when we’re going to put it on. Back to work!

So. Minchin will be joined on this Broadway project by director Matthew Warchus, choreographer Peter Darling, with a book by Danny Rubin — who had the original story that led to the screenplay he’d written more than two decades ago with Harold Ramis. Scott Rudin, Columbia Live Stage and Whistle Pig Productions are producing.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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