Barrett Doss and Andy Karl. Photo by Joan Marcus.
The reviews are in for Tim Minchin’s stage adaptation of the iconic Bill Murray film, with Andy Karl taking over as disgruntled weatherman Phil Connors.
Music and Lyrics by Tim Minchin
Book by Danny Rubin
Directed by Matthew Warchus
Choreographed by Peter Darling
Andy Karl, Barrett Doss, Rebecca Faulkenberry, John Sanders, Andrew Call, Raymond J. Lee, Heather Ayers, Kevin Bernard, Gerard Canonico, Rheaume Crenshaw, Michael Fatica, Katy Geraghty, Camden Gonzales, Jordan Grubb, Taylor Iman Jones, Tari Kelly, Josh Lamon, Joseph Medeiros, Sean Montgomery, William Parry, Jenna Rubaii, Vishal Vaidya, Travis Waldschmidt, Natalie Wisdom
Ben Brantley – New York Times
Repetition is an art of infinite variety as it’s practiced by Andy Karl in “Groundhog Day,” the dizzyingly witty new musical from the creators of “Matilda.” Portraying a man doomed to relive a single day over and over and over again in a small town that becomes his custom-fitted purgatory, Mr. Karl is so outrageously inventive in ringing changes on the same old, same old, that you can’t wait for another (almost identical) day to dawn.
Marilyn Stasio – Variety
As musical theater performers go, you couldn’t ask for a more personable fellow than Andy Karl. His high-energy athleticism kept “Rocky” on its toes. And his comic chops earned him plenty of notice in “On the Twentieth Century.” Now, in “Groundhog Day,” he proves he can carry an entire show on his back — even after injuring himself during a late preview. (He bounded back for opening night.)
Jeremy Gerard – Deadline
But star and set were in fine form for the opening, and while Groundhog Day may not actually be the best musical, it is, as I said, very good. This will come as a surprise, no doubt, to die-hard fans of the film, which starred Murray as Phil Connors, a self-loving Pittsburgh weatherman assigned for the third year running to hit the road for Punxsutawney, PA to cover the annual rite of P-Phil and his shadow. Accompanied by his producer and cameraman (Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliott, in the film), Pittsburgh Phil approaches Punxsutawney Phil and all his human Punxsutawney denizens with loathing and condescension, and basically can’t wait to get out.
Chris Jones – Chicago Tribune
It takes a few minutes to get used to what Karl is doing — but this really is, in the final analysis, a highly effective and intensely skillful lead performance. Karl never oversentimentalizes nor seems afraid of coming off as a jerk. But he is just — just — likable enough as Phil to keep us invested in a cynic’s rehabilitation and thus serves the core of what (in this stage version) becomes, yet more fundamentally, a romantic yarn. You want this pair to make it happen for each other, and get out of their destructive personal cycles.
Chris Nashawaty – Entertainment Weekly
Now, the seemingly simple tale has been given yet another wrinkle of interpretation (Singing! Dancing! An Actor in a Giant Marmot Costume!) with the wonderfully inventive Groundhog Day: The Musical, a giddy highlight of the current Broadway season.
Matthew Murray – Talkin’ Broadway
Karl was transformed after his accident, though, when his natural humility and heart became visible beneath the lacquer for the very first time. That man is one you wouldn’t mind hanging out with time and time again. But for Karl’s impenetrable Phil and the rest of this inchoate Groundhog Day, once is more than enough.
Stephen Dalton – The Hollywood Reporter
Behind all this artisan simplicity, of course, lies great technical finesse, courtesy of the Matilda design team of Rob Howell (sets and costumes), Hugh Vanstone (lighting) and Simon Baker (sound). The choreography by Peter Darling — another Matilda alumnus — is balletic at times, and the stage a restlessly revolving turntable. The main bedroom set is an ingenious five-part construction that the cast dismantle and reconfigure multiple times. But as the plot becomes a series of repeated vignettes, the sheer volume of fractal loops and echoes becomes a little overwhelming. Criticizing Groundhog Day for being repetitive would be absurd, but at over two hours, the repetitions occasionally drag.
Jesse Green – Vulture
Which is not to say that the manic business of the first act is entirely excused by the richer reflectiveness of the second. There were plenty of times throughout when I felt, with Phil, that I’d seen this all before. The adaptation from the film is, in that sense, too faithful; despite the musical’s theatrical cleverness it is often literal and choppy, like word-by-word Google translation. But at least it gets better as it loops along. Perhaps all it needs is a few thousand more iterations.
Robert Hofler – The Wrap
Need an antidote to the saccharine good-time, small-town vibe of “Come From Away”? You’ll find it in the inventive, acerbic, and thoroughly irreverent “Groundhog Day,” which opened Monday at the August Wilson Theatre.
Joe Dziemianowicz – NY Daily News
If a groundhog sees its shadow, there’ll be six more weeks of winter. If you see “Groundhog Day,” there’ll be 2 hours and 45 minutes of kinetic and sometimes witty but ultimately wearying antics. Fortunately, there’s a silver lining: musical-comedy dreamboat Andy Karl, who puts his own irresistible stamp on the arrogant TV weatherman played in the 1993 film by Bill Murray.
Linda Winer – Newsday
I saw Andy Karl in “Groundhog Day” on Thursday, and he was terrific. So, in fact, was the show, an ingenious, witty, dark yet joyously offbeat musical about Phil Connors, a snotty big-city TV weatherman forced to relive the same day, over and over in boring small-town Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, until, just maybe, he gets it right.