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The Olivier Award-winning hit opens to positive reviews
The Broadway premiere of the Olivier Award-winning Best Musical Groundhog Day the Musical last night opened in New York at the August Wilson Theatre to largely positive reviews.
The production, which sees leading man Andy Karl reprise his Olivier Award-winning performance as weatherman Phil Connors, has suffered a troubled preview period with technical difficulties and a mid-show injury for Karl which resulted in him finishing one performance with the aid of a walking stick. Despite the drama and a cancelled performance, Karl opened the show on Sunday 17 April 2017.
The New York Times's Ben Brantley praised the performance of Mr Karl, awarding the show a 'Critic's Pick': "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." The paper's new co-critic in chief Jesse Green was less enthusiastic for Vulture Magazine, commenting that "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", whilst the Times' previous reviewer Charles Isherwood was negative, saying "I'm afraid the production, simultaneously frenetic and static, left me just about as glum as its protagonist is at curtain rise".
Chris Nashawty for Entertainment Weekly reported, "Besides Karl, much of the credit goes to the playful stage design and illusions by Rob Howell with Paul Kieve, and the whirling-dervish choreography of Peter Darling with Ellen Kane", whilst David Rooney for the Hollywood Reporter called it "a delirious reinvention with its own defiantly unique personality, a relentless forward-backward spin that leaves you smiling, exhilarated and giddy."
Based on the film of the same name Groundhog Day reunites the creative team behind Matilda the Musical, including director Matthew Warchus and songwriter Tim Minchin-with a book by original screenwriter Danny Rubin. Barrett Doss stars opposite Karl in the role of Rita Hanson.
The Broadway production has been pulling strong grosses throughout its preview period, regularly playing to over 90% houses with an average gross potential of 55%. In a packed season that already includes some strong hitters, only time will tell if the production will repeat its London awards success and be nominated for the 2017 Tony Award for Best Musical.
It is expected that the musical, which premiered at the Old Vic Theatre last summer, will return to London potentially as soon as next season.