Groundhog-Day-MusicalFollowing in the finely-choreographed footsteps of movie-to-stage transfers like Ghost, The Bodyguard and The Ladykillers comes a Broadway version of the Bill Murray comedy Groundhog Day. Director Matthew Warchus is said to be reteaming with his Matilda composer & lyricist Tim Minchin to bring Harold Ramis’ movie to the stage.

Forced against his will to cover the bizarre Groundhog Day celebrations the irascible local weatherman Phil Connors finds himself cursed to repeat the grinding tedium of a cold, Punxsutawney February over and over again for reasons that are (boldly and brilliantly) never explained. Released in 1993 to an appreciative audience, the film has grown in stature and is now considered to be one of the greatest comedies of the 1990s. In 2000, the American Film Institute listed it as the 34th funniest film ever made.

Warchus is working with the film’s original screenwriter, Danny Rubin to create a new Broadway version. ‘It has to be something in its own right, not just a carbon copy,’ Warchus told The Daily Mail, confirming the involvement of multi-award laden Tim Minchin. ‘Tim and Danny have been working on it for a while. I’ll decide where it should go – London or New York – once I see what kind of show it is.’

It will be interesting to see whether the stage version of Groundhog Day will be a straight transfer or a completely new musical adaptation. Cher’s royalty cheque representative will surely be wearing a large smile as no musical version of Groundhog Day would be complete without her duet with ex-husband Sonny Bono, ‘I Got You Babe,’ the alarm clock song which woke Bill Murray up repeatedly during the film (and briefly recharted in the UK on the back of it).

The workshop for development of the play begins this spring, so we’ve a while to wait yet to see the Broadway version of Bill Murray memorising French poetry to woo the Broadway version of Andie MacDowell. A note of caution from someone who knows about these things: in 2008, Stephen Sondheim did state that ‘to make a musical of Groundhog Day would be to gild the lily. It cannot be improved.’ Then again, right now Tim Minchin could write a musical version of The Good Food Guide and make it work. This one could run and run. Repeatedly.

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