Why Groundhog Day The Musical Deserved Better

Groundhog Day The Musical Playbill August Wilson Theatre

Well, its time again. The yearly TPE editorial on how great Groundhog Day The Musical was and how it deserved better on Broadway.

Broadway has been doing more and more musical adaptations of movies in recent years and it is rare for one of them to really differentiate themselves from the source material. Groundhog Day did that, taking the same basic premise of the classic Bill Murray led film and using it to explore complicated issues of mortality using the same basic plot.

The musical still followed the same idea of the movie, Phil being a weatherman who gets trapped in a time loop while in Punxatauny reporting on Groundhog Day. But the musical decides to explore different paths than the movie did, spending more time with side characters.

Some of the musical's best moments aren't even with the leads Phil and Rita, but exploring the side characters who are easily forgotten in the original film. Nancy and Ned both get songs exploring their backstory that give the musical an emotional depth beyond what was present in the original movie. 

Groundhog Day The Broadway Musical Curtain

Beyond that, the original production on Broadway had some really inventive choreography and a stellar cast led by Andy Karl that gave Phil an impressive character arc.

Groundhog Day The Musical found its strength in taking steps to differentiate itself from its source material while keeping enough to remain familiar to fans. It is a lesson a lot of other adapted musicals could learn from.

The musical managed to take a familiar story and tread new ground with it. It had a reason for existing beyond just being a musical version of a popular film. It made its own creative decisions that made it well worth watching.

While the musical did not last long on Broadway, the cast recording allows you to enjoy the show without seeing it live. It is a real hidden gem and deserves to be appreciated more.