Groundhog Day which opened at the August Wilson Theater the other day is the most confusing nonsensical musical I have ever seen. It is taken from a silly 1993 movie starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell about an unhappy weatherman who gets stuck doing the same thing every day of his life except that each day ends up quite differently from the previous one especially when personal relationships are involved. He falls for another broadcaster named Rita and tries to convince her he’s the guy for her. That’s it. End of story.
Andy Carl plays the lead, Phil Connors, and certainly handles the screwy part as well as he can. Lucky for him, and us too, his new girlfriend is played by an unknown and quite terrific Barrett Doss who I think I may have seen in You Can’t Take It With You, but that’s not important. Every one of Tim Minchin’s songs, all of which are sung by Ms. Doss, are certainly delightful and make for easy listening. That would be easy since Tim did the same job for the recently departed Matilda.
The rest of the cast spends the night revolving around another non-set and riding from time to time on a moving slide down front. They’re fine but no standouts, and if there was any great choreography in this show, I missed it.
The first act is so dismal you may want to grab your hat at intermission. The second act, at least, is way better, in fact, much, much better than the first, so I guess you had better stick around to watch it. There is only one good reason to get tickets for this show which I would think would be readily available at TKTS, and that is to see and hear the aforementioned Barrett Doss. She is even better than what I said at the beginning of this review. Otherwise, Ground Hog day grounded out to 3rd!