Like some kind of fruitless cycle that keeps repeating itself over and over, Broadway is again trying to make a beloved non-musical film into a hit musical. This time around, it’s Harold Ramis’ beloved 1993 comedy Groundhog Day. The producers of Matilda The Musical have been working on an adaptation since last year, and to prove they’re serious, they’ve roped in Danny Rubin, who co-wrote the film with Ramis, and Scott Rudin, producer of countless films and stage productions including The History Boys, Closer, Doubt, and The Book Of Mormon.
Over the years, several attempts have been made at adapting Groundhog Day, but each one ended in frustration and Groundhog Day was forced to start over the next morning. Even Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim attempted an adaptation and gave up. But on Broadway, the lure of simple name recognition is enough to make a hot property out of a film that features very little music, multiple suicide attempts by its main character, and a heavy reliance on the deadpan charms of its star, Bill Murray, who we assume will not be reprising his role as a weatherman forced to relive February 2 over and over.
If anyone can get a Groundhog Day musical off the ground, it’s the EGOT-winning Rudin. Whether anyone should is another story. But Rudin’s version will almost certainly be better than the all-male version produced a year later by a cranky Dan Aykroyd.