It’s so loopy, it just might work: comedian-musician Tim Minchin is planning a stage musical adaptation of 1993’s Groundhog Day, the iconic romantic comedy starring Bill Murray as a self-centered weatherman stuck in a time loop.
“It seems that our wee secret has leaked,” Minchin recently wrote in a letter on his website, officially announcing the adaptation of Danny Rubin’s “iconic and brilliant” film script. “Danny himself is writing the ‘book;’ I’m writing music and lyrics, and Matthew Warchus (of Matilda fame) is directing.”
While Minchin praises the original, Harold Ramis-directed film as a “true comedy classic,” he does note that their musical version will “be both instantly recognizable and utterly different.”
“It would be impossible to try to translate the style and tone of the movie to stage,” he writes, “and even if it were possible, it wouldn’t interest me. Or Danny or Matthew, for that matter.”
“The central conceit is perfectly suited to the theatre,” he continues. “In fact, I think many of its ideas could be enhanced by the stage. It has the potential to be complex, dark, visually fascinating, and thematically rich, whilst still being a joyous romantic comedy with cool tunes and lots of gags. It’s certainly not an easy job, and I’m truly honoured – and genuinely excited – that Danny is letting me have a crack at it.”
Minchin also notes that the idea for this adaptation has been around for years, with the legendary Stephen Sondheim originally toying with the idea. “I’ve actually spoken to (Sondheim) about it,” Minchin says, “and the truth is he was only ever tossing the idea around. It got put on the back burner, and he is now happy that we’re making a go at it. We have Steve’s blessing – and it’s a blessing I value enormously.”
The crew are hoping to workshop the project “some time towards summer” with the eventual hope of taking it to stage “within a couple of years.” But Minchin, never above a sophisticated punchline, also tells his fans to prepare for the unexpected: “Maybe the whole project will get caught in a temporal vortex,” he says, “and we won’t be able to finish writing it until we’ve achieved wisdom.”
This isn’t the first theater foray for Minchin: he recently wrote the music and lyrics for the West End hit Matilda and appeared last year as Judas Iscariot in an arena tour production of Jesus Christ Superstar.