Finally spilling the secret of what his next project will be, Tim Minchin revealed via Twitter that he is recreating Groundhog Day for the stage.
The British-born Australian musical comedian, who sprang to theater prominence as the composer and lyricist behind the hit Roald Dahl musical adaptation, Matilda, gave more details of his latest venture in a letter on his website. The show is based around the beloved screen comedy about famous rodent Punxsutawney Phil.
“Danny (Rubin) himself is writing the ‘book,’ I’m writing music and lyrics, and Matthew Warchus (of Matilda fame) is directing,” revealed Minchin.
“The 1993 Sony Pictures film was directed by Harold Ramis and starred Bill Murray and Andy McDowell, and is a true comedy classic,” wrote Minchin. “However, it would be impossible to try to translate the style and tone of the movie to stage… and even if it were possible, it wouldn’t interest me. (Or Danny or Matthew, for that matter).
“Our version of Groundhog Day is going to be both instantly recognizable, and utterly different,” he promised.
“The central conceit is perfectly suited to the theater, in my opinion. 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 honored — and genuinely excited — that Danny is letting me have a crack at it.”
Stephen Sondheim had long been linked to a musical version of the hit comedy about a cantankerous weatherman (Murray) sent to small-town Pennsylvania to cover the Groundhog Day event, only to experience it over and over and over again.
Minchin gave a shout out to Sondheim in his announcement, describing him as “a brilliant, witty, charming man,” and revealing that he had only ever been “tossing the idea” around.
The Matilda composer is aiming for a workshop in the summer for his new show, and for the full production to hit the stage in a couple of years. No producer details have been released and Minchin gave no indication whether the premiere target is London or Broadway.
“But who knows? Maybe the whole project will get caught in a temporal vortex and we won’t be able to finish writing it until we’ve achieved wisdom,” he joked.