Original Broadway Cast Album
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Based on the iconic film, Groundhog Day is the new musical by Tim Minchin, award-winning composer of Matilda. Opening at the Old Vic in London I was enamoured with the show’s ability to take a complicated premise and make it work musically.
Minchin’s music and lyrics still pack a punch. Groundhog Day at its core is about self-realisation and redemption and Minchin’s score reflects this in an intelligent and honest way.
The central performance of Andy Carl as obnoxious and egotistical weatherman Phil Connors translates beautifully from stage to cast album. It’s a performance that won him the Olivier Award in London and when you hear him sing “I’m seeing you for the first time” in Seeing You the show’s closing number you truly can hear a transformation.
As Rita Hanson, Barrett Doss is a perfect foil for Karl’s irascible nature. Their Act Two duet If I Had My Time Again is a delight.
I was concerned that the first part of the show may not particularly transfer well to a cast recording and to a certain extent that remains the case. Director Matthew Warchus’ staging of the shows first thirty minutes intricately combined with Minchin’s score was a wondrous theatrical moment. Without the visual, the material still comes across as good but not quite great.
Perhaps my favourite moment with this recording lies with John Sander’s exquisite performance of the haunting Night Will Come in Act Two. It’s a performance full of pathos that continues to move me.
Christopher Nightingale’s orchestrations for Groundhog Day are perfectly suited to the shows key moments. From the rock beat of If I Had My Time Again to the simple beauty of Night Will Come, they perfectly convey the emotional undertones in this complex story, inextricably bound to the characters they accompany.
Overall, I have to say that I preferred Groundhog Day as a live show (one of the best new musicals I have seen in a while), however, the cast album does give me ready access to some of the emotionally resonant moments that I dearly love and that can only be a good thing.
I look forward to seeing what Tim comes up with next!