Scott Rudin’s very full Broadway plate has gotten a little bit lighter, with the producer deciding to step away from the brewing musical version of “Groundhog Day,” which bows this summer at the Old Vic before a planned transfer to New York.
In a statement, Rudin attributed his decision to a change in the production plan. “The production in New York is going to be a transfer of the London production, which is not how we had originally conceived the project when I joined it,” he said. “The more it evolved, the more it felt that there was no way for me to do what I like to do, so I asked to withdraw. Not every ideal show happens in the ideal circumstances for everyone involved. I wish them well with it. It’s a great show, and I’m sure it will be a big hit.”
Lia Vollack, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s president of worldwide music and executive VP theatrical, and Andre Ptaszynski (“Matilda”) — two producers who remain attached to the title via Columbia Stage Live and Whistle Pig Productions, respectively — expressed regret over Rudin’s decision, but characterized the departure as amicable.
“Scott came to us last week and said he didn’t feel this was something he wanted to continue with in its current configuration,” the two said in a joint statement. “We met about it, we did our best to convince him otherwise as we are all close friends, but in the end we respect his decision. We are grateful for his work over the last two years, and we certainly wish we could have completed this journey together.”
Rudin (“The Book of Mormon”) will have plenty of other Broadway activity to keep him busy. Coming off a season during which he opened new musical “Shuffle Along” as well as plays including “Blackbird,” “The Crucible” and “The Humans,” he’s got upcoming productions in the works including “Hello, Dolly!” with Bette Midler,” “The Glass Menagerie” and “The Front Page” with Nathan Lane and John Slattery.
Whether Rudin’s departure will affect the trajectory or timeline of “Groundhog Day,” scheduled to open on Broadway March 9, remains to be seen. The production — which reunites the “Matilda” team of songwriter Tim Minchin, director Matthew Warchus and choreographer Peter Darling — runs July 15-Sept. 17 at London’s Old Vic.