×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Groundhog Day’ Musical to Bow in Matthew Warchus’ First Season at London’s Old Vic

The musical version of “Groundhog Day” as well as starring stage turns for Ralph Fiennes (in Henrik Ibsen’s “Master Builder”) and Timothy Spall (in Harold Pinter’s “The Caretaker”) are among the shows on tap for artistic director Matthew Warchus’s inaugural season at the Old Vic in London.

The programming selection of the Tony-winning director (“God of Carnage”) marks an immediate departure from his predecessor, Kevin Spacey, who relied on star turns and big-name plays to bring the Old Vic back from the brink of closure. Instead, Warchus is promising an altogether more diverse program, harking back to the theater’s origins as a variety hall.

Also part of the plan is a marked increase in the amount of new work the Old Vic will present — an expensive and risky process, especially for a theater that receives no public subsidy. To that end, the Old Vic has struck a producing deal with Scott Rudin (who is attached to “Groundhog Day”) and Sonia Friedman that will allow the commercial producers to transfer its productions to the West End and Broadway, generating further revenue for the theater’s activities at home.

Warchus declared his intention “to present more productions per year, of wide-raning work, in a ‘something for everyone’ approach which reflects my own eclectic tastes and love of this unique and uplifting art form.” His first season will include dance, comedy, musical theater as well as classic plays — a formula he hopes to repeat.

The biggest show is “Groundhog Day,” which has been in development for two years and reunites members of the creative team of West End and Broadway success “Matilda”: composer and lyricist Tim Minchin, choreographer Peter Darling and Warchus himself. The film’s original writer, Danny Rubin, provides the book for a show that is set to premiere next spring, though exact dates have not yet been announced.

“Groundhog Day” will follow two major star performances: Spall, returning to the stage for the first time in nearly 20 years and playing the title role in “The Caretaker,” and Fiennes (who’s currently starring at the National in “Man and Superman”) leading David Hare’s new adaptation of “The Master Builder.” Both productions will be directed by Warchus himself

Before then, the director will open proceedings in September by directing a new play about the British education system, “Future Conditional,” by writer Tamsin Oglesby (“Really Old Like Forty-Five”), with comedian Rob Brydon starring alongside 23 young performers. Richard Jones, who won two Olivier Awards earlier this month for his opera work, will then revive Eugene O’Neill’s “The Hairy Ape,” before a new stage adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax” by David Grieg (“The Events”) runs over Christmas.

Looking ahead, Warchus announced a number of long-term commissions (which may or may not bear fruit), including new plays by Richard Bean and comedian Mark Watson, and adaptations by Dennis Kelly, novelist David Nicholls and the poet-playwright Caroline Bird, writing a musical based on the cartoon character Dennis the Menace. Warchus also confirmed that a stage musical adaptation of his film “Pride,” about LGBT support for mining communities in the 1980s, is under way.

More Legit

  • ZZ Top, Caesars Entertainment Team on

    ZZ Top, Caesars Team for Jukebox Musical 'Sharp Dressed Man' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees ZZ Top and Caesars Entertainment are developing “Sharp Dressed Man,” a jukebox musical set to open next year in Las Vegas featuring the band’s greatest hits. Members Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard are all serving as executive producers. “Sharp Dressed Man” is described as an “outrageous, [...]

  • Williamstown Theater Festival 2016 season

    Marisa Tomei Starring in Broadway Revival of 'The Rose Tattoo'

    Marisa Tomei will star in the Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams’ “The Rose Tattoo.” The Oscar-winning actress will play Serafina, a part previously performed by the likes of Maureen Stapleton and Anna Magnani. It’s also a role that Tomei is familiar with, having starred in a Williamstown Theatre Festival production in 2016. “The Rose Tattoo” [...]

  • White Pearl review

    London Theater Review: 'White Pearl'

    Playwright Anchuli Felicia King dismantles the Asian market in this misfiring satire at London’s Royal Court Theatre. “White Pearl” makes a case that those seeking to make inroads into the Far East, perceiving a new El Dorado, are no better that colonial conquistadors of an earlier age — and entirely unequipped to understand the specifics [...]

  • Signature Theatre Celebrates Millionth Subsidized Ticket

    Signature Theatre Offers $35 Subsidized Tickets, Celebrates Millionth Sold

    Just the other night, a Manhattan cab driver told Signature Theatre executive director Harold Wolpert that he couldn’t afford to take his girlfriend to a show. In response, Wolpert motioned to his theater, saying that they offer $35 subsidized tickets. The driver said he’d try it out. “It was a great moment,” Wolpert said. “We’re [...]

  • SOCRATES The Public Theater

    Tim Blake Nelson Waxes Philosophical on Writing a Play About Socrates

    Despite Tim Blake Nelson’s knack for playing folksy characters in films such as “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” in his soul lurks the heart of a classicist. Nelson, who stars in HBO’s “Watchmen” series this fall, has also penned the play “Socrates,” now running at New York’s Public Theater through June 2. Doug Hughes directs, [...]

  • TodayTix - Brian Fenty

    TodayTix Banks $73 Million to Boost Theater and Arts Ticketing App

    TodayTix, a Broadway-born mobile ticketing start-up, is looking to expand into a bigger global media and transaction enterprise with a capital infusion of $73 million led by private-equity firm Great Hill Partners. The investment brings TodayTix’s total capital raised to over $100 million, according to CEO and co-founder Brian Fenty. Part of the new funding [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content