After the huge success of Matilda The Musical, Tim Minchin’s next show Groundhog Day is yet more proof (if any were needed) of his gift as a composer-lyricist. Written with Danny Rubin, the musical is adapted from the cult 1993 film about arrogant weatherman Phil Connors (Andy Karl) who is forced to keep living the same day until he rediscovers his humanity and finds love.
Many of Minchin’s melodies are instantly memorable, others repay repeated listening. The lyrics capture character and are smart and witty yet conversational. His knack with rhyming and inventive almost-rhymes also keeps things fresh. The overture is reminiscent of the pulsing chords that open Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, but from there we’re into the altogether different world of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania with the catchy ensemble number There Will Be Sun, juxtaposed with Connors’ cynicism.
Numbers range from the dark rockiness of Hope, to country and western duo Nobody Cares for two loser-boozers, to wry comedy number One Day, sung by Rita (Barrett Doss). There are also several beautiful ballads including the aching Night Will Come about grief sung by insurance salesman Ned
Ryerson (John Sanders). There are a few sequences where a lot is unfolding on stage, which isn’t clear here unless you know the show – the liner notes help fill in the gaps – but it’s still a terrific cast album.