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Andy Karl Groundhog Day Manhattan

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Andy Karl Isn't Just a Repeat in the "Groundhog Day" Musical

By Phebe Wahl

Photography by Nathan Johnson

03.28.17

Broadway veteran Andy Karl reimagines Bill Murray’s iconic role in "Groundhog Day," adding a tuneful twist to the tale.

"With my hair painted gray, a fake moustache stuck to my lip and a cigar in my teeth, I spoke a funny line in a funny voice and received my first big laugh from an audience,” recounts actor Andy Karl of his first experience in front of a live audience—in high school, playing General Bullmoose in Li’l Abner. “I’ve been hooked on performing ever since. It’s a very special feeling, making folks laugh or feel something with live theatre.”

Opening April 17, Karl will play for laughs again as lead Phil Conners in Groundhog Day at the August Wilson Theatre. The iconic comedy asks: What would you do if you had to live the same day over and over? Although the two-time Tony Award nominee previously played the role at The Old Vic theatre in London, Karl explains that the time-loop aspect makes each performance an emotional journey. “Phil starts off as the antagonist and eventually becomes the protagonist through chaos, comedy and tragedy,” he says. But don’t expect to see a replication of Bill Murray’s performance on the silver screen. Karl sings in the musical production and promises that “you won’t be thinking of the movie by the first downbeat of music.”

When asked how he keeps up with the rigorous schedule of eight shows a week, Karl says, “Caffeine, sleep and a visit to the gym every day is helpful. I suppose that’s my own personal Groundhog Day.”