Fittingly, the cast of Broadway’s Groundhog Day will have a chance to do its first preview show all over again.
The stage adaptation of the beloved Bill Murray movie had its first preview Thursday night at the August Wilson Theatre, but the show had to be halted due to technical difficulties in the middle of Act I. However, in true “the show must go on” spirit, star Andy Karl and the rest of the production’s cast stayed out on stage and treated the audience to a concert-style performance of the musical’s songs.
Audience members were given free tickets to the preview as part of a promotion and were given free drinks after the stage malfunction. The cast then continued the songs from Act I, producers said, and performed five songs from Act II.
“It certainly wasn’t what we had planned, but we could have not asked for a more memorable evening,” Groundhog Day producers continued in a statement. “The cast, crew, and staff at the August Wilson Theatre were brilliant, and the audience was with us all the way. Due to social media, we were able to read and see the support that we were feeling from the house. We will be accommodating everyone who was there with tickets at another performance — and yes, the problem was identified and repaired overnight to allow performances to resume this evening.”
Karl, who leads the show as weatherman Phil Connors, also addressed the technical issues in a post on Instagram, praising how everyone came together to help finish out the performance.
“After starting the show with an audience that was with us entirely we unfortunately had a stage malfunction 15 minutes in. Though we couldn’t fix it, our director Mathew Warchus had the brilliant idea of performing the show concert style. What happened for the next few hours was remarkable. And to the unique point of the story in Groundhog Day, it was all about embracing the world around you as the cast, crew, creatives, producers and especially the audience came together and made one of the most incredible nights of theatre I’ve ever experienced,” he wrote. “This is what being on stage is all about and I’m forever grateful for nights like these. I’m very lucky to be a part of this production and this stellar team of people.
Groundhog Day will relive its first preview performance Friday night — this time hopefully without the technical difficulties — and officially opens on April 17.