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Tue 09 May 2017 return to previous page


Interview with Groundhog Day star Andy Karl


Andy Karl

Groundhog Day
Andy Karl

Three-time Tony nominee and Olivier Award winner Andy Karl is the leading man, currently starring as Phil Connors in the Broadway premiere of Groundhog Day - The Musical at the August Wilson Theatre.

Andy picked up the Olivier Award for "Best Actor in a Musical" for the show's London world premiere. He is currently Tony-nominated for the role and also earned Tony nominations for Rocky (2014) and On the Twentieth Century (2015). His other Broadway credits include The Mystery of Edwin Drood, 9 to 5, Legally Blonde, Jersey Boys, Wicked and Saturday Night Fever.

Despite sustaining a knee injury on stage during previews, Andy has battled on through opening night and continues in the production at the August Wilson Theatre.

We caught up with Andy to talk about his recovery, winning the Olivier Award, and the similarities between Groundhog Day and a Broadway performer's real life...

Photo by Carl Kissin
Andy Karl
Andy Karl

Thomas Hayden Millward: Well, Iíve seen you perform this show at Londonís Old Vic and now on Broadway all strapped up in a knee brace. Youíve been a trooper, Andy! How are you feeling?

Andy Karl: Iím doing great. The injury is still there, but Iíve gotten a lot stronger. The great thing is that Iím wearing this brace in the show and Iím just making fun of it because I feel like Phil Connors can get away with anything!

Photo by Joan Marcus
Andy Karl in Groundhog Day
Andy Karl in Groundhog Day
More Production Photos

THM: How beneficial was it for you to have your ďout-of-town try-outĒ in the little town of London?

AK: Well, I tell you what Ė to me, all the pressure was off. Weíre in Awards Season now and everybody is holding their breath and seeing if theyíre going to win. Thatís just how the Awards Season is. Itís competitive. In London, I didnít feel any of that. I felt like I did the best work Iíd ever done. Matthew Warchus, Tim Minchin and Danny Rubin are all these geniuses, so I just wanted to live up to their work.

THM: Well, the pressure may have been off, but you still managed to win your first Olivier Award! Congratulations! Did you manage to see the broadcast of the ceremony?

AK: I saw little bits and pieces of it. My friend Georgina Hagen - who was in the show in London Ė she accepted for me. I honestly didnít think I was going to win, so I think I wrote about three sentences. I feel like I didnít do enough, but it was an exciting, surreal moment.

THM: And itís not too bad, when you have Tim Minchin performing one of the Groundhog Day songs in the Royal Albert HallÖ

AK: Itís not too bad at all, when that guy gets up and sings a song. They are HIS songs, so heís very welcome to sing any of them!

Photo by Joan Marcus
Barrett Doss & Andy Karl in Groundhog Day
Barrett Doss & Andy Karl in Groundhog Day
More Production Photos

THM: When I think of Groundhog Day, a Broadway performerís life is essentially like Groundhog Day in part, as they wake up every day and go to the same theatre and do the same show over and over again. Do you feel like Broadway and Groundhog Day are a match made in heaven?

AK: Absolutely! Itís very easy for me to be a jerk in the morning when I wake up in that show. I can take all the things that annoy us about doing eight shows a week and then by the end of the show, Iím fully realised and a better human being because all I have to do is look around at all the other actors and the support we have from the audience, giving us such love. So, it definitely is a match made in heaven!

Photo by Joan Marcus
Andy Karl in Groundhog Day
Andy Karl in Groundhog Day
More Production Photos

THM: In that respect, do you feel it is a tricky role to pull off, because, yes, Phil has to be an a**hole at the start, but we still have to care about him as an audience and will him to turn over a new leaf and break the cycle?

AK: It is tricky, but itís soooo much fun! Getting a handle on what kind of a jerk I needed to be was the best part. He carries all the cards but heís also a little charming as well. You have to be that person that people love to hate. Thatís been wonderful to play. I just love this role!

THM: Well, long may this role continueÖ over and over again! And I wish you a speedy recovery too!

AK: Thanks, buddy! I appreciate it.

Photo by Carl Kissin
Andy Karl

Groundhog Day is booking through to January 7, 2018 at Broadway's August Wilson Theatre. Click HERE for tickets!

- by Thomas Hayden Millward

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