Groundhog Day in San Francisco

mcsquared
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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#1
Posted: 11/12/19 at 2:29pm

I had seen the post about Groundhog Day playing in Minnesota but just found out it was playing in San Francisco starting in a week. Was hoping to catch it even though I'm assuming it's regional production.

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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#3
Posted: 11/12/19 at 3:18pm

I have tickets to the first preview next week, and then a few more times after that (see icon wink)

SF Playhouse is only about 200 seats, but the shows are typically high quality IMO. (Not sure where it falls on the local / regional theater spectrum - the majority of the actors and staff seem to be equity). I'm really excited to see how Groundhog Day will do in a smaller space. I loved the Broadway production and I thought Wachus's direction was gorgeous, but I also want to see how the story could be done without 4 turntables. 

As far as I'm aware, this is the first US regional production. There's also one in Florida in early 2020, and then next summer in Minneapolis. 

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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#4
Posted: 11/13/19 at 2:09pm

Kitsune said: "There's also one in Florida in early 2020"

Where in Florida?

 

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woeisme3
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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#5
Posted: 11/13/19 at 2:14pm
I’m glad this show is finally showing up regionally. I really loved it on Broadway and think it was kind of cursed by a busy season- if it had opened in the 2018 season I think it would’ve been a bigger hit.
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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#6
Posted: 11/13/19 at 2:15pm

Lot666 said: "Kitsune said: "There's also one in Florida in early 2020"

Where in Florida?


"

According to the website, Fort Lauderdale. Looks like they also have a performance on Groundhog Day itself.

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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#7
Posted: 11/14/19 at 9:56am

woeisme3 said: "I’m glad this show is finally showing up regionally. I really loved it on Broadway and think it was kind of cursed by a busy season- if it had opened in the 2018 season I think it would’ve been a bigger hit."

I agree completely. I saw it twice and wish I could've gone back again before it closed.

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Alex Kulak2
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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#8
Posted: 11/14/19 at 11:25am

I could easily see this being a hot commodity with high schools and community theatres. The script and Minchin's music are both fantastic, but I'm interested to see how well it would fare without all of Warchus' stagecraft.

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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#9
Posted: 11/14/19 at 1:23pm

So so so glad this show is starting to get picked up. There's a lot of heart within the material, and while I really did like Warchus's work on the show, I'm sure there's a director out there with the right vision to maximize the potential for this show's emotional weight.

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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#10
Posted: 11/14/19 at 1:27pm

Loved loved loved everything about this show, and Im so glad other people get to see it who couldn't make it to NY. 

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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#11
Posted: 11/14/19 at 5:42pm

Seeing it next Wednesday the 20th if anyone else is planning to be there. Never saw the Broadway production so I'm excited to see it. I've seen many productions at SFP and all have been very well done. Like others I'll be curious to see how the handle the rapid-fire scene and costume changes on their smallish stage. 

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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#12
Posted: 11/18/19 at 1:35am

Absolutely loved this show on Broadway and was sad that it closed so early.  I have a FlexPass for SF Playhouse, so I used it for two seats for this in January (and two seats for Follies in August).  I'll be interested to see how they stage this.  Friends of mine are going on Saturday, so if they have anything to report, I will post.

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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#13
Posted: 11/18/19 at 2:10am
As a bit of an aside, my nephew's husband was Andy Karl's dresser for Groundhog Day on Broadway, but the evening I attended Andy was out with a cold. Don't get out your hankies for me though. He also dressed Andy for Rocky and I got to visit in the dressing room and a second time in the house post-performance. Orfeh and Andy are the sweetest couple and I also had the privilege of meeting them as a guest on stage after a performance of Pretty Woman. Saw their cabaret act at Feinstein's at the Nikko hotel and will see them there again next January. Will be great to have another chat.
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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#14
Posted: 11/18/19 at 4:56am

Sho-Tunes-R-Us said: "...Saw their cabaret act at Feinstein's at the Nikko hotel and will see them there again next January. Will be great to have another chat."

I just bought tix yesterday for their show at Feinstein's. Looking forward to it. Also eager to see Groundhog Day in a couple of weeks.

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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#15
Posted: 11/18/19 at 6:42pm

FYI, I just got an e-mail from SF Playhouse saying that due to technical difficulties, they're canceling the first preview this Wednesday and treating it as a final dress rehearsal. We are welcome to either exchange our tickets, get a refund, or come anyway (knowing that it's a final dress rehearsal, not an official preview).

 

I don't actually know anything about what's going on, but I'm going to blame it on the turntable. (I don't actually know if this production is even using turntables wink). SF Playhouse just finished their last production on the 9th, so they've only had about a week to bring in any sets for Groundhog Day, so I could see how things are tripped up.

This poor show seems to be cursed, and yet it holds a very special place in my heart I'm still extremely excited. My heart goes out to the cast, crew, and SF Playhouse staff, who I'm sure are really stressed right now. I guess Champions Adjust still applies!

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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#16
Posted: 11/19/19 at 9:33am

Kitsune said: "I don't actually know anything about what's going on, but I'm going to blame it on the turntable. (I don't actually know if this production is even using turntables)"

I'm very curious to see whether the staging is similar to the brilliant but complex Broadway production, which was rife with technical glitches early on. I hope they get it together quickly!

 

============> this board is a nest of vipers <============

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- Craig Hepworth, What's On Stage
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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#17
Posted: 11/19/19 at 9:49am

I got the cancel email as well, and will be attending the final dress. The revised earlier start time of 7:00 works better for me too. I work a few blocks away from the theater. 
 

 

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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#18
Posted: 11/23/19 at 2:56am

Any update on this? Excited to hear how it is!

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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#19
Posted: 11/23/19 at 3:10am

At the last minute I decided to switch tickets to a later date and missed the final dress. I have to say, the SFP box office staff is fantastic. Very responsive and accommodating. True it’s a small house so a relatively small number of patrons were impacted by the cancelation, compared to a larger theater.  Still, it must have been a busy, hectic couple of days for them and from what I’ve experienced they handled the situation quite well. 

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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#20
Posted: 11/26/19 at 10:19pm

Friends of mine saw this on Saturday and really enjoyed it.  According to one of them, there was one turntable, the minivan, snow, shovel, and the voices were good but they thought that Rita's was better than Phil's.  They had never heard anything about the show before (except for my recommendation) and didn't know what to expect.  They are casual theatre-goers, usually seeing some of the touring shows in San Jose (and sometimes San Francisco).  They said it was better than the On Your Feet tour they saw recently.

If anyone is looking to buy a San Francisco Playhouse subscription or FlexPass, they are currently 25% off for Black Friday.  I just bought a 6-pack because it never expires and I am sure there will be other shows to see there besides Groundhog Day and Follies (which I am already using a current FlexPass for).

Updated On: 11/26/19 at 10:19 PM
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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#21
Posted: 11/26/19 at 11:05pm

Yes (even without the Black Friday deal) the FlexPass is a great deal - and SF Playhouse consistently puts on good stuff.

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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#22
Posted: 11/27/19 at 12:39am

I need more of you to see this so I can decide whether to see it. We almost saw this on Broadway during the final days of previews, but while I'm a fan of the film, I have been pretty meh on the songs I've heard. Plus, I usually don't like movie-to-musical adaptations unless I don't know the film at all. My wife is a skeptic too. But I do usually like SF Playhouse musicals (La Cage Aux Folles, Sunday in the Park With George, Cabaret).

So if it's good, talk me (and my wife) into it!

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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#23
Posted: 11/27/19 at 1:02am

bear88 said: "I need more of you to see this so I can decide whether to see it. We almost saw this on Broadway during the final days of previews, but while I'm a fan of the film, I have been pretty meh on the songs I've heard. Plus, I usually don't like movie-to-musical adaptations unless I don't know the film at all. My wife is a skeptic too. But I do usually like SF Playhouse musicals (La Cage Aux Folles, Sunday in the Park With George, Cabaret).

So if it's good, talk me (and my wife) into it!
"

I saw this twice during the closing weekend in NY, and it is on my list of the top 10 shows I have ever seen on Broadway.  It had some flaws, but it was brilliant and moving and deep, in my opinion.  Of course, I love Andy Karl and thought he deserved the Tony, and I loved the whole production and cast.  I won't be seeing the SF Playhouse production until January, but for the price (I think there are deals out there), and if it's not out of your way and you have some time, I would think you would want to see it!  If I lived closer, I would have already seen it.

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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#24
Posted: 11/27/19 at 1:49am

I'll be attending tomorrow's official opening, and will report back!

I technically saw this on Wednesday last week. (We were told that the first preview was canceled. We could either reschedule our tickets free of charge, or come to what would instead be a dress rehearsal. Given we had tickets again for later in the run, we opted for the invited dress).

We definitely saw a lot of the warts, but it was still a really interesting experience. I love *watching* theater, but I've never really participated in it. It sounds weird to say I enjoyed the mistakes and glitches, but I really liked getting to see a part of the process that's usually long-polished by the time the audience comes in. It also gave me a new appreciation for just how *hard* Groundhog Day is to stage, even if you tone down the technical aspects. There are a LOT of cues, and a lot of places where the timing has to be really precise. 

Given all of this, I can't "review" at this point per se. I will say that a lot of the staging is surprisingly similar to the Broadway production, albeit less tech heavy. (For example: The illusions in Hope are largely the same, and the car chase scene in Nobody Cares uses similar practical effects). I was worried how the show would fare without Andy Karl, but I really liked what I saw of Ryan Drummond - I'm hoping his performance only continues to grow.

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Groundhog Day in San Francisco#25
Posted: 11/30/19 at 1:38pm

For the poster who asked in another thread about the staging:

The staging is similar to the Broadway version, albeit lower tech (e.g. there is one turntable instead of 3+). Most of the scene transitions are done via turntable, cast/crew bringing furniture on or off stage, or the stage going dark. 

Side note: I got to see the final dress rehearsal (we had the option of rescheduling our first preview tickets, or checking out the dress rehearsal. We went for the latter). It gave me a whole new appreciation for how *hard* this show is to stage. Even in scenes with no turntables, there are so many cues that need to be down to the second). I’m glad to report that by opening night, everything was seamless.

For those who are curious:

 
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The staging is similar to the Broadway version, albeit lower tech (e.g. there is one turntable instead of 3+). Most of the scene transitions are done via turntable, cast/crew bringing furniture on or off stage, or the stage going dark. 

Side note: I got to see the final dress rehearsal (we had the option of rescheduling our first preview tickets, or checking out the dress rehearsal. We went for the latter). It gave me a whole new appreciation for how *hard* this show is to stage. Even in scenes with no turntables, there are so many cues that need to be down to the second). I’m glad to report that by opening night, everything was seamless.

For those who are curious:

-The opening scene with Phil recording the Groundhog Day promo is done live in front of a green screen (Broadway played a video of Phil on the monitor).

-Nobody Cares is staged similarly to Broadway, with chorus members (stage crew?) running across the stage to represent houses, one way signs, etc. At one point car “puppets” are brought out to show the standoff between Phil and the cops. Even in a lower tech form, it’s still really clever.

-The transitions in One Day are done by playing a rewind sound, and the actors going back to their original positions.

-The entracte into Act II starts with Phil getting ready for the broadcast, and the townspeople doing their thing. Nancy has a routine where she bounces a beach ball, and then the focus turns to her at the end of the entracte. IMO I actually preferred this staging - Playing Nancy felt less jarring.

-Hope has the bones of the same staging - Phil swaps the groundhog head with another townie before stepping in front of a car, steps behind the shower curtain, etc. 
The director seemed to go for “plausible deniability” in this sequence, rather than stressing out that there was no way we could see the actor moving around backstage. (For example, when Phil jumps, there are townspeople gathered below and they draw our attention away from whatever the actor is doing). I’ve lost loved ones to suicide, and as much as I love the Broadway production, I always found Hope jarring. Not because of the subject - the movie is one of my favorites, but rather because of the heavy emphasis on the stagecraft. People would cheer every time Phil reappeared in bed, and while I understood why, it was uncomfortable. 

-The scenes leading up to Night Will Come use a turntable, but most of the song is done with Phil sitting with Mr. Jensen as he dies. It was very moving.
 

Happy to answer any other questions! Will post my other impressions of the show later, hopefully.