San Francisco Playhouse Presents the Bay Area Premiere of Broadway Smash Hit GROUNDHOG DAY THE MUSICAL
San Francisco Playhouse announced casting for the Bay Area premiere of Groundhog Day the Musical, the hit Broadway comedy adapted from the timeless Bill Murray film. Danny Rubin, co-writer of the 1993 film, wrote the book, with music and lyrics supplied by Tony-winner Tim Minchin (Matilda). Susi Damilano will direct the Playhouse production, with music direction by Dave Dobrusky and choreography by Nicole Helfer.It's February 2nd in Punxsutawney, PA, and a storm is coming. Phil Connors, a big-city weatherman, couldn't be more frustrated to be reporting on the small-town Groundhog Day Ceremony-until he finds himself reliving the same day over and over again. Stuck in an endless loop of arrogance and cynicism amongst the cheery townsfolk, Phil must learn to take advantage of his second, third, and fourth chances and break the cycle. Groundhog Day the Musical premiered at London's The Old Vic in 2016, and had a Broadway run in 2017 that was nominated for 7 Tony Awards. The Playhouse production will mark the musical comedy's Bay Area premiere, after the show's originally-planned 18-month national tour was canceled last year. "Groundhog Day is one of my all-time favorite movies, and when I saw local actor Taylor Iman Jones make her Broadway debut in the musical adaptation, I was sold," said director Susi Damilano. "The underlying theme of the show - that we must practice empathy to make ourselves better people - makes this a perfect show for the Playhouse and the holiday season."The San Francisco Playhouse cast includes Rinabeth Apostol, Jorge Luis Diaz, Ryan Drummond, Kathryn Han, Sophia Introna, Larissa Kelloway, Cameron La Brie, Dean Linnard, Michael Motroni, Montel Anthony Nord, Danielle Philapil, Anthony Rollins-Mullens, David Schiller, Loreigna Sinclair, Michael Gene Sullivan, and Scott Taylor-Cole. San Francisco Playhouse's production of Groundhog Day the musical is made possible by executive producer Robert Hulteng; producers Fred & Leslie Karren and Phylis & Jerry Rosenberg; associate producers Tom & Stephanie Lima and Edwin & Peggy Mihm; and artistic sponsors Fred Karren, Gary Glaser & Christine Miller, and Ruth & Les Finkelstein.Tim Minchin (Music and Lyrics) is a musician, actor, comedian, writer and director. He's toured extensively in the US, UK and Australia, performing solo, with bands, and with symphony orchestras. He's released five DVDs, the most recent recorded with the Heritage Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. Screen acting credits include Robin Hood Origins (2018), Secret River (2015), and Californication (Season 6 - 2013). Stage acting credits include Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Sydney Theatre Company) and Jesus Christ Superstar (UK/Australia tours). Tim has written extensively for theatre, and is the composer-lyricist of Matilda the Musical (with Dennis Kelly) and Groundhog Day the Musical (with Danny Rubin). Danny Rubin (Book) After many years writing and performing with improvisational theater companies as well as scripting industrial films and children's television, Danny Rubin began writing screenplays. His screen credits include Hear No Evil, S.F.W., and Groundhog Day, for which he received the 1993 British Academy Award for Screenwriting and the Critics' Circle Award for Screenwriter of the Year, as well as honors from the Writers Guild of America and the American Film Institute. Rubin has taught screenwriting throughout the US and internationally, and from 2008-2013 he served as the first Briggs-Copeland Lecturer on Screenwriting at Harvard University. Groundhog Day the Musical opened to rave reviews at the Old Vic Theatre in London in August of 2016 earning Rubin and composer/lyricist Tim Minchin the Oliver Award for Best New Musical. The show opened on Broadway in April of 2017 garnering 7 Tony nominations including Best Musical and Best Book to a Musical. Rubin holds a BA in biology from Brown University and an MA in radio, television, and film from Northwestern University. He is married to librarian, web-designer and architect Louise Rubin with whom he shares a home in New Mexico and at least two children. Susi Damilano (Director, Producing Director) is co-founder and Producing Director of San Francisco Playhouse. Directing credits include Playhouse productions of Cabaret, Mary Poppins, Born Yesterday, A Christmas Story: The Musical, Noises Off, She Loves Me, Stage Kiss, Company, Stupid Fucking Bird, Into the Woods, A Behanding in Spokane, Den of Thieves and Wirehead (San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle nomination), the West Coast premieres of Honey Brown Eyes (SFBATCC nomination), Dead Man's Cell Phone, Coronado, The Mystery Plays and Roulette, and the world premieres of On Clover Road by Steven Dietz, From Red to Black by Rhett Rossi, and Seven Days by Daniel Heath in the Sandbox Series. She is a five-time recipient of the Excellence in Theatre Award for Principal Actress - Play from the San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle for Abigail's Party, Harper Regan, Bug, Six Degrees of Separation and Reckless. At the Playhouse, Susi has performed leading roles in Yoga Play, Barbecue, The Roommate, Red Velvet, Tree, Bauer, Abigail's Party, Harper Regan, Coraline, Slasher, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Landscape of the Body, First Person Shoot, Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train, The Crucible, Kimberly Akimbo, Our Town, and The Smell of the Kill. Dave Dobrusky (Music Director) is proud to have been associated with SF Playhouse for thirteen years: Cabaret, Sunday in the Park with George*, A Christmas Story, La Cage aux Folles, Company, Into the Woods, My Fair Lady, Man of LaMancha*, Putting It Together. Dave is also the resident music director at 42nd Street Moon Theatre where he has played, conducted, arranged & orchestrated dozens of "uncommon" musicals since 1996: 110 in the Shade, Dames at Sea, Me and My Girl, Ain't Misbehavin, No No Nanette, Most Happy Fella, Scrooge in Love! (world premiere), Nick and Nora, The Boy Friend, Do I Hear a Waltz?, Three Sisters, Paint Your Wagon*, and cast recordings of Cole Porter's Leave It to Me and Jerome Kern's The Cabaret Girl. Other Bay Area credits include appearances at Theatre Rhinoceros, TheatreWorks, Center Rep, New Conservatory Theatre, and Playhouse West (In This House*). Dave is from Albuquerque and was educated at Oberlin Conservatory.
* SF Bay Area Critics Circle awards Nicole Helfer (Choreography) is a Bay Area native and a graduate of San Francisco State University. Choreography credits include: Cabaret for San Francisco Playhouse, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan and West Side Story for Mountain Play, In the Heights for Broadway By The Bay (Theatre Bay Area Award-winner), Dogfight for OMG Productions, Tarzan for Contra Costa Musical Theater (Shellie Award nominee), Rent for Pacific Coast Repertory Theatre Company, Measure for Measurefor San Francisco State University, 8 Track: The Sounds of the 70s, Six Women With Brain Death, and You're A Good Man Charlie Brown (Shellie Award nominee) for Willows Theatre Company. She has also choreographed Click Clack Moo and the very successful Pinkalicious for Bay Area Children's Theater. In addition to performing regularly in regional musical theatre productions, she has taught dance and theatre classes for Young REP, Kid Stock, Inc., Dance Mission Theatre, Marilyn Izdebski Productions, YMCA and Spindrift School of Performing Arts. Currently, Nicole is happily teaching a variety of dance classes at the Ballet School in Walnut Creek and is theatre faculty at Oakland School for the Arts. She is so honored to be working with such an amazing creative team. Founded in 2003 and now the second largest non-profit theater in the city, San Francisco Playhouse is the only mid-sized professional venue in downtown San Francisco-an intimate alternative to the larger more traditional Union Square Theater fare. Presenting a diverse range of plays and musicals, San Francisco Playhouse produces new works as well as re-imagined classics, "making the edgy accessible and the traditional edgy." And with its bold Sandbox Series, dedicated to nurturing world premieres, the Playhouse has become a significant player in developing new works as well. San Francisco Playhouse is committed to providing a creative home and inspiring environment where actors, directors, writers, designers, and theater lovers converge to create and experience dramatic works that celebrate the human spirit. *Member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers.
Photo credit: Donny Gilliland