This Award-Winning Musical Has Arrived Direct From London’s Glitzy West End

By Emma Bishop

Melbourne's balmy weather well and truly arrives in late summer. Rooftops and pubs pack out on sweltering afternoons, boats line the Yarra River, folks flock to the city for art exhibits, and the theatre district comes alive as the new year brings new world-class productions.

If you’re overdue for a trip southeast, we’ve teamed up with our mates at Visit Melbourne to bring you the perfect excuse. Fresh from a hugely popular run in London, Groundhog Day The Musical plays in Melbourne at the iconic Princess Theatre for an Australian-exclusive season until 20 April.

To celebrate, we asked the man behind the music—Australia's very own Tim Minchin—what makes Groundhog Day The Musical’s exclusive Australian season so damn special. 

Expect To Catch The Original London Production

People performing on stage.

Unlike many Australian productions, Groundhog Day The Musical has arrived in Melbourne with most of its original crew, choreographers and costumes. Brought to life with a stellar local cast, the musical showcases a banging combo of Australian and international talent. “The original British production has come straight from London to Melbourne,” shares Minchin. “It’s not an Aussie touring production, it’s the f**king West End production. We literally put every costume and the whole set on a boat, shipped it here and unpacked it into the Princess Theatre. We even brought associate directors and choreographers from the UK—it's a really rare thing," he adds. 

It’s A Grown Up Musical

Two people on a theatre stage.

Groundhog Day The Musical will please big thinkers and introspects because it's a production that grapples with big, philosophical ideas. “It's a musical about how we're to live, how we're to fill our time, what our values are and how to be a good person," shares Minchin. “It's a grown-up musical, which isn't to say that 13-year-olds won't love it, but it's really a musical in the tradition of a story like A Christmas Carol or It's A Wonderful Life," he adds"But, of course, I wanted to make it witty and fun for the whole family."

The Story Has A Contemporary Message

People on theatre stage.

Like any piece of writing or music that Minchin produces, the show has a message that will resonate with a modern audience. “It really affects people, which is interesting," Minchin shares. “While Matilda The Musical says: if there’s something going wrong, you've got to change it and fight the power. Groundhog Day The Musical is the other side of the coin. It’s about learning that you can be Matilda and fight for change, but you also have to learn to be present in life as it is and to find beauty,” he adds. “It says: to change the world, you have to change your lens.”

It's Showing In Melbourne's Thriving Theatre District

French style bar.

Spring Street's iconic Princess Theatre is a grand old dame of a building, and its iconic facade has been lit up with the names of many international productions. "I love the Princess Theater," shares Minchin. "It's got a huge heritage of having amazing shows." When the curtain comes down, you're minutes from some of Melbourne's most iconic late-night bars and eateries. Saunter down to bar Bar Margaux for a French affair, fitting of a night at the theatre—pomme frites and martinis, anyone? Sip cocktails in a cottage at Caretaker’s Cottage, or settle in for a night of relaxed new Nordic dining at Freyja. Get more inspiration for your Melbourne weekend here.

Yes, You Can See It Over And Over Again

People dancing on theatre stage.

It would be remiss of us not to ask Minchin about repetition, given the nature of the original story. "People love it the first time—and the second time it slightly blows their brains," shares Minchin. "Of course, there's an irony that we've written a musical about repetition that bears repetition."

But, should you really watch something over and over again? "The reason we love music, food and theatre is because we seek new experiences," Minchin shares.

"At its best art can put you in another person's shoes. And that's what Groundhog Day The Musical is about. It's about someone who's starting to realise that the way to happiness is not about serving your own aspirations, but in serving other people's needs." And that's a message we can all get around.

Catch Groundhog Day the Musical at the Princess Theatre until 20 April. Find out more and where to book your tickets here.

Editor’s note: this article was produced in partnership with Visit Melbourne. Thank you for supporting the partners who make Urban List possible. To read our editorial policy, click here.

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