‘Groundhog Day’'s Andy Karl on deja vu, auditions and underwear


It’s deja vu all over again for New York actor Andy Karl.

That’s the job when you’re playing a sarcastic TV weatherman stuck living the same day over and over in the new musical “Groundhog Day,” beginning previews this week.

“As a performer, especially in the theater doing eight shows a week, it’s about repeating things,” Karl, 43, told the Daily News. “My life, in general, is deja vu.”

“Groundhog Day,” based on the hit Bill Murray movie comedy, reunites “Matilda” director Matthew Warchus and composer Tim Minchin. Danny Rubin adapted the screenplay he co-wrote for the much-loved 1993 movie.

Andy Karl in the musical

Andy Karl in the musical “Groundhog Day”

(Manuel Harlan)

Bill Murray in the movie

Bill Murray in the movie “Groundhog Day”

(COLUMBIA PICTURES/ABC)

TV meteorologist Phil Connors, as played by Andy Karl, with the pillow, and Bill Murray, with the rodent.

The show marks the ninth Broadway musical for Karl, who’s earned two Tony nominations — for his star turn as the Italian Stallion in “Rocky” in 2014 and “On the Twentieth Century” a year later.

Fans of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” also know him as Sgt. Mike Dodds.

The TV series aided and abetted his efforts to land the role of withering weather forecaster Phil Connors.

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Raul Esparza, holding the Daily News, was Andy Karl’s audition ace in the hole.

(Michael Parmelee/NBC/Michael Parmelee/NBC)

“Phil is a jerk,” said Karl.

The same goes for snark-spewing, suspender-wearing Assistant District Attorney Rafael Barba, played by Raul Esparza, on “SVU.”

“I mimicked Raul as Barba when I auditioned,” said Karl. “I said to myself, ‘I’m going to play Raul today. Let’s see what happens.’”

“I said to myself, ‘I’m going to play Raul today. Let’s see what happens.’”

What happened was that he checked off all of the boxes Warchus needed from the show’s star.

That list, the director told the News, included being likably charismatic to offset the fact that Phil is a weasel; extremely energetic, since he’s rarely offstage; funny and emotionally deep, and able to dance and sing (really well).

“Andy radiates huge warmth in the role,” said Warchus. “He is every bit the guy audiences root for.”

“I’m almost certainly going to be in shorts or underwear,” Andy Karl, seen here in “Rocky,” told the Daily News.

Critics in London, where the show ran for four weeks at the Old Vic last summer, agreed. The Guardian hailed Karl’s “capacity to be physically dashing and funny at the same time.”

And it doesn’t hurt that he looks good in his skivvies.

“I wake up in the show something like ten times and get dressed onstage,” said Karl. “I can’t let everything go if I’m onstage in my underwear.

“That actually seems to be my thing on Broadway,” he added. “I’m almost certainly going to be in shorts or underwear. And get hit. I’m Broadway’s punching boy.”

“Groundhog Day” begins previews Thursday and opens April 17 at the August Wilson Theatre.

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