Olivier-winning Best Musical (West End) and Tony-nominated Best Musical Groundhog Day star, Olivier winning and three-time Tony nominee Andy Karl was feted Thursday, August 17 with a reception and Dan May oil portrait for Tony’s di Napoli Wall of Fame. Event producer was Valerie Smaldone.
Karl’s portrait is number 51 in a tradition that began in 2001 when Mamma Mia! cast members Carolee Carmello, Gina Ferrall, and Judy McLane were honored. But it was 2003 when the restaurant’s walls began getting really framed, with former Napoli bartender May portraits of Antonio Bandaras, Jeff Goldblum, Hugh Jackman, Chita Rivera, composer Stephen Schwartz, and Brooke Shields.
Groundhog Day won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical and was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The production, with book by Danny Rubin, who wrote the screenplay, and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin (Matilda), is based on the 1993 film of the same name about a cynical Pittsburgh TV weatherman, suddenly cursed to relive the same day over and over.
Karl (The Mystery of Edwin Drood [revival], Rocky, On the Twentieth Century [revival], Legally Blonde, 9 to 5, Jersey Boys, Altar Boys, Wicked, Saturday Night Fever) received his third Tony nod for his portrayal of Phil Connors, the role he created in the London world premiere. . Many will remember Karl as Sergeant Mike Dodds on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Season 17).
Bill Murray, a huge fan of Karl and the musical, originated the role onscreen. The 1993 film was voted “one of the 10-best comedies of all time” in a Total Film poll.
At the unveiling, Karl stated, “This has been one of the best experiences of my career. I’ve been surrounded by the great people in our cast, who have made this journey such a job.”
He invited co-star Barrett Doss and his 22 plus cast members to join him in a photo opt.
Then, host, di Napoli GM Bruce Dimpflmaier, rolled out a huge birthday cake for a surprise celebration in advance of Karl’s August 28 birthday.
Karl signed poster of the portrait to be auctioned for the outreach programs of BC/EFA. Legally Bound, the live album which captures the December 2016 concert at Feinstein’s/ 54 by Karl and wife, Tony-nominee Orfeh [who was framed on the Wall of Fame in 2007], has just been released on Broadway Records.
The occasion of the portrait unveiling was bittersweet since it had just been announced Groundhog Day will end its run September 17 at the August Wilson Theatre. Plans are far a national tour and open-ended West End production.