I thought Groundhog Day: The Musical was terrific; a top-tier adaptation of one of the great movie comedies of all time. But who cares what I think? The real opinion that matters is Bill Murray, the star of the original film, directed by the late Harold Ramis. Though the show opened on Broadway last spring after a successful run in London, Murray hadn’t seen Groundhog Day: The Musical until last night. And he loved it.

The New York Times has an extensive report about Murray’s visit to the Great White Way’s singing, dancing version of Punxsutawney, and it is a thorough delight, filled with a year’s worth amazing Bill Murray anecdotes. Such as this one:

[After the show], Mr. Murray took more pictures with fans. When Zoey Jacobs, 11, approached him on crutches, Mr. Murray told her: ‘Don’t sell short on the rehab. Otherwise, you’ll limp and gimp for a long time.’

As for the show itself: the Times describes Murray as a complete and total fan of the production. He “pumped his fist” at the first introduction of Ned Ryerson, the overly friendly insurance salesman who went to high school with Murray’s character, Phil Connors (played in the show, in an incredibly impressive and surprisingly un-Bill-Murray-like performance, by Andy Karl). By the end of the night, Murray was apparently “in tears” and needed some time to “compose himself” before joining the applause during the final curtain call.

As part of his visit, Murray also went backstage, and met the show’s cast. Here he is with its two leads, Karl and Barrett Doss, who plays the role of Rita originated by Andie MacDowell (who made her own pilgrimage to the new Groundhog Day back in April):

Murray also gave a speech to the assembled Groundhog Day cast, encouraging them to work together for the good of the show, and referencing the Panama Canal because he’s Bill Murray and it wouldn’t be a Bill Murray Story without at least one unnecessary reference to the Panama Canal.

It sounds like this was the ultimate night to be in the audience for Groundhog Day on Broadway. I doubt any other performance could measure up to this one, but if you’re in the New York City area, the show is still running and definitely worth seeing even if no one famous is in the crowd.

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