He's in Groundhog Day, but who the hell really is Andy Karl?

If you’ve been asking yourself “who’s the guy getting rave reviews” in ”Groundhog Day”, we’re here to help

"He oozes star quality" said the Evening Standard. "Both a captive and captivating presence" said The Stage. "A revelation" said WhatsOnStage.

Nice write-ups. Andy Karl is delighting audiences and critics alike in London theatreland at the moment. He's just stepped into the very big shoes of Bill Murray to play Phil Connors in Tim Minchin's newest musical Groundhog Day. Although unless you've kept a keen eye on Broadway over the last 16 years, he may have been under your radar. So fear not, we've been digging around to find out everything you need to know about London's latest star.

When he was 21, he played a nine foot tap dancing dragon

Andy Karl
Andy Karl
© David Gordon

Born in August 1974, Karl grew up in Maryland, Baltimore. Some of his high school roles included Jud in Oklahoma! and the lead in Aladdin. But, in what may have been one of his most challenging roles, he once played a 9 foot tap-dancing dragon in the children's musical The Reluctant Dragon for the local youth theatre. It's probably safe to say that from here, he went on to better things.

He played Rocky in the original Broadway production

When Rocky opened at the Winter Garden Theatre, Karl was cast as the titular character. To play the part, made famous by Sylvester Stallone in the 1977 film, he gained 12 pounds of muscle to portray the heavyweight fighter. His performance earned him his first Tony nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Musical.

He originally planned to be a voice teacher

Andy Karl, Carlyss Peer and Tim Minchin
Andy Karl, Carlyss Peer and Tim Minchin
© Photo by @woollercom

Whilst studying voice and music at Towson State University, Maryland, Karl would perform in the college's shows. A director saw one of these productions and told Karl he had what it takes to be a professional actor.

He and his wife met whilst playing in Saturday Night Fever

It was love at first sight for Karl and his wife Orfeh. The pair were wed six months after meeting in the production in 2000. They have gone on to perform together in Legally Blonde where she played Paulette and he played both her sleazy ex-husband and the UPS man, Kyle.

They have an adorable dog

It's called Boo. How cute.

He appeared in the American TV show Law & Order: SVU

Andy Karl in Law & Order SVU
Andy Karl in Law & Order SVU
© Will Hart/NBC

Karl appeared in the long-running US TV show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He plays Sgt. Mike Dodds, son of Chief William Dodds, who is played by Peter Gallagher. This reunited the pair after they starred in the 2015 Broadway revival of On the Twentieth Century.

He had two auditions for Jersey Boys cancelled before he got the job

Andy Karl (far right) in Jersey Boys
Andy Karl (far right) in Jersey Boys
© Joan Marcus

In an interview with Larry King, Karl revealed that his first audition for the show was cancelled due to an earthquake, and the second was scheduled to take place during Hurricane Sandy. He finally got the part and played Tommy DeVito until 2013.

Click here to read our five star Groundhog Day review

Groundhog Day runs at the Old Vic until 17 September.