Austin Elle Fisher(Natalie Hillard),Tyler Wladis(Christopher Hillard),Analise Scarpaci(Lydia Hillard),Jenn Gambatese(Miranda Hillard) and Rob McClure(Daniel Hillard as Euphegenia Doubtfire)
Book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell
Music and Lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick
Directed by Jerry Zaks
Roundabout Theatre Company
Stephen Sondheim Theatre
By Lauren Yarger
Hey, poppets! Get on over the Sondheim Theatre
for one of the most fun, family-friendly musicals on Broadway. It’s Roundabout
Theatre Company’s Mrs. Doubtfire inspired by the 1993 movie starring Robin Williams
with book, music and lyrics from the team who brought us the fun, zany comedy
musical Something Rotten!.
Here Rob McClure (who delighted in Something
Rotten! and Chaplin) stars as
Daniel Hillard, a down-on-his luck father who loses custody of his children
when his wife, Miranda (Jenn Gambatese),finally gives up and divorces him. Her
career is just taking off with a fashion line for working/active women, so she
needs a nanny to help with the kids, Lydia (a really terrific, full voiced
Analise Scarpace), Christopher (Titus Landegger and Tyler Wladis) and Natalie (Austin
Elle Fisher and Ava Gail Prince).
With the help of his brother, Frank (Brad Oscar,
another Something’s Rotten alum), and his husband, Andre Mayem (J. Harrison
Ghee), Daniel transforms himself into a grandmotherly woman from Scotland, Euphegenia
Doubtfire, and applies for the job. The normally chaotic Hillard home is
transformed into well-run, love-filled haven under the no-nonsense, loving housekeeper. Miranda discovers a new friend
and confidant in Mrs. Doubtfire and Daniel is forced to hear the truth about
his marriage and his ex wife’s growing affection for the handsome and rich
Stuart Dunmire (Mark EVans) who is boosting Miranda’s career.
Desperate to take
control of his life and have one more shot at being in his kids’ lives, Daniel
takes a janitor’s job at a local TV station where Mr. Jolly (a side-splittingly
funny Peter Bartlett) does his best to entertain children. Free-spirited Daniel
gets a crack at his own show if he can just figure out how to make that work while juggling being Mrs. Doubtfire and Daniel Hillard while keeping suspicious social worker Wanda
Sellner (a fantastic Charity Angél
thrilling with a heavenly voice) at bay.
As you might imagine, chaos ensues and there is a drive-by fruiting (Book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell). It’s really a lot of laughs with the king of fun, big musicals, Jerry Zaks, at the helm. Some of the most iconic parts of the movie are in there if not as excellently executed and some musical numbers seem superfluous (Music and Lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick). Choreography is by Lorin Latarro. I remember thinking the music was pleasant, but I honestly couldn’t remember a tune after leaving the theater.
A few politically-correct changes to the script have Daniel’s child frightened discovering Dad's face comes off instead of male parts (instead of female parts) in the rest room, and Frank and his husband are touted as the epitome of a happily married couple looking to adopt a child (instead of the brother being a rather zany drag queen). The big theme and the ending number is all about forgiving, accepting yourself and being happy “As Long as There is Love.”
McClure is terrific in the role and no comparison with Williams in necessary. He makes the role his own through a lot of hard work in a high-action role where he rarely is off stage (I saw him vamp through a tech glitch on top of everything else) and a lot of very fast costume changes. His morph from Daniel to Mrs. Doubtfire and back again is made possible by some costuming from designer Catherine Zuber and Make-up and Prosthetics Designer Tommy Kurzman. All of the attention and effort must have gone into the iconic look of Mrs. Doubtfire, however, as the rest of the costumes are surprisingly sub-par and unflattering.
It's a fun time at the theater and I saw lot of kids the day I attended, though I might suggest a PG-13 rating. Mrs. Doubtfire entertains for two hours and 30 minutes at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, 124 W 43rd St., NYC. mrsdoubtfirebroadway.com
Cameron Adams, Calvin L. Cooper, Kaleigh Cronin, Maria Dalanno, Casey Garvin, David Hibbard, KJ Hippensteel, Aaron Kaburick, Jodi Kimura, Erica Mansfield, Brian Martin, Alexandra Matteo, Sam Middleton, LaQuet Sharnell Pringle, Akilah Sailers, Jaquez André Sims, Addison Takefman, Travis Waldschmidt and Aléna Watters.
Lighting Designer Philip S. Rosenberg; Sound Designer Brian Ronan; Hair and Wig Designer David Brian Brown.
-- Men dress as women
-- Revealing costumes
-- Homosexual partners
Masks Required: Everyone in the theatre must wear acceptable face coverings at all times, including during the show, except while eating or drinking in designated locations. All face coverings must cover the nose and mouth and comply with the CDC guidelines for acceptable face coverings.
For more information, visit shubert.nyc/about-us/covid-19/