by Elizabeth Ann Foster
This was an enhanced version of Mrs. Doubtfire on Broadway. If you loved the rip-roaring, gut-busting Shakespearean spoof hit play Something Rotten by the brothers Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick team, then Mrs. Doubtfire is for you.
The brother Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell created the book and are back at it again to make music and lyrics of pure unadulterated fun. Mrs. Doubtfire on Broadway is an update of the 1993 film starring Robin Williams, but funnier and more entertaining. We have come a long way in three decades, and instead of Miranda Hillard as the interior decorator mother played by Jenn Gambatese, she owns her own company developing workout clothing spanning from the gym to dinner. Daniel Hillard’s (Rob McClure) brother Frank Hillard’s (Brad Oscar) role is expanded to his being married and having a child.
Make Me A Woman is a show stopper as the ensemble all show up, from Princess Diana to Cher, for a reimagined look toward the end product Mrs. Doubtfire. We then get an Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret Thatcher with a little Oscar Wilde thrown into the compilation.
The show ends with everyone in the theater on their feet singing “As Long As There Is Love.”
End of the Run
Why did it close? They claimed the closure is due to the pandemic impeding the development of a fan base. But this has not been the case with Six or The Music Man, so something more must be in play. This sleeper would likely have exploded in popularity if left to work its way into audiences just as its fellow play Wicked did just down the block. It has many catchy tunes with great lyrics, so differentiating it from the movie to attract a wider audience may have helped.
Admittedly I would not have chosen the play, but my friend bought tickets and insisted I go. Since then, I would see it again if possible and only wish I had seen it pre-pandemic to review it earlier.
Mrs. Doubtfire Music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick Book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell Based on the Twentieth Century Studio Motion Picture
With Rob McClure (Daniel Hillard), Jenn Gambatese (Miranda Hillard), Analise Scapaci (Lydia Hillard), Aaron Kaburick (Photographer/Chef Louis/Maitré D/ensemble), Austin Elle Fisher/Ava Gail Prince (Natalie Hillard), Titus Landegger/Tyler Wladis (Christopher Hillard), Erica Mansfield (therapist/ensemble), Kaleigh Cronin (sexy soccer woman/Helga/ensemble), David Hibbard (Judge/delivery guy/rectisol doctor/ensemble), Charity Angél Dawson/Renée Reid (Wanda Sellner), Brad Oscar (Frank Hillard), Andre Mavem (J. Harrison Ghee), Maria Delano (young actress/emsemble), Mr. Jelly (Peter Bartlett), Jodi Kimura (Janet Lundy/ensemble), Cameron Adams/Alexandra Matteo (Chef Amy/ensemble), Mark Evans (Stuart Dunnire), Calvin L. Cooper (Loopy Lenny/Flamenco dancer), Aléna Watters (Flamenco singer/ensemble), Casey Garvin (Flamenco dancer/ensemble), KJ Hippensteel (ensemble), Larquet Shannel Pringle (ensemble), and Jaquez Andre Sims (ensemble).
Orchestra conductor Matthew Smedal, associate conductor Ilana Atkins, guitars Brian Koonin, Larry Saltzman, Cameron Rasmussen; bass Pete Donovan; drums Rodney Howard; percussion Gary Seligson; trumpet/flugelhorn Shawn Edmonds; trombone Jason Jackson; alto sax/tenor sax/flute/clarinet John De Simini; keyboards Ilana Atkins Matthew Smedal; violin/concert Master Paul Woodiel; violin Kiku Enomoto; viola Jocelyn Pan; cello Melissa Westgate.
Scenic design David Korins; costume design Catherine Zuber; lighting design Philip S. Rosenberg; sound design Brian Roman; hair design David Brian Brown; makeup and prosthetics design Tommy Kurtzman; dance arrangement Zane Mark; music coordination John Miller.
The show closed on May 29, 2022. One 15-minute intermission.
Stephen Sondheim Theatre 124 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036 Phone: (212) 719-1300 Mrs. Doubtfire will open in Manchester, England at the Manchester Opera House, from Friday, September 2, to Saturday, October 1, 2022. Here’s a link for info. For more of our Broadway reviews, click here.on