Helloooooo, DC! (did you read that in her voice?) There have been reports of run-by fruitings at the National Theatre as the national tour of Mrs. Doubtfire: The New Musical Comedy takes center stage through October 15!
Based on the beloved 1993 classic comedy film, Mrs. Doubtfire tells the story of Daniel Hillard, a recently divorced father, who disguises himself as a kindly Scottish nanny in order to spend time with his children. Challenged with navigating multiple identities, jobs, and dinner reservations, Mrs. Doubtfire teaches Daniel how to be a better father and shows the Hillard family what it is to trust and love again. A delightful mix of humor and heartwarming moments, this musical adaptation directed by Jerry Zaks — with music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell — continues to be a favorite for audiences of all ages.
Leading the national tour as he did the original Broadway cast was Rob McClure as Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire. A tour de force performance that has already garnered him Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle nominations remains just as joyful, heartfelt, and captivatingly frenetic as ever. I know I was not the only one watching McClure’s performance knowing that Robin Williams would be proud. Whether piling on the silly in “It’s About Time,” as a jealous Mrs. Doubtfire in “Big Fat No,” or pulling on heartstrings in “I Want to Be There” and the tender duet “Just Pretend” with eldest daughter Lydia (played by the wonderful silky-voiced Giselle Gutierrez), McClure’s comedic timing, vocal impressions, and physical acrobatics were all spectacular from start to finish.
Opposite him in the courtroom was Daniel’s ex-wife, Miranda Hillard, played by McClure’s real-life wife, Maggie Lakis. Struggling to fight for what’s best for her kids (Lydia, played by Gutierrez; Chris, played by Axel Bernard Rimmele; and Natalie, played by Kennedy Pitney) and herself, Lakis brings Miranda’s bravery, courage, and loneliness to the surface; in “Let Go,” you feel Lakis crumble and rebuild. But you also see her confidence grow through her friendship with Mrs. Doubtfire and cheer with pride as she finds herself again in “The Shape of Things to Come.”
Accomplices to Daniel’s Mrs. Doubtfire persona are brother Frank Hillard played by Aaron Kaburick and his partner, Andre Mayem, played by Nik Alexander. Louder and more endearing with every passing scene, their partnership was definitely one to watch from the first note of “Make Me a Woman” to the bows. Stuart, played by Leo Roberts, showed off his impressive vocal — and physical — tone in “Big Fat No” as he unknowingly sparred with Mrs. Doubtfire for Miranda. Jodi Kimura as Janet Lundy was the perfect deadpan, stiff executive with a deeply buried sense of humor, and Lannie Rubio as the Flamenco Singer in “He Lied to Me” was so intensely over the top in her flamenco singing and dancing that I was immediately caught in her steely gaze. The rest of the cast (Romelda Teron Benjamin, David Hibbard, Alex Branton, Jonathan Hoover, Sheila Jones, Julie Kavanagh, Marquez Linder, Alex Ringler, Lannie Rubio, Neil Starkenberg, Lauryn Withnell, and Julia Yameen) layered on wonderful vignettes of personality and fun at every corner of the stage, reaching out to the last row of the balcony.
The creative team supporting the national tour — choreography by Lorin Latarro; scenic design by David Korins; costume design by Catherine Zuber; lighting design by Philip S. Rosenberg; sound design by Brian Ronan and Craig Cassidy; and, very importantly, hair design by David Brian Brown — also brought the merriment. Under the direction of Jerry Zaks, they wove together a fast-changing world that moved seamlessly around the story of family and heartening absurdity unfolding.
In DC for a limited time only, Mrs. Doubtfire at National Theatre is a hilariously fun time showcasing the power of fighting for your family in whatever form it takes, with whatever it takes. After all, life is always made better when shared together.
Running Time: Two hours and 30 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission.
Mrs. Doubtfire: The New Musical Comedy plays through October 15, 2023, at the National Theatre located at 1321 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC. Tickets (starting at $59) are available online or by calling the box office at (202) 628-6161, Monday through Friday 12 pm to 6 pm.
Cast and creative credits for the North American tour of Mrs. Doubtfire: The New Musical Comedy can be found here.
COVID Safety: Masks are strongly recommended but not required for all ticket holders. For full COVID protocol, go here.
Rob McClure – Daniel Hillard
Maggie Lakis – Miranda Hillard
Giselle Gutierrez – Lydia Hillard
Aaron Kaburick – Frank Hillard
Nik Alexander – Andre Mayem
Leo Roberts – Stuart Dunmire
Romelda Teron Benjamin – Wanda Sellner
Cody Braverman – Christopher Hillard
Axel Bernard Rimmele – Christopher Hillard
Emerson Mae Chan – Natalie Hillard
Kennedy Pitney – Natalie Hillard
David Hibbard – Mr. Jolly/Ensemble
Alex Branton – Ensemble
Jonathan Hoover – Ensemble
Sheila Jones – Ensemble
Julie Kavanagh – Ensemble, Dance Captain
Jodi Kimura – Janet Lundy/Ensemble
Marquez Linder – Ensemble
Alex Ringler – Ensemble
Bianca Rivera-Irions – Swing
Lannie Rubio – Ensemble
Neil Starkenberg – Ensemble, Assistant Dance Captain
Joey Stone – Swing
Gina Ward – Swing
Lauryn Withnell – Ensemble
Julia Yameen – Ensemble
Music & Lyrics – Wayne Kirkpatrick And Karey Kirkpatrick
Book – Karey Kirkpatrick And John O’Farrell
Director – Jerry Zaks
Music Supervision, Arrangements, And Orchestrations – Ethan Popp
Choreography – Lorin Latarro
Scenic Designer – David Korins
Costume Designer – Catherine Zuber
Lighting Designer – Philip S. Rosenberg
Sound Design – Brian Ronan And Craig Cassidy
Hair Design – David Brian Brown