Review Roundup: MRS. DOUBTFIRE's Pre-Broadway Engagement in Seattle - What Do the Critics Think?
Mrs. Doubtfire recently celebrated its opening night of its pre-Broadway engagement at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre.
The musical features a book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell and music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, the Tony Award nominated team behind Something Rotten! Four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks (Hello, Dolly!) will direct and Lorin Latarro (Waitress) will choreograph. Ethan Popp (Tina) will serve as Music Supervisor, Arranger and Orchestrator.
The principal cast of Mrs. Doubtfire features Rob McClure in the title role, Jenn Gambatese as Miranda Hillard, Peter Bartlett as Mr. Jolly, Charity Angél Dawson as Wanda Sellner, Mark Evans as Stuart Dunmeyer, J. Harrison Ghee as Andre, Analise Scarpaci as Lydia Hillard, Jake Ryan Flynn as Christopher Hillard, Avery Sell as Natalie Hillard and Brad Oscar as Frank Hillard. Further casting will be announced at a later date.
Let's see what the critics are saying...
Dusty Somers, Seattle Times: Directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, "Mrs. Doubtfire" arrives at the 5th Ave polished to a blinding gleam. David Korins' scenic design, featuring sitcom-slick apartments and charming cutouts of the San Francisco skyline and Victorian row houses, is a glossy dopamine trigger. Same goes for the tap-perfect choreography by Lorin Latarro. [...] These are adequate distractions from a score by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick that doesn't have much of an identity. [...] McClure follows the model Williams set out in his portrayal, but it's a rare talent who can mug and preen and do silly voices and not grow unbearable. Like Williams, McClure can do all that, with a seemingly effortless physicality to boot.
Misha Berson, Variety: Can any performer go toe-to-toe with the memory of Robin Williams's 1993 movie turn as a desperate divorced father whose female alter ego is a wise and twinkly nanny? The answer to that second question is largely yes, thanks to star Rob McClure. There's no doubt about McClure. As a recovering screw-up and alternately a sage housekeeper, he deftly honors Williams's dexterous two-fer performance without slavishly imitating it. Whether Daniel is mending fences with his kids, cavorting with puppets, or, as Mrs. Doubtfire, doling out bawdy wisecracks and spoonfuls of advice in a brogue-ish accent and dowdy duds, McClure brings winning sincerity and his own nimble, multi-voiced comic chops to the effort.
Jay Irwin, BroadwayWorld: So, even with the drawbacks of some of the lesser characters and songs, which there's still time to fix before Broadway, the show is a rollicking, laugh out loud good time, largely due to the genius that is Rob McClure. And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give "Mrs. Doubtfire" at the 5th Avenue Theatre a "sure it has problems, but I still had an amazing time" YAY. With a few rewrites, I'm sure Broadway will give a big, glowing "Helloooo" to "Mrs. Doubtfire".
Dough Bursch, The Moderate Voice: The show is first and foremost funny. The songs are catchy, with almost no throwaway numbers, but one possible exception I will address later. The cast compliments each other well, with the kids just thoroughly doing everything right. The choreography is crisp, clear and energetically engaging. The set design is stimulating and evokes the right emotional weight for each scene. I honestly found the first half of the musical to be about as pleasing and perfect as any night of comedic musical theater I've ever experienced. People were beaming with excitement during the intermission.
Alex Reif, Laughing Place: I saw Mrs. Doubtfire in the middle of its extended Seattle run and the show could experience a variety of changes before its Broadway debut next Spring. It's far from perfect, with a first act that pales in comparison to the film but an ending that makes your theater experience feel worthwhile. With the rising cost of theater tickets, a show aught to be great from start to finish and with a little more work, I'd say Mrs. Doubtfire is on track to be one of 2020's best new shows on the "Great White Way." I'm optimistic about its future and hope to see it again in its final form. But one thing will always be true: Mrs. Doubtfire can still "Hip-hop, be-bop, dance till ya drop, and yo yo make a wicked cup of cocoa."