Mrs. Doubtfire - Seattle Pre-Broadway Thoughts

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FANtomFollies
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As a general note - Scenic Artists paint the sets, Scenic Designers design them.

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RippedMan
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But when it comes to design, I do wonder how much of that is by the director/budget. I thought Pretty Woman might be the worst set I've seen on a Broadway stage. I saw it a few months before closing and it looked like it had been touring for years. It was just busted and clumsy and cheap. 

War Paint, on the other hand, wasn't anything amazing, but it served the story, but also, maybe that's what they wanted? Maybe that's what the Goodman could handle? I don't know. 

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FANtomFollies
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RippedMan said: "But when it comes to design, I do wonder how much of that is by the director/budget. I thought Pretty Woman might be the worst set I've seen on a Broadway stage. I saw it a few months before closing and it looked like it had been touring for years. It was just busted and clumsy and cheap.

War Paint, on the other hand, wasn't anything amazing, but it served the story, but also, maybe that's what they wanted? Maybe that's what the Goodman could handle? I don't know.
"

You’re absolutely right- but it works the other way too- some of the most incredible designs are from the director’s vision/concept.

Pashacar
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Auggie27 said: "Actually, the "Bandstand" set Korins designed was conceptually brilliant, since the kitchen sink realism replica of a mid-40s Cleveland club could turn instantly into battlefield that triggered PTSD, with only lighting changes. And the second act -- whether we agree or not -- slowly replaced the realism to becomea stylilzed Hollywood musical set as the characters advance and become successful. Korins served the conceit brilliantly."

This is........seriously debatable. While I did like the late-second-act turn, during the battlefield segments that set looked every bit the same as it had 10 seconds prior, but for the darker lighting.

I also was not a fan of his much-praised Beetlejuice set. This seems somewhat similar to boring-house portion of that, from the photos.

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jpbran
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Kind of expected this to have more reactions from people who actually saw the Seattle performances... 

leefowler
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I too would love to hear from people who have seen this in Seattle.

Behind the fake tinsel of Broadway is real tinsel.
Hannahbelle
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I saw this last night!

The good-

This show is fun and funny.  I had a blast and so did my guest.

Rob McClure was incredible.  He was onstage for almost the entire show and managed to switch from two different characters in seconds on stage.

The girl playing the teenage daughter seemed soulful and sang beautifully.

The book!  I was entertained the entire time and I really felt for every member of the family.

The costumes!

My favorite scene was Mrs. Doubtfire’s big model runway moment. 

 

The could be improved:

While the actors playing Daniel’s brother and husband did a fantastic job with the character’s they were given, they seemed really stereotypical.  I would like less lines about Beyonce and more about who they actually are or how excited they are for their new child.  In addition, I would love more racial diversity in the cast.

All of the music was unmemorable. All three of the power ballads in act two slowed down the show.

The monster scene was weird.

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inception
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I saw today's matinee & just drove over to Issaquah in the rain, grabbing dinner, then seeing Guys & Dolls at the Village Theater.

As for Mrs Doubtfire, the audience ate it up!
It is a very funny show, and right from the first moment Rob Mclure has the audience on his side. 5th Ave has a lot of subscribers, at intermission the group of women in the 30's beside me were all so effusive about how much they were enjoying it. One said, "I think this is better than the film." As I walked up the aisle, I overheard a middle aged woman behind me say to her husband "I can't believe this us making me cry!" The whole vibe seemed to be everyone shocked that this wasn't terrible.

But I agree with the above comment about the quality of the songs. For me they varied between unmemorable and just plain bad. The show worked more for me as a slapstick comedy play than as a musical. Where it worked as a musical for me was in 2 places like when it got weird like the "Monster " number, a nightmare that doesn't go as far as Spooky Mormon Hellfire; & in the first act with a big production about try to follow a recipe offof Youtube.
I haven't seen the film since it came out, but the show seems to follow what I remember of the film's plot pretty closely. So it is very smaltzty, and sacharine - the youngest daughter even has a lisp.
The set looked fine, the main house like something right out of a 90's sitcom - maybe Full House. Actually the whole show had a very sitcom feel to it. So not great art, but a fun comfortable time.

Doubtfire makeup is done with a rubber mask, that has a hole at the mouth. From the audience it looks fine, but you have to suspend some belief that the characters wouldn't immediately realize it was someone in a mask.







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DramaTeach
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All of these reviews are very reminiscent of Tootsie, which worries me - very funny but the music is bad, middle aged women singing its praises, etc. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...I'm waiting on this one.

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Inception - what do you mean “rubber mask”? Like, the whole disguise is like a rubber Halloween mask with a hole cut out for the mouth? That can’t possibly be it....! That would require more than just a little suspension of disbelief, wouldn’t it?
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ljay889
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DramaTeach said: "All of these reviews are very reminiscent of Tootsie, which worries me - very funny but the music is bad, middle aged women singing its praises, etc. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...I'm waiting on this one."

Is it really that similar though? Tootsie is FAR from saccharine, as this is being described. And even on an off day, David Yazbek is in a completely different league from the Kirkpatrick songwriting team. 

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inception
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Peronista said: "Inception - what do you mean “rubber mask”? Like, the whole disguise is like a rubber Halloween mask with a hole cut out for the mouth? That can’t possibly be it....! That would require more than just a little suspension of disbelief, wouldn’t it?"

I thought soneone earlier said the face was done with just makeup,  but it isn't- for the face they use a rubber mask and even show him putting it on and taking it off a couple times. Also a wig, false teeth and glasses.  But it isn't as complete as the mask Robbin Williams wore in the movie. There is also a full body suit with breasts etc he wears, & again there are a couple scenes where he jumping in & out of it on stage.

It's just after 12 now Pacific, & watching the re-peat of tonight's SNL with JLO ( now when there's a new SNL they play it twice, at 8:30 & again at 11:30) & an ad just ran for the show with quite a few snippets of scenes since they just extended its run until Jan 4.  Maybe the ad is online.

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inception
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This segment from the local NBC station's daily community show uses the same clips from the new tv ad ( it is after the short segments on Howl's Moving Castle & Nutcracker), but I see they actually don't show him in the Doubtfire costume.

https://www.king5.com/amp/article/entertainment/television/programs/evening/things-to-do-events-seattle/281-9477a07b-3c90-46c4-9fbb-df619dc7b693
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inception
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This segment from the local NBC station's daily community show uses the same clips from the new tv ad ( it is after the short segments on Howl's Moving Castle & Nutcracker), but I see they actually don't show him in the Doubtfire costume.

https://www.king5.com/amp/article/entertainment/television/programs/evening/things-to-do-events-seattle/281-9477a07b-3c90-46c4-9fbb-df619dc7b693
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I just wanted to add, for anyone in Seattle, or going to Seattle, Village Theater's Guys & Dolls is spectacular! Mrs Doubtfire was funny, & sort of a classic story of its own sort now, but this show full of tuneful songs you know by heart - & I just figured out I last saw a production of G&D in 1997 - definitely topped it.
This was my first time going over to Issaquah, as I have only ever been to the Everett location before. It is an older theater than the one in Everett but quite nice, & the seats were surprisingly comfortable. Also I was impressed by the little neighborhood the theater is in, with lots of great little restaurants. I had some amazing ribs at a joint across the street. Just from what I saw last night, I like this little neighborhood more than downtown Seattle. Google said it should take me 20 minutes to get from 5th Avenue to Issaqua, but it took me over 20 minutes to just get out of City Center parkade and half an hour to just get onto the I5. Traffic is bad in Vancouver, but in Seattle it is psychopathic.
Anyways, crashed at at a very clean, well kept Motel 6 with good reviews on Booking one freeway entrance away for $67. But out on the back street drug dealers, or maybe prostitutes, flash their cell phone flashlights at your car as you drive by to try to get your attention - so not all of Issaquah is classy!
There are quite a few other shows playing around Seattle right now - like a production of Head Over Heels at Arts West, a lot of X-mas things, & a musical version of Howl's Moving Castle. I woke up early, & looked at maybe getting a last minute ticket for a matinee today but I already spent too much $$$ this weekend (Friday night on the way down, Wayne Newton was playing one of the 1st Nations casinos so I stayed there overnight & caught his show too) & I go to NY in 2 weeks so decided I'd better not.
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On the drive home this afternoon I remembered another strong section in the 1st act, when the brother & his partner are trying to help him come up with his disguise and they 1st imagine him.as a variety of glamorous stars like Cher, Donna Summer, Grace Kelly or Princess Di, and then decide he has to be more like some famous yet frumpy types - I won't spoil those - and all these characters are dancing about the stage, finally leading up to the big reveal of him as Mrs Doubtfire. It was a check on the good side of the page.

But like was noted above by the other reviewer on the bad side of the page, Brad Oscar as the brother, and his younger make-up artist partner were very one note, hyper cliche sitcom homosexuals.
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mnotavery
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I saw it in Seattle the night after it opened, and my opinions didn't seem to be in line with most of the theater, which seemed to be families and nostalgic middle aged women who loved it. Every seat seemed filled, and people talked about how funny it was in the bathroom line. I wanted to like it, because who doesn't like Mrs. Doubtfire... but I just didn't.

I see this performing in NYC as a standard middling movie-turned-musical-for-no-particularly-good-reason with strong brand recognition but not much else to keep it afloat once the movie's fans have checked it out.

The production caliber was fine and polished. However, I didn't think the book was particularly funny, aside from some of the classic movie lines and sight gags that we all already know and love. The music was throwaway, and the only song I remember at all is a Spanish themed number late in the show. The set and costumes were good, and the cast is all talented -- though a lot of the talent seemed to me to be underwritten and underutilized (especially Brad Oscar and J. Harrison Ghee).

My biggest issue with the show is the movie references and setting were updated to the present day, but the story overall wasn't (his wife has a different career than in the movie, but most of the musical adheres pretty closely to the source material). I enjoyed the movie back in the day, but it has a very problematic script that didn't age well and that I hadn't noticed before (I haven't seen the movie in years and years). And while Rob McClure's performance is what you'd expect, and the script issues aren't his fault, Robin Williams was a superstar who could gloss over what's now hard to ignore about the show's message (if my character keeps repeating how I'm just disrespecting my partner's boundaries out of LOVE for 90% of the show, and I'm the character written more charismatically, then it makes everything okay). I saw Tootsie on Broadway and thought the script was really strong and funny and updated just enough to keep it from being problematic and dated in the way Mrs. D did not.

It wouldn't take that much to fix the script, though. I think it could be done by making the wife's character on more equal footing as likeable compared to her husband, by allowing him to learn his lessons as he's going along in a way that wasn't "sure I'm not making great decisions but it's out of FAMILY LOVE so wife will forgive me," and by using Oscar and Ghee's characters as more than literal costume dressers for Mrs. Doubtfire.

That all being said, it's a satisfying show for casual theatergoers and families who already like the brand. It should do decently during tourist season and be a hit with purists of the movie. The wife and oldest daughter are very good, and I hope Jenn Gambatese can find a less thankless character to play in her next show. But if I ever wanted to see it again, I'd just watch the original movie. This wasn't enough of an update and the music wasn't good enough for me to understand why I needed to see it as a present-day musical unless I was a super fan of the original.
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I don't want to sound like I'm defending this show, but I could see it being a bit of a middle if the road hit that does well in the future with regional productions, sort of how Matilda or Beauty & the Beast are performed all over. Every middling comic actor will jump at the chance to mug for 3 hours.
The story does get somewhat updated to more modern thinking: at the end the message seems to be moms are bad because they make you do homework & won't let you eat sweets so it is better to have 2 gay dads. When all the gay dads came on stage during the final number, all I could think was, "Well, the producers definitely don't ever plan on taking this show to Russia!"
Also, I think people should stop comparing this so much to Tootsie. This is aimed more as a family show - I don't know if Pantos are a big thing in the US, but it is more like a Panto with all the slapstick. Also, I have only listened to Tootsie's cast album, but its score and songs are tuneful, charming, and thoroughly delightful in comparison.

Edit: just to be clear I am saying Yazbeck's score for Tootsie is tuneful, charming, and thoroughly delightful.   Mrs Doubtfire is none of those.

Edit 2: Also you shouldn't be surprised that the theatre is full, 5th Ave has between 30- 40,000 subscribers.   For a city Seattle's size that is massive.

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Updated On: 12/9/19 at 06:51 AM
Jarethan
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ljay889 said: "DramaTeach said: "All of these reviews are very reminiscent of Tootsie, which worries me - very funny but the music is bad, middle aged women singing its praises, etc. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...I'm waiting on this one."

Is it really that similar though? Tootsie is FAR fromsaccharine, as this is being described. And even on anoffday, David Yazbek is in a completely different league from the Kirkpatrick songwriting team.
"

Doesn’t matter a bit.  What maters is that Yasbek wrote a rotten score.  I have to admit that the few comments by people who have seen Mrs. D make me fear another Tootsie.  I am not too optimistic re this one.
 

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What maters is that Yasbek wrote a rotten score.

Mrs. Doubtfire - Seattle Pre-Broadway Thoughts

I loved Yazbek's score for Tootsie.  It's nowhere near "rotten".  I was humming tunes from the show for weeks after my first viewing during the Chicago tryout and as with all of his scores, I enjoy it more with each listen.

"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is the only musical I've ever hated. I loved The Band's Visit and thought the score for Tootsie was slightly above that of Something Rotten, which sounds like it was whipped up for a sitcom episode where the characters attend a musical but the show couldn't get the rights to a real one.
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Hannahbelle
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I saw both Tootsie and Mrs. Doubtfire and like Mrs. Doubtfire quite a bit better. It has a bigger heart, it’s more fun, and it seems less dated.
Jarethan
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Mister Matt said: "What maters is that Yasbek wrote a rotten score.

Mrs. Doubtfire - Seattle Pre-Broadway Thoughts

I loved Yazbek's score for Tootsie. It's nowhere near "rotten". I was hummingtunes from the showfor weeks after my first viewing during the Chicago tryout and as with all of his scores, I enjoy it more with each listen.
"

We all have different opinions on this board.  In truth, I am not a big Yasbek fan.  Period.  The only score of his that really got to me was The Band's Visit.  Even in Yasbek shows I have liked, I always felt the music was the least successful part, e.g., The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.  But FOR ME Tootsie's score is bottom tier Yasbek.  I feared that would be the case when the overture ended; I couldn't help wondering why they had an overture if those snippets were the best they could do.

 
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LizzieCurry
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* Yazbek
"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
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Mister Matt
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We all have different opinions on this board.

Of course we do.  That was my point.

"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian



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