Review: Without A Doubt, Don't Miss 'Mrs. Doubtfire'

Broadway Tony Nominated Star Appearing In The National Tour

Miranda (Maggie Lakis) and Daniel (Rob McClure) in

Photographer: Joan Marcus

Miranda (Maggie Lakis) and Daniel (Rob McClure) in "Mrs. Doubtfire The Musical." (Photo courtesy of Broadway in Fort Lauderdale)

Michelle F. Solomon, Theater Writer

While Robin Williams no doubt created the wacky, zany and loveable man-child who dressed up as a Scottish nanny to find a way to be with his kids after a divorce, Rob McClure who is now touring as Daniel Hillard, aka Mrs. Doubtfire, in "Mrs. Doubtfire: The New Musical Comedy" puts his own stamp on the iconic character. There are many reasons to see the musical now at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts before it leaves on Sunday, April 21, McClure is at the top of the list.

He's a man of a thousand voices (wait until you get a load of his Donald Trump impersonation, oh and Gollum, ET, Miss Piggy, and Kermit the Frog), a comedic and, when necessary, a serious actor, a great singer and dancer, too. The guy is like a quadruple threat. He knows this character inside and out having originated the character on Broadway when it opened in 2021 and was nominated for a Tony Award for his star turn. Now, you can see the Broadway caliber performance with McClure in the national tour. He best stick around for awhile. Who else could they find that could fill the shoes he's now created?

There are a dozen other reasons to see "Mrs. Doubtfire: The Musical?" How about almost a dozen dancing Mrs. Doubtfire's during Hillard's crazy dream.

Rob McClure was nominated for a Tony Award for his creation of the Scottish nanny in


Rob McClure was nominated for a Tony Award for his creation of the Scottish nanny in "Mrs. Doubtfire The Musical." Now he's at the Broward Center in the national tour. (Photo courtesy of Broadway in Fort Lauderdale)

With an exuberant cast and a modern take on the 1993 film (now Mrs. Doubtfire has a electronic tablet that can help her whip up a homecooked meal complete with tap dancing chefs and there's a Taylor Swift reference, of course), the adaptation keeps what made the movie so endearing yet adds more comedy and dimension. The musical numbers by Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick, who wrote the score for "Something Rotten!," bring the same smart musical comedy verve to this.

While the film's zany quick changes, which Williams made frantic – from Daniel to Doubtfire – both in an apartment after a surprise visit from a social worker (here wonderfully and sternly played by Romelda Teron Benjamin) and then in a restaurant – were brilliant, bringing them to life on the stage is one heckuva feat. With Jerry Zaks magical direction and some seriously sleight of hand maneuvering, they manage to get Doubtfire entirely unspooled in a restaurant scene so that the actor ends up standing only in the padded underwear, including a stuffed fat tummy and an overly large Grandma bra. It earned such a long applause, the actors had to wait until it died down to continue into the show's next lines.

If you've never seen the film, here's a quick plot recap: Daniel Hillard is a struggling voice actor. His wife is trying to make her own line of workout clothing successful and, when we meet the couple, she is at the end of her rope having, what she says are four children, son Christopher (in the performance reviewed played by Cody Braverman) and daughters Lydia (Giselle Gutierrez, from the Tampa Bay area, Plant City, Fla., and currently a sophomore at the University of Central Florida majoring in musical theater) and Natalie (in this performance played by Emerson Mae Chen), and then Daniel. Even daughter Lydia says she feels older than her dad and she's only 15.

Andre Mayem (Nik Alexander), Frank Hillard (Aaron Kaburick), Wanda Sellner (Romelda Teron Benjamin) and Daniel Hillard (Rob McClure) in

Photographer: Joan Marcus

Andre Mayem (Nik Alexander), Frank Hillard (Aaron Kaburick), Wanda Sellner (Romelda Teron Benjamin) and Daniel Hillard (Rob McClure) in "Mrs. Doubtfire The Musical." (Photo courtesy of Broadway in Fort Lauderdale)

After Daniel throws a birthday party for his son where an R rated singing telegram shows up just minutes before his wife, Miranda (Maggie Lakis who is married to leading man McClure) does, it's the last straw. She wants a divorce and gets one and he loses custody of his three children. She is in search of a nanny and with his knack for voices, Dad gets the idea to make a phone call to apply for the position. The alter ego's made up name? Euphegenia Doubtfire.

With the help of his Hollywood make up artist brother, Frank (Aaron Kaburick) and Frank's  husband Andre (Nik Alexander), a character that wasn't in the original, they create Mrs. Doubtfire. Miranda and the kids love her but when his alter ego starts to come apart, everyone realizes what was missing in their lives. Yes, everything is as tidy at the end as Mrs. Doubtfire's beautifully set dining room table.

Giselle Gutierrez who plays Lydia Hillard in

Photographer: Joan Marcus

Giselle Gutierrez who plays Lydia Hillard in "Mrs. Doubtfire The Musical" in the national touring production is from Plant City, Fla. (Photo courtesy of Broadway in Fort Lauderdale)

"The composers knew exactly where comedy musical numbers would be the perfect fit. When Daniel decides he's going to pose as the nanny, the Act 1 "Make Me a Woman" has a disco beat song that is just right and echoes Andre's expression of sheer insane fandom for Donna Summer. So what kind of woman will they make Daniel? Donna Summer, Cher, Princess Di? Or hilariously when he describes the Scottish nanny's look we get Eleanor Roosevelt, Janet Reno, Julia Child. You can hear shades of the Kirpatrick brothers' "Something Rotten!" as Daniel sing-speaks "She talks like this dear/she's older, wiser and bit more substantial."

Why didn't you say so?" the quick change specialists ask. Oh, now they've got it. "Eleanor Roosevelt and a dash of Julia Child, Margaret Thatcher, Janet Reno and a little bit of Oscar Wilde."

Giving a little bit more for Miranda's new paramour Stuart Dunmire (Leo Roberts) to work with adds another fine comic element. He's a chiseled English hunk who becomes the fall guy to Daniel/Doubtfire's jokes. The workout gym song "Big Fat No" is another Kirkpatrick brothers highlight.

What doesn't work in the musical are a few of the ballads that slow down the pace including Miranda's second act "Let Go" which even Lakis can't dig deep enough for the heart wrenching it is supposed to exude. 

And while it's a sweet duet between father and daughter, Act 2's "Just Pretend" comes so late into the show, almost at the end, that the blocks of comedy that have been built upon turn the whole thing into a Jenga game. Pull out one more piece and everything built in Act 1 could crumble.

It doesn't because the show has such momentum. And it has Rob McClure.


WHAT: "Mrs. Doubtfire: The Musical"

WHEN: Through Sunday, April 21. 8 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 2 p.m. Saturday, April 13 and 20, 1 and 6:30 p.m., Sunday, April 14 and April 21.

WHERE: Au-Rene Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.

COST: $45, $55, $66, $91, $106, $121, $136, $176

INFORMATION: 954-462-0222 and   

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