READ THE REVIEWS:

December 5, 2021

While the “Mrs. Doubtfire” movie may now be — understandably — considered transphobic, it is funny and likable and, most important, confident in what it is. Its musical counterpart feels unsure of what notes to hit, what jokes to rewrite and what updates to add to be relevant. The production wants the audience to both like and be skeptical of its straight male protagonist, and it includes gay characters but doesn’t fully embrace them. A man in drag? C’mon, it’s 2021. That’s just another night in the city.

READ THE REVIEW

December 5, 2021

Have I seen the new Broadway musical Mrs. Doubtfire? At this point, I am fairly confident that I have; ask me in three months, and I’m not sure what I’ll tell you. This pleasant and forgettable show at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre is the epitome of what Sondheim (citing his friend Mary Rodgers) called a “Why” musical: “a perfectly respectable show, based on a perfectly respectable source, that has no reason for being.”

READ THE REVIEW

December 5, 2021

Mrs. Doubtfire,” a polished and pandering new musical from Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, has been dutifully trotting the bases of its source material (the 1993 film starring Robin Williams) for two hours by the time an aggrieved daughter pleads with her dad: “Please tell me you have a plan to end all of this.” Lydia (played by young standout Analise Scarpaci) may be referring to the drawn-out and predictable comedy of disguise in which she has been woefully caught. But her weary impatience could just as easily apply to the rote and persistent assembly line of commercial Broadway musicals fabricated from VHS favorites. Bemoaning their unoriginality, stale perpetuation of nostalgia and money-grabbing impetus has become a cliché pastime all its own.

READ THE REVIEW

December 5, 2021

The amount of talent behind the high-spirited, very sporadically fun Mrs. Doubtfire is undeniable, from the creators of the low-key brilliant Something’s Rotten!, the legendary director Jerry Zaks, and MVP star Rob McClure, whose quicksilver vocal impressions and comedic shape-shifting more than rival the same attributes that made the movie’s Robin Williams a comedy icon. Yet all of that combined know-how can only serve to shine and polish a creaky machine that probably should have been junked and sold for parts well before its arrival on Broadway.

READ THE REVIEW

December 5, 2021

“Mrs. Doubtfire” certainly rises well above the low bars set by such dismal movie-to-musical-theater transfers as “Ghost,” “Footloose” and my all-time least-favorite, “Dirty Dancing,” which mercifully never made it to Broadway — that’s how bad it was! And it’s not a show that is likely to either rise or fall on the strength (or not) of reviews. Audiences looking for something familiar and family-friendly will hardly go away disgruntled. But it represents another in a long line of forgettable musicals adapted from superior films, which, in a nervous season of recovery on Broadway, doesn’t give a ready-to-cheer critic much to cheer about.

READ THE REVIEW

December 5, 2021

Mrs. Doubtfire is full of exciting, justifiably large musical numbers, and charming comedic performances. It was low-calorie, fluffy entertainment, a two-and-a-half-hour diversion that I didn’t mind experiencing on a weekday night. However, as I sat with the musical a little longer over the weekend, and rewatched the original film, my perception of what the show was doing started to sour.

READ THE REVIEW
Theatrely
BigThumbs_MEH

Kobi
Kassal

December 5, 2021

I have been waiting years for Mrs. Doubtfire to make it to Broadway; it was even my pick of the fall. The film, the team, Rob fricken’ McClure — it should all be a recipe for mega success, yet something was missing for me. All the ingredients are there, but perhaps some re-tooling is still necessary back in the kitchen. The heart is there, we just need a little more of the love.

READ THE REVIEW
Associated Press
BigThumbs_MEH

Mark
Kennedy

December 5, 2021

One sure sign that Broadway is bouncing back is the arrival of new shows based on hit movies. The latest is “Mrs. Doubtfire” — a sweetly clumsy valentine to broken families from the mid-1990s that arrives in the fraught 2020s.

What opened Sunday at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre is the musical equivalent of a softball down the middle: a safe, respectfully updated adaptation of a familiar plot with a great leading man, a few moments of lunacy and pro forma songs that disappear from memory like one of the many quick changes.

READ THE REVIEW

December 5, 2021

But McClure’s gifts — robustly on display in the musical that marks its official opening Dec. 5 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre — don’t include a radiant star element. It’s a wholly admirable, workmanlike performance: technically impressive if not charismatically embraceable. “Mrs. Doubtfire,” then, directed by Jerry Zaks — a pro with an innate sense of farcical mechanics — feels like an erratic musical-theater equivalent of a tribute band.

READ THE REVIEW

December 5, 2021

Can they give the mom, Miranda (Jenn Gambatese), more of an inner life? (No.) Can they add enough LGBTQIA+ representation to make us feel better about the guy-in-a-dress jokes? (Hmm.) Can they make the eldest daughter Lydia less of a cipher? (Yes, by giving her several songs, which Analise Scarpaci kills.) Can they solve some of the original’s issues by making Daniel’s new boss a woman? (Not exactly, since there are now three lady-boss types who present as humorless scolds.) By its very defensive nature, this sort of cover-yourself dance is always a box-step: one step forward and one step back.

READ THE REVIEW

December 5, 2021

And if you aren’t too picky about it, this lively musical featuring a score by sibling Something Rotten! composers Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick delivers just that. Largely faithful to the film — yes, Mrs. Doubtfire once again sets her falsies on fire — the show doesn’t rise far enough above its source material to seem anything more than extraneous. But it delivers enough solid laughs to compensate for it being yet another in a seemingly endless procession of uninspired screen-to-stage musical adaptations.

READ THE REVIEW
New York Theater
BigThumbs_MEH

Jonathan
Mandell

December 5, 2021

“Mrs. Doubtfire,” a musical adaptation of the 1993 Robin Williams movie about a divorced man who disguises himself as a woman so that he can spend time with his children as their nanny, has the misfortune of opening in the Broadway theater named after Stephen Sondheim a week after his death. Sondheim set a standard for musical theater that “Mrs. Doubtfire” doesn’t even attempt to meet. That’s not to say that this new musical comedy, written by the trio that made their Broadway debut with “Something Rotten,” is something rotten. Experienced Broadway pros have put together this production with the usual Rialto pizzazz – expensive looking sets that slide into place; a big, talented, smiling cast; brisk ensemble dancing.  But none of the theater makers involved seemed to have spent time answering the kind of basic question that Sondheim liked to ask: Why* does this need to be a musical?

READ THE REVIEW

December 5, 2021

All the benefits of film, and all the limitations of theater when it lazily follows in a film’s footsteps, are starkly evident in the numbing, dull, and astonishingly flat Mrs. Doubtfire, which opens Sunday night on Broadway. Most infuriating: It’s showing at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, which seems an especially egregious blasphemy.

READ THE REVIEW
New York Stage Review
BigThumbs_DOWN

David
Finkle

December 5, 2021

Mrs. Doubtfire, the 1993 Robin Williams box-office nugget with screenplay by Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie Dixon has been adapted (that’s usually the appropriate word) as a musical comedy by bookwriters Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, with music and lyrics by Karey Kirkpatrick and Wayne Kirkpatrick. The tuner (using the term loosely) has two elements going for it: 1) its realistic view of one bittersweet consequence that families may face when divorce intervenes; and 2) the always remarkable Rob McClure pulling out multitudinous stops as the title character. Otherwise: Good Grief! Here’s a musical comedy that ruthlessly kicks the form back to the 1950s, way back to the era’s second- and third-rate 1950s musical comedies. And get this: The time-travel trip (in two senses of the word) is happening at, of all places, the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

READ THE REVIEW
New York Stage Review
BigThumbs_UP

Jesse
Oxfeld

December 5, 2021

The stage musical take on Mrs. Doubtfire, which opens tonight at the Sondheim after a less-than-blockbuster tryout in Seattle fully two years ago and a preview period interrupted for 18-plus months by the pandemic, was written by the creators of Something Rotten!, one of the silliest, funniest Broadway musicals in recent memory. It is directed by Jerry Zaks, the four-time Tony-winning master of the old-fashioned musical comedy. (His last major outing was the Bette Midler Hello, Dolly; his next on deck is the Hugh Jackman-Sutton Foster Music Man.) It’s got all that good will. And it’s got McClure, who ably pulls off the requisite clowning and the requisite quick shifts to sincerity, and sings and dances his way through innumerable, equally requisite, quick changes of costume. He makes the whole thing work.

READ THE REVIEW

December 5, 2021

In the 1993 movie “Mrs. Doubtfire,” you feel sorry for Robin Williams because he loves his kids so much that he dresses up like an old Scottish nanny to be with them. In the new Broadway musical based on that modern classic, you feel sorry for Rob McClure because he not only has to wear a rubbery face-and-neck mask but a heavy wool sweater and skirt over a big fat body suit made out of polyurethane or God-only-knows-what.

READ THE REVIEW

December 5, 2021

For the most part, the stage adaptation is competent but labored, with a weak, unmemorable score and a book that leans heavily on the gags and construction of the original film while adding some updated pop culture references (including Daniel doing the “voices” of Borat and Gollum).

READ THE REVIEW
New York Daily News
BigThumbs_UP

Chris
Jones

December 5, 2021

A good time for all ages, despite our beloved, battered Broadway, is exactly what the audience-friendly, warm-centered, modestly scaled “Mrs. Doubtfire” delivers. In other seasons, this show might have looked like more of the same. Fair enough. It’s retro. It’s oldschool musical comedy. It’s no font of formative innovation. But this year, the breadth of its target demographic stands out. Certainly, it’s the best current choice for families visiting the city and looking for a fresh show to see together.

READ THE REVIEW
Theatermania
BigThumbs_MEH

Zachary
Stewart

December 5, 2021

“One of the first things you have to decide on with a musical is: Why should there be songs? You can put songs in any story, but what you have to look for is, why are songs necessary to this story? If it’s unnecessary, then the show generally turns out to be not very good.” So said the late Stephen Sondheim in a 2008 interview with the New York Times, and theatermakers are well-advised to ask themselves these questions. So it is with some irony that the creators of Mrs. Doubtfire, now playing at Broadway’s Stephen Sondheim Theatre, offer only half-satisfactory answers. This is despite a top-shelf production, excellent performances, and a story that still gets big laughs for its farcical flights of imagination.

READ THE REVIEW
New York Post
BigThumbs_DOWN

Johnny
Oleksinski

December 5, 2021

Call “Nanny 911.” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” the new musical that opened Sunday night on Broadway, needs urgent assistance. Why has a movie that was never anything more than a ridiculous star vehicle for the late Robin Williams’ comedic talents been dragged onstage almost 30 years later without him?

READ THE REVIEW