Critics agree that Mrs. Doubtfire, the latest show to open on the Great White Way, is an unimaginative and unoriginal adaptation of another film. The show’s star, Rob McClure, gets some praise, as do a couple of the other players, but ultimately, even the most positive of the reviewers found the production couldn’t rise above its mediocrity; more-so, the premise central to the story, which worked okay back in the 90s, feels cringeworthy at best today, leaving many to question why the adaptation was even attempted. The whole thing is a bit like a frozen dinner — hinting at possibilities of something inviting, but just a bit basic, and leaving you wishing you had the real thing…or something else entirely.
New York Times Review of Mrs. Doubtfire
With music and lyrics by the brothers Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick and a book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, “Mrs. Doubtfire” simultaneously tries to replicate an outdated story and update it for the times. But the show only ends up cowering in the original film’s shadow. … Rob McClure steps into Mrs. Doubtfire’s sensible shoes in this production. He’s vivacious on the stage, and his impressions, including a hilarious tongue-wagging Gollum, are precious…McClure’s Daniel, though, is more irritating than entertaining, and his antics…are more creepy than kooky. … O’Farrell and the Kirkpatrick brothers, whose previous Broadway outing was the 2015 musical “Something Rotten!,” generate a smattering of laughs with the original material…[y]et the scenes that draw the biggest laughs here are still the ones that are almost identical to the ones in the film. … 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.
TimeOut Review of Mrs. Doubtfire
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.” Mrs. Doubtfire hopes to draw on audiences’ residual affection for the 1993 Robin Williams film comedy, in which a divorced dad named Daniel disguises himself as a hearty old Scottish nanny so he can spend time with his kids. We’ve already had musical versions of Tootsie and Mary Poppins; now we have the hybrid we never knew we needed and, as it turns out, we don’t. … It’s all diverting enough, to a point. But can a musical run on so low a fire? I have doubts! I have such doubts.
Variety Review of Mrs. Doubtfire
“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. … But even in the belabored tradition of screen-to-stage musical adaptations, “Mrs. Doubtfire” is doggedly risk-averse, opting for handsomely outfitted, faithful simulacrum over reinvention or surprise. “Hairspray” it is not.
Deadline Review of Mrs. Doubtfire
Barely 15 minutes of Mrs. Doubtfire has passed before the wife of the manic, cloying man-child at the center of the developing farce demands a divorce, and we can only puzzle over what took her so long. Granted, the wife is no prize either, a humorless, uptight career woman caricature rarely seen these days outside Lifetime holiday TV-movies. How she and so many other dated and tired tropes from a dated and tired 1993 movie made it past so many talented Broadway creators through so many years of stage development is a mystery more interesting than anything that shouts itself into existence over two and a half hours nightly at Broadway’s Stephen Sondheim Theatre. 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. … All the directorial panache Zaks brings to this lightning paced production, all the charm displayed by McClure, all the energy contributed by a tireless ensemble can’t disguise the obvious: Mrs. Doubtfire just isn’t worth the effort.
Hollywood Reporter Review of Mrs. Doubtfire
Strange as it may be to say, getting shut down by the pandemic during previews last year might have been the best thing to happen to the new Broadway musical Mrs. Doubtfire. For one thing, the long hiatus gave some breathing room between this adaptation of the hit 1993 movie starring Robin Williams and Tootsie, the short-lived Broadway musical also revolving around a straight man who dresses in drag. For another, it provided the opportunity for the creators to do some apparently much-needed tinkering, as evidenced by early reports. Finally, the long theatrical dry spell has created a renewed appetite for a feel-good, family-friendly musical comedy. At a late preview performance, you could feel the audience’s desire to simply relax and have a good time. 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. … Ultimately, Mrs. Doubtfire rests on the shoulders of its star, and McClure more than proves up to the task. Indeed, he displays such consistent antic energy that you find yourself wondering whether he’ll possibly be able to sustain it for eight shows a week. If the show manages to have a lengthy run, which seems likely, his shoes will ultimately be as hard to fill as Williams’ were. And that’s saying something.
The New York Post Review of Mrs. Doubtfire
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? Partly as a star vehicle for Broadway favorite Rob McClure, who now plays Doubtfire a k a Daniel. … What we’re left with is yet another assembly line musical of a movie — an obnoxious one, at that — in which every song by “Something Rotten!” duo John O’Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick is generic and forgettable. The first act ends with a ditty called “Bam! We’re Rockin’ Now,” which could fit snugly into every musical that has ever had a guitar in the orchestra pit. … There are, however, two very funny gags in the musical, directed by Jerry Zaks. Frank’s voice gets loud every time he tells a lie (it happens a lot), and a local kids TV program called “The Mr. Jolly Show” has a hysterical host who’s played by Peter Bartlett like a jet-lagged Rip Taylor. Every time Mr. Jolly left the stage, I resumed being Mr. Angry.