Mrs. Doubtfire Comes To Life With Brilliant Performance At The Orpheum Theatre


Photo by Joan Marcus

I was wracking my brain for other movies without any strong music connections that have been made into musicals. It took a second but my boyfriend and I finally got on a roll– “Mean Girls”, “Carrie”, “Beetlejuice”– I mean, we really got on a roll– but this didn’t answer my question of why. Why did we need a musical form of the beloved 1993 film “Mrs. Doubtfire”? Who asked for this? Honestly, I have only seen the movie a handful of times and really only remember the iconic moments of the genius that is Robin Williams so maybe that’s where my pessimism spurs from, regardless, as we entered the beautiful Orpheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis, I couldn’t help but continue to ask, “Why?”

Per usual, I find writing about a musical to be difficult. I don’t want to give away all of the bits of goodness or the surprises, twists, and turns of the performance but, at the same time, I don’t just want to bore you with the backstory on “Mrs. Doubtfire”. I mean, let’s be honest, we know all of the iconic lines and dances that were brought to our households in the mid-90s by the genius that is Robin Williams and we remember the touching moments throughout the movie about a dad’s unwavering love for his kids and learning that it’s okay to have separated parents. Okay, maybe those were just my takeaways but, as a kid going through a divorce at a fairly early age, I remember kind of using this movie to cope and as a reminder that I wasn’t alone. Maybe your love for “Mrs. Doubtfire” doesn’t go as deep as mine is. Maybe you like it for the movie it is and nothing else or maybe you’ve never even seen the film, regardless, I urge you to check out the musical.

Let’s go ahead and call out the elephant in the room– there really isn’t any notable music from the movie that I can remember. It’s not a movie that I associate a song with or anything like that so how did the music fit into the theatrical adaptation? The short answer is “perfectly”. Again, I’m going to try and be vague as I don’t want to give anything away but I loved how Wayne Kirkpatrick & Karey Kirkpatrick (the people behind the music & lyrics) fit the music into this show in a way that made sense and only enhanced truly iconic moments. From heartfelt songs from the three kids to true bops done by the entire cast with Mrs. Doubtfire in the spotlight, I loved the range of styles you got. Lydia (played by Giselle Gutierrez), the eldest of the three kids, had an almost grunge inspiration to her songs whereas the mom (played by Maggie Lakis) seemed to have a more straight-up top-40 pop vibe to her moments in the spotlight. The way the cast was able to perform all of the songs throughout the musical as a cohesive company while making sure each character had a different sauce to said songs was absolutely brilliant.

Out of all of the songs that were put into this musical adaptation, it was “Easy Peasy” which was definitely my favorite but that wasn’t because of the song itself, it was more the theatrics that came with it. This is a song that was performed as Mrs. Doubtfire is making dinner for the kids only with a modern twist. Like many of us, Mrs. Doubtfire turns to her trusty iPad to find an “Easy Peasy” recipe to make for dinner but nothing about making this dinner turns out to be “Easy Peasy”. Again, I don’t want to give it all away because this was a truly stand-out moment of the performance but, long story short, the video that Mrs. Doubtfire has found comes to life in this segment of the musical– ads and all. It was a brilliant moment full of creativity, raw honesty, and fun that had me ready to shoot out of my seat and applaud when it was all said and done.

It was moments like that and the iconic dancing that Robin Williams made famous through the film that was then mirrored perfectly by Rob McClure (who was playing Mrs. Doubtfire) that had the entire audience cheering and clapping but there were also moments where I was literally trying everything in my power to choke back tears. The rises and falls in this musical were intense and I feel like that’s something that you really don’t get from the movie. This was a surprise for me. I truly didn’t expect to experience such a rollercoaster ride of emotions throughout this two-and-a-half-hour performance but, there I was, switching from laughing and smiling to having tears roll down my cheek all in the blink of an eye or the flick of the lights.

Am I rambling? I feel like I’m rambling a little bit but I’m honestly just so excited as I sit here writing this because I feel like I am reliving the performance I saw on Tuesday night. That being said, I promise to not keep you all morning so let’s wrap this up but, before I let you go, I need to spend a little bit of time praising the leading man (or woman depending on what scene it was) of this show- Rob McClure.

I feel like we are all still trying to recover from the death of Robin Williams back in 2014. There was just something about him that made you feel closer to the superstar than you actually were. His acting was real and his personality shined regardless of his role. Long story short, Mrs. Doubtfire’s slightly heeled shoes were giant ones to fill after Robin Williams had done such a brilliant job portraying the character in the movie. Rob McClure had to fill those shows which has to be as terrifying and intimidating as it is fun and he nailed it. I loved how Rob was himself, not Robin Williams, in the performance yet paid homage to the comedian in perfect ways. From absolutely nailing “the vacuum dance” to slamming his face in the banana cream pie as if to not give up his disguise, I really must applaud Rob on his portrayal. I don’t envy anyone who has to fill Robin Williams’ shoes but Rob did a truly amazing job.

Don’t get me wrong, the entire cast of this performance nailed it completely. Even the ensemble performers all brought a special spice to the stage in their own way. Giselle Gutierrez’s voice (as Lydia) absolutely soared and I can tell that there will be a bright future for this talented professional. Aaron Kaburick and Nik Alexander (who played the brother and brother’s husband of Daniel Hillard– AKA Mrs. Doubtfire) had such a sense of fun behind their characters and constantly had belly laughs coming out of the audience. I could seriously go on and on pointing out a moment for every single beautiful soul that graced the stage on Tuesday night but you don’t want to read all of that and, honestly, I don’t have time to write it all. All I’m trying to say is that everyone who had a hand in “Mrs. Doubtfire – The New Music Comedy” absolutely nailed it.

I walked into the performance on Tuesday night asking why. Why did we need a musical version of Mrs. Doubtfire? I walked out wondering why this hasn’t been a thing for longer and what other movies could they do this for. The cast and crew brought Mrs. Doubtfire to life in a truly beautiful way. If you have a chance, go check this performance out. Get ready for tears, laughs, and everything in between.