Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Raleigh/Durham

Mrs. Doubtfire
National Tour
Review by Garrett Southerland

Rob McClure
Photo by Joan Marcus
Well "Hello!" Anyone who was alive in 1993 is probably familiar with the Robin Williams film Mrs. Doubtfire based on the book by Anne Fine. The blockbuster movie was adapted for the stage in 2019, and the touring production of the musical is at the Durham Performing Arts Center through March 24. Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell have lovingly brought the memorable moments of the film to life in their book adaptation, with Karey Kirkpatrick supplying music and lyrics with brother Wayne.

The plot surrounds the Hillard family. Daniel Hillard (Tony-nominated Rob McClure who originated the role on Broadway) is a father with a little too much energy. He has difficulty meeting the demands of others, especially his long-suffering wife Miranda (Maggie Lakis). They have three children: Lydia (a wonderful Giselle Gutierrez), Christopher (a touching yet funny Cody Braverman at the performance I viewed), and Natalie (Emerson Mae Chan on this night). After reaching her breaking point, Miranda asks Daniel for a divorce, causing the dedicated (yet out of work father) extreme heartbreak. Upon learning that his wife is looking for a part-time nanny to assist with the upkeep of the house and children, Daniel looks to fill the position himself. With the help of his hairdresser brother Frank (the funny Aaron Kaburick) and Frank's makeup artist husband Andre (an even more hilarious Nik Alexander), Daniel takes on the persona of Mrs. Doubtfire to weasel back into the daily lives of his family. What ensues is hilarious mayhem revolving around one convincing disguise and a whole lot of heart.

Directed by Broadway veteran Jerry Zaks, the stage musical stays mostly true to the film version. Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell have enhanced various scenes, such as the famous "pie in the face" disguise Daniel dons when most of his disguise goes out the window of his apartment during a surprise visit from Social Service liaison Ms. Sellner (Romelda Teron Benjamin). And when Daniel gets the attention of TV executive Janey Lundy (Jodi Kimura), the authors created a hilarious scene of Daniel buffoonery, anchored by the song "It's About Time," which embraces the amazing ad-libbing style of Robin Williams who originated the role of Daniel in the movie.

The songs by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick serve the story well though they are not as memorable as some of their earlier work, like the song songs in the musical Something Rotten!. Some of the more entertaining moments are in "Make Me a Woman" when Daniel goes to his brother for assistance and "Easy Peasy" that has Daniel turning to the internet for video tutorials on how to cook.

As far as the creative team, all are adequate. Catherine Zuber's costume design is attention grabbing primarily because of the prosthetic face mask and body suit used for Mrs. Doubtfire. Scenic design by David Korins is minimal, leaning into smaller flats of scenes that easily come and go behind a drawn curtain. Philip S. Rosenberg's lighting design assists in capturing snapshots of emotion and changes of realism, embracing color hues for dream sequences and asides of characters to differentiate between standard white lights for real time.

As the titular Mrs. Doubtfire/Daniel Hillard, Rob McClure has proven himself a master of his craft. A genius of comedic timing, and with dance moves to boot, Mr. McClure does what few in the New York scene rarely do these days which is to bring a role they originated on the Broadway stage to a national audience. Mr. McClure's performance is the show, and we are privileged to be able to witness it.

Mrs. Doubtfire is presented through March 24, 2024, by Truist Broadway at Durham Performing Arts Center, 123 Vivian St. Durham NC. For tickets and information, please visit,, or the Ticket Center at DPAC in person, or call 919-680-2787. For information on the tour, visit

Music and Lyrics: Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick
Book: Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell
Direction: Jerry Zaks
Musical Supervision, Arrangements and Orchestrations: Ethan Popp
Choreography: Lorin Latarro
Scenic Design: David Korins
Costume Design: Catherine Zuber
Lighting Design: Philip S. Rosenberg
Sound Design: Brian Ronan and Craig Cassidy

Daniel Hillard: Rob McClure
Miranda Hillard: Maggie Lakis
Lydia Hillard: Giselle Gutierrez
Frank Hillard: Aaron Kaburick
Andre Mayem: Nik Alexander
Stuart Dunmire: Leo Roberts
Wanda Sellner: Romelda Teron Benjamin
Christopher Hillard: Cody Braverman, Axel Bernard Rimmele
Natalie Hillard: Emerson Mae Chan, Kennedy Pitney
Mr. Jolly: David Hibbard
Janet Lundy: Jodi Kimura
Ensemble: Alex Branton, Jonathan Hoover, Sheila Jones, Julie Kavanagh, Jodi Kimura, Ian Liberto, Marquez Linder, Naderah Munajj, JP Qualters, Alex Ringler, Bianca Rivera-Irions, Lannie Rubio, Neil Starkenberg, Joey Stone, Gina Ward, Lauryn Withnell, Julia Yameen