Listen: ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ the Musical, Live From BroadwayCon

In the Broadway-bound musical version of “Mrs. Doubtfire,” actor Rob McClure has the unenviable job of following in the footsteps of comedy great Robin Williams, who memorably played the title role in the 1993 film on which the stage show is based.

Listen to this week’s podcast below:

How does McClure hope to fill those shoes? “I can’t. I never will,” the actor admitted on the latest episode of Stagecraft, recorded live at New York’s annual convention for theater avids, BroadwayCon 2020.

“I am as big a fan of Robin Williams as anyone,” he continued. “Something that was really important to me — so I had to assume it was important to the fans — is to honor that performance. … I knew that I had to fulfill an expectation that I knew you would have, because I have the same one. And then once I feel like you trust me with it, then I feel like I can take that character in some new places.” He added, “I want to fulfill the expectation in a way that gives you permission to come on a new ride with me.”

McClure appeared on the BroadwayCon panel with his co-stars Jenn Gambatese and Charity Angel Dawson, along with director Jerry Zaks and choreographer Lorin Latarro, all of whom were fresh from the show’s strong-selling run in Seattle and soon to head into rehearsal for the start of Broadway performances on March 9.

The heart of the story — about a family navigating a difficult divorce — remains the same, said the panelists, although there have been some updates to reflect the world as it stands in 2020. For one thing, two major female characters, ex-wife Miranda (Gambatese) and the social worker Mrs. Sellner (Dawson), have had their roles beefed up.

“I’m given a lot more, I think, to work with than Sally Field was given in the film, and I’m very, very grateful for that,” said Gambatese. “[The writers] do a great job of fleshing out Miranda.”

The show’s creators also were careful to consider the story, about a man who dresses up as a British nanny, in the context of a 2020 understanding of gender identity. “We’re not dealing with a transgender character, but that doesn’t mean that if the story is told in an irresponsible way that there can’t be collateral damage to people who could be hurt by it,” McClure said. The creators of the show, he said, reached out to transgender artists and activists, asking for guidance to “tell this story in a responsible way that keeps it about what we want it to be about, which is family, [so] that there’s no jokes at the expense of anyone.”

Also during the panel, the show’s creators and cast talked quick changes, making audiences cry and what’s new for New York — including a new song and a better ending.

New episodes of Stagecraft are available every Tuesday. Download and subscribe to Stagecraft on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcher, and anywhere that finer podcasts are dispensed. Find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.

More Legit

  • Revenge Song

    Vampire Cowboys' 'Revenge Song': L.A. Theater Review

    There’s highbrow, there’s lowbrow, and then there’s however you might classify Vampire Cowboys, the anarchic New York City theater company whose diverse productions . It’s radical, “good taste”-flouting counter-programming for the vast swaths of the population left unserved by high-dollar, stiff-collar theater options. Vampire Cowboys’ raucous new show, “Revenge Song,” is unlike anything else that’s [...]

  • THE VISIT review

    'The Visit': Theater Review

    Director Jeremy Herrin’s extraordinary take on Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s 1956 play “The Visit” is less of a production and more of a show. A wordy one, to be sure, which is no surprise since it’s an adaptation by Tony Kushner that, including two intermissions, comes in at three-and-a-half hours. It’s never going to be described as [...]

  • Freestyle Love Supreme review

    'We Are Freestyle Love Supreme': Film Review

    For any Lin-Manuel Miranda fans whose hearts sank almost as quickly as they rose upon hearing that, yes, there’s a “Hamilton” movie, and no, it won’t be out for another 20 months, succor may be on the way in the form of a probably faster-arriving movie that features Miranda in almost as big a role, [...]

  • Unmasked review

    Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Unmasked': Theater Review

    It takes guts to admit you were wrong — especially when you have been so right, so often. Take composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose successes with  “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Evita,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Sunset Boulevard,” and “School of Rock” have made him a musical-theater uber-Lord. Early on during [...]

  • Aaron Loeb

    James Ward Byrkit to Direct Aaron Loeb's Off-Broadway Adaptation 'Ideation' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Aaron Loeb’s darkly comic one-act play “Ideation” will be turned into a movie, Variety has learned. The Off-Broadway production centers on a group of corporate consultants who work together on a mysterious and ethically ambiguous project for the government. It premiered in 2016, and went on to become a New York Times Critic’s Pick during [...]

  • Leopoldstadt review

    Tom Stoppard's 'Leopoldstat': Theater Review

    “Leopoldstadt,” the most slow-burn and personal work of 82-year-old Tom Stoppard’s long stage and screen career, is an intimate epic. It springs to astonishing dramatic life in a now bare, but once glorious apartment off Vienna’s Ringstrasse in 1955. The only problem is, for all the visceral emotional intensity of that scene, it forms less [...]

  • Duncan Sheik

    Listen: Duncan Sheik Created a Monster

    The singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik burst onto the musical theater scene with his raucous rock score for “Spring Awakening,” which swept the Tonys back in 2007, and since then, he’s worked steadily on stage — but a lot of his newer projects, including the current “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,” have a much quieter [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content