‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ to Close on Broadway, After Reopening

The musical, which shuttered temporarily in January as the Omicron variant spread, has struggled with the slow return of tourists to the theater.

“Mrs. Doubtfire,” the Broadway musical adapted from the popular 1993 film, announced that it will close later this month after a bumpy run that was interrupted by the pandemic closure in March 2020, and included a return amid the tumultuous current Broadway season.

The show’s producer said late Thursday night that the musical’s final performance, at the Stephen Sondheim Theater, would be May 29, just over a month after it reopened after a three-month hiatus.

The news comes days after the show’s star, Rob McClure, scored a Tony nomination for his comedic and chameleonic performance in the title role, but the musical failed to garner nominations in any other category.

The closing reflects the challenges of this Broadway season — the first since the pandemic shutdown — when tourism remains down, coronavirus cases are a constant complication, and a large number of new shows opened around the same time in April, making it difficult for a returning “Mrs. Doubtfire” to break out.

“Even though New York City is getting stronger every day and ticket sales are slowly improving, theatergoing tourists and, especially for our show, family audiences have not returned as soon as we anticipated,” Kevin McCollum, the show’s producer, said in a statement Thursday. “Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to run the show without those sales, especially when capitalizing with Broadway economics on three separate occasions.”

Other Broadway productions have also struggled in this new landscape. A much-praised revival of “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf,” which had struggled at the box office, announced last week that it would close May 22, just a month after opening and three months earlier than planned. But on Thursday, after receiving seven Tony Award nominations and a social media campaign to sponsor female-identifying people of color with a pair of gifted tickets, it announced it will now play an additional two weeks, through June 5.

Last week “Mrs. Doubtfire” grossed $477,132, and the audience was just 69 percent full. Still, the show is moving forward with a British engagement, which McCollum said is scheduled to play for a month starting Sept. 2 in Manchester, England; a U.S. tour is also scheduled to kick off in October 2023.

In development for years and capitalized for $17 million, the production had gotten through just three preview performances in March 2020 when Broadway shut down. After a 19-month hiatus, “Mrs. Doubtfire” resumed previews last October and opened on Dec. 5, bolstered by a nearly $10 million grant from the Small Business Administration. It opened to tepid reviews — and a pan in The New York Times — just as Omicron began causing cases to spike again.

Then, in a startling example of the financial damage caused by the pandemic shutdown, McCollum decided to close his production for several months, saying he saw no other way to save it. The musical comedy temporarily closed Jan. 10, and had planned to reopen on March 14, but later postponed its reopening until April 14. The closure cost 115 people their jobs for that period.

In the statement on Thursday, McCollum expressed admiration “for our extraordinary Broadway cast, crew, orchestra, creative team and entire company who brought the show to the stage.” And he said, “They have risen to every challenge thrown at them over the last two years with a remarkable amount of resilience, good humor, passion and love for one another.”

“Mrs. Doubtfire,” which had a five-week pre-Broadway run at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theater, is about a struggling, out-of-work actor who loses custody of his children in a divorce. The father (memorably portrayed in the 1993 film by Robin Williams) is so determined to spend time with his children that he pretends to be a woman to land a job as the housekeeper.

The brothers Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick wrote the music and lyrics for the show, directed by Jerry Zaks; the book is by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell.

Source: Movies -


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