The producers of “Mrs. Doubtfire” will suspend performances of the musical until March 14 as the show struggles to find a way to survive during a resurgence of COVID-19 that has imperiled Broadway’s tentative recovery. The show’s producers didn’t mince words when they described the financial stakes that lie at the heart of their dramatic decision to take a nine-week hiatus.
“The first few months of a brand new Broadway show are an extraordinarily delicate and important period of time. With the pervasiveness of the omicron variant of COVID-19, ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ would have to close permanently if the production didn’t take drastic, pro-active measures,” Kevin McCollum, a producer on the show, said in a statement.
The stage show is based on the 1993 comedy blockbuster of the same name and is directed by Jerry Zaks. The hiatus will begin on Jan. 10. “Mrs. Doubtfire” features a book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell and music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick.
New York City is grappling with record cases of COVID-19, a resurgence driven by the highly contagious omicron variant. With the public health crisis worsening, Broadway has begun to sink under the weight of cancelled shows and skittish tourists. Last month, five Broadway shows — a group that includes “Waitress,” “Jagged Little Pill,” “Thoughts of a Colored Man,” “Diana” and “Ain’t Too Proud” — announced they would close permanently. Several other shows such as “The Music Man” and “Hamilton” have had to cancel performances due to breakthrough cases of COVID in their companies. “Mrs. Doubtfire” was also forced to cancel shows due to positive tests.
Critics were mixed on the production. Variety‘s Naveen Kumar wrote that “…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.”