Everything you need to know about 'Mrs. Doubtfire' in the West End

From how to get Mrs. Doubtfire tickets to when to see the musical at London's Shaftesbury Theatre, here is your ultimate guide to Mrs. Doubtfire.

Marianka Swain
Marianka Swain

The most beloved Scottish nanny in film is coming to the West End, as the hit stage musical based on Mrs. Doubtfire opens at the Shaftesbury Theatre. We first met the titular character – an out-of-work actor who, following a messy divorce, disguises himself as a nanny in order to spend time with his children – when Robin Williams donned that wig and latex bosom in the 1993 comedy movie, co-starring Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, and Harvey Fierstein.

Then, in 2019, came the musical theatre version, with a book by John O’Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick, and a score by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick. Following a Seattle tryout, Mrs. Doubtfire headed to Broadway in 2020, and then had its UK debut in Manchester in 2022. Now, we’re finally seeing this hilarious and heartfelt show hit the West End, ready to celebrate family – albeit in an unconventional way!

Mrs. Doubtfire is at the Shaftesbury Theatre.

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What is Mrs. Doubtfire about?

Meet Daniel, a struggling freelance actor with three children. When he quits his job and throws a crazy birthday party, it’s the last straw for wife Miranda, who files for divorce — and subsequently gets sole custody.

Daniel finds a way to sneak back into his family’s life when Miranda advertises for a housekeeper. With the help of his gay brother Frank and his partner Andre (plus a whole lot of latex), Daniel creates an alter ego: the reassuring mature Scottish woman Euphegenia Doubtfire. He soon learns to be a better parent, laying down the law with the children and improving his household skills.

The kids eventually discover Mrs. Doubtfire is really their dad, but agree to keep his secret. However, Daniel slips up while trying to pitch a new show to his station’s CEO while simultaneously attending Miranda’s birthday dinner with her new boyfriend. His true identity is revealed – to Miranda’s horror. A judge further restricts his access to the children.

But all ends well: Daniel hosts a new children’s TV show starring his Mrs. Doubtfire character, while Miranda realises how much they miss them, and agrees to join custody. Despite all their differences, they want what’s best for the family.

Where is Mrs. Doubtfire playing?

Mrs. Doubtfire is playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London’s West End. The venue is situated on the capital’s famous Shaftesbury Avenue, right in the heart of theatreland, and has a capacity of around 1,400.

How long is Mrs. Doubtfire?

The Mrs. Doubtfire musical running time in London is two hours and 30 minutes, including a 20-minute interval. Find out more about West End running times.

What days is Mrs. Doubtfire playing?

Mrs. Doubtfire plays eight performances a week at the Shaftesbury Theatre, with matinee performances on Thursday and Saturday, and evening performances Monday through Saturday. For the complete performance schedule and show times, visit the Mrs. Doubtfire page on London Theatre.

When did Mrs. Doubtfire premiere?

The Mrs. Doubtfire musical had its world premiere at 5th Avenue Theatre in in Seattle in November 2019 — and was extended, by popular demand, until January 2020. Later that year, it transferred to Broadway’s Stephen Sondheim Theatre, beginning previews in March. It was then forced to close due to Covid restrictions, but resumed performances in October 2021 and had its official Broadway opening in December.

Mrs. Doubtfire then travelled over the pond and had the first UK performance at Manchester Opera House in September 2022. Now, we’re getting the Mrs. Doubtfire London debut: the show plays in the West End from May 2023.

Who wrote Mrs. Doubtfire?

The Mrs. Doubtfire musical comes to use from the brilliant songwriting team of American brothers Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick, plus British book writer John O’Farrell — all shepherded by the experienced director Jerry Zaks.

Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick previously teamed up with O’Farrell on the mammoth hit musical comedy Something Rotten!, a hilarious romp set in Shakespearean England and featuring the Bottom brothers, who fail to match the Bard’s success. Something Rotten! ran on Broadway from 2015-17 and was nominated for 10 Tony Awards. It’s since had a US tour, plus productions in Sweden, Seoul and Birmingham.

John O’Farrell is also renowned for his satirical scriptwriting on TV shows like Spitting Image and Have I Got News For You.

Director Jerry Zaks has won Tony Awards for helming the plays The House of Blue Leaves, Lend Me a Tenor, and Six Degrees of Separation, and another for his hit production of musical Guys and Dolls.

Mrs. Doubtfire characters

The musical carries over most of the characters you know and love from the movie. They include:

Daniel Hillard: The charming but unreliable actor who constantly lets down his wife, until she asks for a divorce. But, by playing the nanny Mrs. Doubtfire, he comes to value and care for his family in a whole new way – and also discovers the key to his future career success.

Miranda Hillard: Daniel’s architect wife, who makes the difficult decision to go it alone with their three children. But she comes to rely on and love Mrs. Doubtfire, which eventually changes their family dynamic too.

Frank Hillard: Daniel’s gay brother, who helps him dream up the Mrs. Doubtfire disguise – essentially going full drag, but in a more naturalistic way rather than theatrical. In the musical, there’s also an added subplot about Frank and his partner Andre adopting a child.

Andre: Frank’s partner, who joins in the fun of transforming Daniel so he can get back to his family — while Frank and Andre try to build their own.

Lydia, Christopher and Natalie Hillard: Daniel’s three children. The older two figure out his hidden identity but agree to keep it secret, as all three grow much closer to him when he’s Mrs. Doubtfire.

Stuart Dunmeyer: Miranda’s suave new love interest. Daniel is jealous of Stuart and becomes determined to sabotage the relationship.

Mr. Jolly: The host of a local kids’ TV show.

Mrs. Doubtfire songs

While the Mrs. Doubtfire movie used pop and rock songs like Aerosmith’s “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)”, the musical has a whole new score by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick. Here’s all the songs in Mrs. Doubtfire:

Act I:

“What’s Wrong with This Picture” – Lydia, Miranda, Daniel, Ensemble
“I Want to Be There” – Daniel
“Make Me a Woman” – Daniel, Andre, Frank, Ensemble
“What the Hell” – Lydia, Natalie, Christopher
“The Mr Jolly Show” – Mr Jolly, Ensemble
“Easy Peasy” – Daniel, Ensemble
“The Mr Jolly Show” (Reprise) – Mr Jolly, Ensemble
“About Time” – Daniel
“Rockin’ Now” – Daniel, Frank, Andre, Lydia, Christopher, Natalie, Ensemble

Act II:

“Entr’acte” – Orchestra
“The Shape of Things to Come” – Miranda, Female Ensemble
“Big Fat No” – Stuart, Daniel, Male Ensemble
“Let Go” – Miranda
“Clean Up This Mess” – Daniel
“Playing with Fire” – Wanda, Ensemble
“He Lied to Me” – Flamenco Singer, Flamenco Dancers
“Just Pretend” – Daniel, Lydia
“As Long as There Is Love” – Full Company

What awards has Mrs. Doubtfire won?

The Broadway production of Mrs. Doubtfire won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Wig and Hair Design. Rob McClure was nominated for his lead performance for Drama Desk, Tony and Outer Critics’ Circle Awards, and the show was nominated for a further four Outer Critics’ Circle Awards, including Outstanding New Musical.

Who is in Mrs. Doubtfire?

The premiere production of Mrs. Doubtfire starred Rob McClure, Jenn Gambatese, Brad Oscar, J Harrison Ghee, Analise Scarpaci, Peter Bartlett, and Mark Evans.

The Mrs. Doubtfire London company is led by Gabriel Vick whose West End credits include Sunny Afternoon, Once, Chariots of Fire, La Cage aux Folles, and A Little Night Music – plus he was in the original London cast of Avenue Q.

Cameron Blakely joins him as Frank, alongside Laura Tebbutt as Miranda Hillard, Carla Dixon-Hernandez as Lydia Hillard, Cameron Blakely as Frank Hillard, Marcus Collins as Andre, Samuel Edwards as Stuart Dunmire, Ian Talbot as Mr. Jolly, and Kelly Agbowu as Wanda Sellner.

Fun facts about Mrs. Doubtfire

Did you know that Mrs. Doubtfire was actually a novel first? Yes, the film is based on the 1987 young adult novel by English author Anne Fine, and followed largely the same plot, with divorcing parents and the dad disguising himself as the nanny.

Of course, Mrs. Doubtfire is all about transformation – which means the leading man (turned lady) has lots of costume changes. In fact, the Mrs. Doubtfire musical features 30 quick changes altogether!

Mrs. Doubtfire director Jerry Zaks is on a roll. He recently directed the incredibly popular revival of The Music Man with Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster.

How to get Mrs. Doubtfire tickets

Don’t miss out on this hilarious comedy for all the family. Mrs. Doubtfire tickets are available now, and the show is booking at London’s Shaftesbury Theatre through to January 2024 – so there are plenty of dates to choose from. See Mrs. Doubtfire in the West End now.

Book Mrs. Doubtfire tickets on London Theatre.

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Photo credit: Mrs. Doubtfire on Broadway (Photo courtesy of production)

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