Broadway gender-bender fare

Robin Williams in the popular 1993 movie version of Mrs Doubtfire, which is soon to be turned into a stage musical bound for Broadway.

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BY BILLY SUTER

TWO Oscar-nominated films centred on gender-bending for gain – Tootsie and Mrs Doubtfire – are reportedly soon to be turned into Broadway musicals.

Playbill has reported that four-time Tony winner Jerry Zaks, most recently represented on Broadway with the Tony-winning revival of Hello, Dolly!, has been named as the director of Mrs Doubtfire, based on Anne Fine’s best-selling novel Alias Madame Doubtfire and the 1993 movie comedy that starred Robin Williams in the title role. It also starred Pierce Brosnan and Sally Field.

Word is that the new musical – centred on a struggling actor who, in a bid to be with his children after he loses custody in a divorce, disguises himself as a matronly British woman and takes a job as their nanny – will be created by John O’Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick (book) and Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick (music and lyrics).

No casting or performance dates have been confirmed yet.

Dustin Hoffman in the hit film version of Tootsie.

Playbill reports that in a joint statement, producers Kevin McCollum and Bob Cohen of Fox Stage Productions said: “Mrs Doubtfire is such a beloved story, both laugh-out-loud hilarious and extremely moving. Getting this team together and crafting Mrs Doubtfire for the stage has been pure joy. We can’t wait to get into production.”

Meanwhile, the Tootsie musical, based on the 1982 hit film starring Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Lange, is scheduled to open in Chicago on September 11 before a Broadway transfer in 2019.

It will star Tony nominee Santno Fonatana (Cinderella, Frozen) in the Hoffman role of a talented but difficult actor who will do anything to land the role of a lifetime – even if it means pretending he is a woman.

David Yazbek, who created the scores for The Full Monty and The Band’s Visit, has provided the Tootsie score, while choreography is by Tony nominee Denis Jones, who has worked on Holiday Inn and Honeymoon in Vegas.

The musical is directed by eight-time Tony nominee and Olivier Award winner Scott Ellis, whose work includes She Loves Me and On the Twentieth Century.

The production features sets by David Rockwell, costumes by William Ivey Long, lighting by Donald Holder and sound design by Brian Ronan.


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