Rob McClure, nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for his work in the title role of the new musical Mrs. Doubtfire, believes this year's awards season will not only celebrate all of the work of the nominees but also the resilience of the Broadway community following the Broadway shutdown.
"Anyone who is currently performing on Broadway, their show has been through insanity, … and our show is certainly no exception," says McClure, also Tony-nominated in 2013 for his performance in the title role of the Chaplin musical. "Doubtfire has had a rough go [with] COVID shutting us down multiple times [as we're] trying to build an audience. My hope is that everyone who has poured their heart and soul into Mrs. Doubtfire for the last three years feels a piece of themselves in this nomination, because I certainly feel all of that inside of it. And, I hope people come experience the brilliant show that I'm lucky enough to be a part of at the Sondheim."
Despite the challenges of performing during an unprecedented time, McClure believes audiences need the shared experience of live theatre now more than ever. "The energy inside these theatres right now is really electric," he says, "and our show is all about the length to which you would go to reunite with people you care about. To see the the tearful, laughing faces at the Sondheim eight shows a week, you can see the tonic that our show has been for people who are craving the very thing that COVID took away from us, which is our collective humanity."
When asked what he would say to theatregoers who may still be a little reticent about returning to live theatre, McClure says with a laugh, "I would say wear a mask," adding, "because we are all working so hard to be there. … During the past three years, it's been all about, 'How can we stream content to your device?' Well, this is one art form that asks you to show up. And if you do, the dividends are huge, the payoff of the shared experience of live storytelling.
"Theatre lovers know it well, and we're evangelistic that way. And these buildings, these Broadway theatres or churches—wear masks and come back to church!"
Directed by Tony winner Jerry Zaks, Mrs. Doubtfire, based on the film of the same name, features a book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell and music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick. The new musical continues at the Sondheim Theatre.