From the moment they first met, theater has been a crucial part of Maggie Lakis and Rob McClure’s relationship. In July 2005, Lakis, a former Temple student, and McClure met onstage at Temple’s Tomlinson Theater while rehearsing for a regional production of Grease.
Six productions as a couple and nearly 20 years later, Lakis and McClure are now touring the country with the Broadway production of Mrs. Doubtfire. They will perform at Philadelphia’s Academy of Music from Feb. 6-18 as part of the show’s seven-month tour.
“This is the seventh time we’ve gotten to work together in the 18 years we’ve been together, which is astonishing, I can’t believe I’m saying that,” McClure said. “Couples who are both performers rarely get to work together at all, nevertheless seven times, so we’ve been super lucky.”
Lakis and McClure portray Miranda and Daniel Hillard, a divorced couple amid a custody battle. With similar approaches to acting and a rich history between them, the couple depicts a struggling marriage with depth.
“It’s just a partner on stage and we just talk and listen and I love working with Rob,” Lakis said. “Unlike Daniel Hillard, who in the show is famously difficult to work with and selfish and not collaborative, constantly getting fired, Rob is a joy to work with.”
The musical, which debuted on Broadway in 2021, is an adaptation of the beloved 1993 comedy starring and produced by Robin Williams. The film was the second-highest-grossing film of that year and is now considered a classic comedy by many.
“‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ takes the inimitable character crafted by the late Robin Williams and presents a poignant musical experience with something for audiences of all ages,” wrote Frances Egler, vice president of theatrical programming and presentations at Ensemble Arts Philly, in an email to The Temple News.
McClure is excited to be taking the show on tour after originating the titular role in the musical’s 2021 debut, which earned him a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical.
He feels the Broadway production captures the same heartwarming spirit that earned the film its place as the comedy classic it is today.
“The show is providing much-needed comic relief around the country, but it also has really subversive, huge heart, and I think that that’s what’s surprising to so many people,” McClure said. “They come expecting to laugh and they will, you know, I’m gonna hit myself in the face with a pie. I’m gonna light myself on fire. You’re gonna get all the things from Mrs. Doubtfire, but at the same time, the show has been expanded since the film for a 2024 world.”
Along with their history of performing together, the couple is traveling with their five-year-old daughter Sadie for the first time and relishing the opportunity to show her the country.
“I mean, we’re driving everywhere on the tour, we’re not flying, just so that as a family we can, you know, stop at the world’s largest ball of twine and all the things,” McClure said.
Lakis, a Philadelphia native, is also excited to be back in her home city for the tour, as the family is able to stay in their own home for the February stretch.
She is thrilled to perform at the historic Academy of Music, a venue full of memories from watching Broadway icon Sandy Duncan perform in “Peter Pan” to performing there herself in 2017 during a tour of “Something Rotten!”
“It’s just beautiful,” Lakis said. “From our view, it is very beautiful when we’re up on the stage and it’s just again, the legends that have performed there. It’s really, it’s really powerful.”