A GoPride Interview

Aaron Kaburick

On the national tour of Mrs. Doubtfire the musical, meet Aaron Kaburick

Wed. February 28, 2024  by Matt Inawat, GoPride

I can trust that I can just show up and be an honest actor and deliver their material
Aaron Kaburick

nik alexander (andre), aaron kaburick (frank)

photo credit // joan marcus

Broadway and London's smash hit musical comedy Mrs. Doubtfire is playing for a limited engagement through March 10 at Broadway In Chicago’s James M. Nederlander Theatre.

The story: after losing custody in a messy divorce, Daniel Hillard creates the kindly alter ego of Scottish nanny Euphegenia Doubtfire in a desperate attempt to stay in their lives. As his new character takes on a life of its own, Mrs. Doubtfire teaches Daniel more than he bargained for about how to be a father.

The North American Tour follows the recent opening of Mrs. Doubtfire on the West End where it received numerous four star reviews.

We chatted with the show's Aaron Kaburick, who steps into the role of Frank Hillard (Daniel's brother), originally played by Harvey Feirstein in the 1993 comedy-drama of the same name that featured Robin Williams, Sally Field, and Pierce Brosnan.

MI: (Matt Inawat, GoPride) Tell us a little bit about the show!

AK: (Aaron Kaburick, Mrs. Doubtfire) It's a musical about a man who gets divorced from his wife and is separated from his kids as a result. And he's doing anything and everything he can to be with his children. It's a story at the heart of it, about love and a dad trying to be with his kids; then you layer on top of it a ton of comedy.

MI: How does the musical format enhance the storytelling of Mrs. Doubtfire? Especially from your character Frank's perspective?

Nik Alexander, Aaron Kaburick, Romelda Benjamin, Rob McClure; credit: Joan Marcus

AK: One thing is that you get to explore emotions with music that you don't really get to as much just words.

Music can take it to another level and dancing can take it to another level which is, I think, the beauty of musical theater and why I love it so much.

Frank is the brother of Daniel/Mrs. Doubtfire. And the creators have really expanded the role of Frank for the musical  and given Frank some new comedy that you won't see in the movie, but you will see on stage. There's a wonderful running gag that Frank has that is delightful for the audience; and some great music too. There's a couple of numbers that Frank is a part of; especially "Make Me a Woman" which is essentially the number that transforms Daniel into this new character of Mrs. Doubtfire.

MI: Had you drawn any inspiration from Harvey Feinstein's portrayal of Frank in the original film?

AK: That's a good question that I get asked a lot. The truth is that he's an incredible mold for this character. It's also in a way a new character. 

What the creators have done is created this new character for the musical. So I don't really feel like I need to recreate something that Harvey did. Having said that, I bow down to Harvey Fierstein; especially because as a young person seeing this in Mrs. Doubtfire, what he created in that show, what he did in the show, was something that you didn't see - a gay character who was just presented as this man who just happened to be gay, he wasn't the butt of the joke. He wasn't something to laugh at. He just happened to be Daniel's brother and he happened to be gay. And, I think that's incredible at that time. You think about how far we've come since then in terms of entertainment and the queer community being seen in entertainment. And so I applaud him. As a result, I do still feel a little bit of an homage to him every night when I go on stage. 

MI: Can you share a memorable moment or experience you had either during rehearsals or within the show?

Nik Alexander (Andre), Aaron Kaburick (Frank) and company; credit: Joan Marcus

AK: I will say again without giving too much away, there's a part where, the character of Andre, my husband in the show and I, we think that Daniel is going to finally fess up to being this other character of Mrs Doubtfire. We think he's finally going to fess up to the social worker. Wanda Felner, played brilliantly by Romelda Teron Benjamin, and our two characters when he says, "all right. All right, I'm gonna tell the truth." 

We both go what? And we're shocked that he's gonna tell the truth. And one night in Cleveland just a couple of cities ago, we heard somebody in the audience, we said what at the same time? And this person went what? So loud and I just thought, oh my gosh, how amazing that this person is so invested in this story that they are just as shocked as we are that he's gonna tell the truth. I love when people are that invested in the story

MI: So let's talk a little bit about you. Take us back. How did you get started in the theater? And who were some of your influences growing up?

AK: I'm originally from Illinois, just the other end of the state. From Chicago. I'm from Southern Illinois, about one hour south of Springfield in a little tiny town called Carlinville. And my mom took me to the Saint Louis Muny, which is an 11,000 ft outdoor musical theater. And I saw Debbie Boone in The Sound of Music and I was hooked. And I also I loved the Carol Burnett Show. I was so drawn to that, which was a television show, but it was still live performances. So it was very theatrical. Carol Burnett was definitely an early influence for me. And then once I saw The Sound of Music, I then got into cast albums and started listening to Mary Martin and Peter Pan. 

And I fell in love with the Will Rogers Cast album and so many other cast albums. I just grew up listening to and I would absorb as much as I could on my little farm in Illinois before I finally went to Boston University, where I studied economics because I was thinking I would go into arts administration; and I actually did for a few years. I was the associate producer at the Saint Louis Muny right out of college for a few years before I started performing full time. I got my break in the national tour of the full Monty. And I've been lucky to have a good career since then.

MI: Are you superstitious when you go out on stage? Are there things you religiously have to do before a performance just for luck?

AK: I actually am not. I do have my rituals, especially for this show. It varies by show, but this one is kind of vocally difficult for me. So I have my throat coat tea. I have before every show.

MI: For this show you're in Chicago for a couple of weeks; during this time in Chicago, what are on your top three things to do or see while in the Windy City?

AK: I'm one who I saves pins of where I want to go in Google Maps. A lot of times, it's centered around food to be honest. So, I really want go to Ann Sathers and get the cinnamon roll. I have never done that. I'm dying to do that. 

I've also never done the architectural boat cruise tour which I'm hoping is happening while we're there because I don't know if it's seasonal or not.

I'm also hoping to do a donut tour. I have a ton of other things on my list. There's a Frank Lloyd Wright house.

I'm excited and because I'm from Illinois, I have some family coming to see the show. I have some friends in Chicago. So it's gonna be nice to see  family and friends while I'm there too.

MI: Before we go, what have you learned from playing Frank that you plan to carry on into these future roles?

AK: The first thing that comes to mind when you ask that question, is that as performers, we often times think about what we need to do for a laugh or what we need to do in the moment to get an audience to feel something. And it's really easy to forget that writers work really hard to create characters, to create stories, to create moments, to create feelings. 

And so often times, we as performers, we have to remember that we just need to rely on their writing and rely on our instincts as actors. And so often times if we just approach something with an honest perspective, the rest will just fall into place because hopefully the writing is so good.

For example, in the case of Mrs. Doubtfire; our writers, Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell, their writing is so good that I can trust that I can just show up and be an honest actor and deliver their material and not have to do something to be funny or do something to, you know, tug at the heartstrings if that makes sense.  So I think that's the biggest takeaway - is to just rely on writing especially when it's good.

First National Touring Company of Mrs. Doubtfire; credit: Joan Marcus

Individual tickets for Mrs. Doubtfire are now on sale and range from $30.00 - $140.00 with a select number of premium tickets available. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. For more information, visit BroadwayInChicago.com.

Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 24 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country. A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining up to 1.7 million people annually in five theatres. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including the  Cadillac Palace Theatre, CIBC Theatre, James M. Nederlander Theatre, Auditorium Theatre, and just off the Magnificent Mile, and the Broadway  Playhouse at Water Tower Place.


Interviewed by Matt Inawat, GoPride