Washington, DC

Meet Broadway Star Brad Oscar. The Two-Time Tony Nominee Is On His Ninth Broadway Show, Mrs. Doubtfire

Jeryl Brunner

Brad Oscar will never forget sitting in the audience at the Arena stage in Washington, DC seeing the musical Raisin and watching Ralph Carter perform. Carter, a child actor played Travis Younger, the youngest son in the show that was based on the play Raisin in the Sun.

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Brad OscarCourtesy of LSG Public Relations

The year was 1973. Oscar’s parents not only took their young son to see the show, they also arranged to go backstage after and meet Carter.

The entire experience would dazzle Oscar and have a profound impact on his world. “I have a crystal-clear image of sitting in the audience watching Ralph sing his song “Sidewalk Tree” and going backstage and meeting him afterwards,” recalls Oscar. “After that I had an enormous sense of this is what I want to do. I wanted to be that kid up on that stage.”

In fact, the Arena Stage continues to play a giant role in Oscar’s life. “I saw my first ‘Streetcar Named Desire and my first Molière play there,” he explains. “And ironically that is where I would later work and meet my husband [Diego Prieto] and then get married at Arena Stage.” In 2005, the couple were both in Damn Yankees. Oscar played Mr. Applegate (the devil) and his now-husband Prieto was Vernon, a Washington Senators baseball player.

Nine Broadway shows and two Tony nominees later, Oscar still has the feeling of wonder and joy towards performing in front of live audiences. “It is truly an overwhelming exchange of energy between audience and performer,” he says. “And it’s what makes live theater unlike any other performance art.”

Most recently Oscar has starred in the new musical comedy, Mrs. Doubtfire, on Broadway. Oscar plays Daniel (Mrs. Doubtfire’s) devoted brother Frank Hillard. Directed by Jerry Zaks, with a book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell and music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, the show is currently scheduled to be on hiatus until March 14, 2022. “It’s not our first time on hiatus, and I believe it is definitely for the best, to give this show the run it truly deserves,” says Oscar of the show that plays at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. “So, it’s not the news any of us wanted, but it’s a much better alternative than closing! And it’s not that long of a break, I’ll keep busy enough.”

In the meantime, Oscar marvels at the experience that Mrs. Doubtfire brought him. “I love being a part of a show that is all about family, different families, and what we will do to protect and cherish that,” says Oscar. “And watching Rob McClure [as Daniel/Mrs. Doubtfire] eight times a week is joyful and astonishing”

What qualities does Frank Hillard, your character in Mrs. Doubtfire, have that you adore?

He has a joy and embrace of life that I love. He also has this quirky inability to lie, which is played for laughs. But there’s something wonderful about the goodness and honesty in that.

Can you share how Harvey Fierstein inspired the start of your career and coming out? And what a full circle moment playing the same role Harvey played in the film version of Mrs. Doubtfire.

I remember reading about Torch Song Trilogy when it premiered off Broadway, and then had the opportunity to see it in 1982 on Christmas break my freshman year of college. And then I came out weeks later. Of course, that was percolating. I always knew I was gay, but there’s no denying that the play had a huge effect on my journey and education. I saw the play three times! I can’t say enough about my love and respect for Harvey, the artist and the person. And as when I played Edna in Hairspray, I will let his brilliant original creation inform what I do and then hope to do the role justice from there.

When you were in Something Rotten the show-stopping number, "A Musical," often ended in a standing ovation. Is it possible to describe how performing makes you feel?

No! You read about such things, dream about such things, but rarely does it actually happen. And it happened nightly for a while, I’m still amazed and delighted just thinking about it!

What went through your mind when you heard about getting cast in Mrs. Doubtfire?

I was particularly excited about finally getting to work with Jerry Zaks, and again with the Something Rotten team. [Karey Kirkpatrick, John O’Farrell and Wayne Kirkpatrick]. And, of course, I am very excited to have a job at home on Broadway, which is always a gift.

When did you know that you had a talent for acting, singing and dancing?

Well, I’m still searching for that gift for dancing, but I started putting on shows in the basement at an early age. And then got the musical theater bug which started me singing. My folks love theater and started taking me around the age of seven or eight.

When was one the first times you performed?

My first “legitimate” performance outside of the basement was a production of Fiddler on the Roof at the JCC. I was Motel the tailor and the girl who played opposite me was at least a foot taller than I was.

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(From left) Brad Oscar, Rob McClure and J. Harrison Ghee in a scene from Mrs. DoubtfireJoan Marcus

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New York based journalist who has written for Forbes, Parade, InStyle, National Geographic Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and The Wall Street Journal. Author of the book "My City, My New York, Famous New Yorkers Share Their Favorite Places" and podcaster, ("When Lightning Strikes"). I cover the arts, theater, entertainment, food, travel and people who are motivated by their joy and passion.

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