Baghdaddy begins in a support group for the disgraced spies who helped start the Iraq War, and quickly escalates into a manic musical comedy where the characters tell their stories and search for redemption. More…
The show begins in a church basement, where disgraced spies gather for a support group meeting. The action soon shifts to Frankfurt Airport, where a mysterious Iraqi defector claims he built secret bio-weapons labs. At CIA headquarters, our other characters are contending with their own ambitions, rash decisions, inflexible bosses, unrequited affections, and unremitting boredom, when a fax arrives from Germany with a golden opportunity. If the defector's story holds up, it will be the ticket out of the basement and into a corner office. It's all fun and games until the looming cataclysm changes everything. 'Baghdaddy' was previously produced in New York in 2015 under the title 'Who’s Your Baghdaddy?' at the Actors Temple Theatre.
"The first half is hilarious. It is a musical and political Keystone Cops caper that is presented with the perfect amount of crazy. And then 9/11 hits the narrative and intermission hits the show. The second half is tonally completely different and yet just as perfect...'Baghdaddy' is a marvel. It is the story of a stupid war told with humor and fun, but the correct amount of compassion...Pailet puts his energetic cast through a non-stop emotional ride, and the audience follows with gusto." Full Review
"While at first we are dying of laughter, it’s in the second act that we realize we are only laughing at ourselves, at our history...Pailet directs this play like a master craftsman, knowing each piece contributes to the final product...He manages to intertwine very human factors to each beat, getting us to understand the terrible conclusion for each of them...The ensemble in this production is a perfect blend of personalities...A must-see production." Full Review
"I implore you to grab tickets for 'Baghdaddy,' the slick and clever roller-coaster musical...It’s even more potent now than it originally was...The creators handle the difficult aspects of the show with a great deal of respect and dignity...As smart satire often does, it makes the most unbearable circumstances bearable...Pailet has secured most of his 2015 cast, but the newcomers fit beautifully into the show. Shields’ choreography is sharp and inventive, and musically the show soars." Full Review
"Each member of the cast captures the distinctive personality and motivations of the eminently laughable but ultimately dangerous characters in consistently terrific performances...Zany choreography by Misha Shields brings sidesplitting physicality to the hilarious narrative and score...'Baghdaddy' will have you laughing out loud at its absurdist humor, while shaking your head in horror at the true absurdity of what really happened and the shocking casualties that resulted." Full Review
"'Baghdaddy’s' humor is based in the irony of horrific truth, but the musical’s message is as important and informative as it is entertaining...All of the actors here are uniquely exceptional...Marshall Pailet’s direction is on point and clever, though some of his book is a bit too metaphorical and quick for audiences to deftly appreciate. However, the music is catchy, so the book is mostly forgiven." Full Review
“A quick-moving, quick-witted comedy…Individually and as a comprehensive cast, the eight actors are rock solid…Though Pailet’s melodies may not be stuck in your head when you walk out of the theater, they are impressively diverse in style to fit the various scenes during which they occur. The laugh-out-loud lyrics by Penedo certainly will rattle around your brain long after the final bow...‘Baghdaddy’ is compelling, clever and based on a true story." Full Review
“The talented cast perform with gusto. The music by Marshall Pailet (who also directs) is eclectic, the lyrics by A.D. Penedo are often clever, and the book by both of them is almost consistently lively. The choreography by Misha Shields adds fun…My only quibble is that it could benefit from a slight trim. The play is certainly timely as the prospect of getting into a war by accident seems all too real.” Full Review
"A good show with a bad name...This magnificently rehearsed and talented cast adds energy, enthusiasm, heart, and soul to the script...The play suffers split personality...It's a bit all over the map but gets the point across. I think it needs some fine tuning and could really be a powerhouse as the concept is really serious and absolutely something that needs to be shown...For now, trust me it's worth the price of admission." Full Review
"Some of the smart and sharp lyrics might seem provocative, but they never fall off the edge of good taste and are always true to the characters. The energetic and often ironic choreography and charged performances of the entire cast keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire time...The unobtrusive design and the engagement of the space could be developed further, but who cares about this if you have a bomb of a script and an explosive cast in front of you?" Full Review
"A highly researched and chronological tale of the days that lead up to the Iraq war with a blast of universal humor...The show is often intense but highly comedic with slapstick, witty quips, familiar melodies and above all, clever direction as well as a very talented cast...There are many innovative theatre tricks and gimmicks throughout the show that are brilliantly executed and worth the price of admission alone...This story could be edited down and clarified." Full Review
“A great musical trapped inside of a good musical…The production is sometimes at battle with itself. At its best, it is a touching look at how small, human flaws can escalate toward catastrophe. At its worst, it is sketch comedy, albeit with free donuts and coffee for the audience…Trimming the title was a good idea. Decluttering some of the on-stage action would have been an even better one.” Full Review
"One of the crucial issues with 'Baghdaddy' is the tone...It is nearly impossible to address the darkness and gravity of the Iraq War when your actors are bouncing off the ceilings...The actors all give committed performances, but there is very little space for complex characters...I kept searching for unity in the music and book to explain why this story is a musical, I never found it...Whenever the show seems to gain steam...the action veers back towards a song that is simply a distraction." Full Review
for a previous production "It is an hilarious, creative, clever, inspiring, fresh breath of air with a score that I would buy right now, if I could...The show is as terrific as dare I say it, 'Hamilton...' I didn’t just like this show, I loved it. My prayer for 'Who’s Your Baghdaddy? Or How I Started The Iraq War' is that it catches on, gets a cult following and extends and extends. This should be a bonified hit." Full Review
for a previous production "It is hilarious, creative, clever, and, dare I say, inspiring. Perhaps the generic choice of a musical comedy is the key ingredient, but this dish was prepared right from start to finish. The songs were LOL funny...The entire cast was talented and seemed truly excited about this play. Musically, there is something here for everyone...This play is a can’t-miss for anyone still bitter from the Bush Administration and not sure what to do about it, which is to say, almost everyone." Full Review
for a previous production "A whip smart musical comedy based on a true story that’s sure to leave you laughing and thinking for days...This show is a testament to bold and brave writers, a group of committed, fiercely talented actors, and a collaborative team of theatre artists. They have dared to do away with spectacle and in doing so, have allowed this important story to come to life with engaging brilliance." Full Review
for a previous production "You’ve got to hand it to director Marshall Pailet for marshalling a compelling narrative out of what the play calls 'hystorical fiction' (not quite hysterical, not quite historical). Not a single moment goes to waste throughout the production, and there’s plenty to keep your eyes busy with deceptively elaborate choreography and set design." Full Review
for a previous production "Who's Your Baghdaddy? is anything but your run of the mill musical comedy. It is clever in its construction, rarely whimsical, performed with an honesty that grants each character dignity, and spellbindingly intellectual. Certainly dramatizing the events leading up to September 11, 2001 and the storm that followed in a musical fashion is a risk, but it's a risk well taken and exceptionally executed." Full Review
for a previous production "Mixing melodic ballads with hard rap and surprising choreography it’s an evening that will educate, enlighten, and allow you to have a theatrical experience all at the same time. Having worked on the project over ten years, the group has found their stride. It’s two hours of high paced pondering that will make you laugh, think, and silently wonder what secrets are kept and the casualties they reap." Full Review
for a previous production "The production is all aces: the songs are memorable and beautifully sung, Kyle Mullins' choreography is remarkably fluid given the tight space, and the company is so uniformly good at that I won't mention anyone singularly because there isn't space to discuss them all. There are a few kinks to work out, including some unfunny insult-trading amongst the Greek chorus and an unnecessary tune. But in the end, this is a show that you should expect to see in larger (and pricier) venues very soon." Full Review
for a previous production "Of the dozens of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows I’ve seen, this was one of my favorites…The actors served wine and donuts to audience members as though we were guests, freeing us all up from any stuffiness so we could relax into their fun and amusement. It worked for me…This play really should be performed in schools as a warning against unchecked ambition and the role of personal accountability." Full Review
for a previous production "This high-energy production is graced with a multi-talented cast who reveal the characters involved in the catastrophe, singing and dancing their hearts out. And the audience enjoys sharing the hilarious and audacious storytelling… Penedo and Pailet use comedy to remind us of a tragedy, and they do it brilliantly. Go see 'Who’s Your Baghdaddy?' It is totally unique." Full Review
for a previous production "'Watching Who’s Your Baghdaddy?' is both entertaining and enraging. Like any fine satire, it is smart and savvy and does a terrific job at reflecting our own inadequacies and failures. It is maddening, however, when we stop to think why this true to life theater piece had to be created... Pailet and Penedo appear to be relative newcomers to the New York musical theater scene, but for the sake of quality , let’s hope they keep creating work of this caliber." Full Review
for a previous production "The quirky musical by Marshall Pailet and A.D. Penedo is surprisingly entertaining..,The actors are strong performers, and there are lots of fun and silly moments. Things turn more serious after intermission, the post-9/11 world. Still, you are likely to leave the theater smiling, and perhaps a bit angry at a former president and his administration for thinking that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction." Full Review
for a previous production "All in all, 'Who’s Your Baghdaddy? Or How I Started The Iraq War,' is a great musical that is interesting, informative, and above all, fun. The songs were great, the acting phenomenal, and the jokes, most importantly, landed without any trouble. Be sure to check it out." Full Review
for a previous production "All in all, the show is thought provoking and heart warming; showing that people are only people whether in high positions or low ones. Our need for validation, love, & knowing we are seen and special truly does fuel the things that we do, whether great or completely destructive. I fully support this show and so should you!" Full Review
See it if You want free coffee and donuts. Also, actual members of the CIA talked to us after the show at the performance I attended. Very educational
Don't see it if You blame yourself for starting the Iraq war. Just so ya'll know, I was the one who mixed up the words credible and reliable. You're welcome
See it if you are a thinking human being, or if you just love great theater.
Don't see it if No possible reason not to see it - even if you are apolitical the great writing, and singing, dancing and acting, demand your involvement
See it if you enjoy politically-charged rock musicals with a good dose of satire, you're okay with intimate musicals
Don't see it if you prefer your musicals big and grand, you don't like actors being close to you, you want a classic musical
See it if You like witty, topical theatre. Musicals with great singing and dancing. High-energy, non-stop entertainment.
Don't see it if You don't like political theatre. Don't like musicals, don't like intimate staging.
See it if You want to see a musical that presents a personal and emotional theory of how our country’s post-9/11 conflict in Iraq began
Don't see it if You’re looking for a big, joyful musical with a live orchestra, or it’s too soon for you to see a comedy of errors about 9/11
See it if Terrific talent, from writing to acting. About who caused Iraq War (and the moral is: everybody). Fresh, funny and wonderfully staged.
Don't see it if Yes, it's political, and you'll think of America's current political mess. So if you're looking for a brainless romp, keep looking.
See it if you like theater can both entertain and challenge your thinking. I will be thinking about this one long after, but it was also a lot of fun!
Don't see it if you are simply looking for a fluff piece and don't like theater that is topical or political
See it if you like shows on important topics, or campy musicals, or just want to be entertained. This is a crowd pleaser on all fronts!
Don't see it if you want a high-budget production. (FYI: They do a great job on a limited, off-Broadway budget & the cast really gives it their all!)
See it if if you like the Daily Show, Avenue Q, or The Onion. It's the lovechild of those three things.
Don't see it if you want to turn off your brain. It's a really, really smart show, and will make you feel smart after watching it.
Also More timely now than ever. Really incredible production.
See it if you appreciate top-notch performances in a relevant and engaging rap-rock musical setting. This is theatrical storytelling at its best.
Don't see it if you don't care about a surprising Iraq war backstory, WMDs, or the danger of unchecked human egos, or if you prefer lavish productions.
See it if ..you are not opposed to the idea of the comedy musical about painful political topic. The humor hits all the right notes.
Don't see it if ..you are in the mood for serious political drama. Go see Oslo instead.
See it if Seems like a report of a Congressional investigation put into songs. Timely in that mistakes at the top could lead to war.
Don't see it if You don't want to revisit the Iraq war.
Also Surprisingly good for shows in this venue.
See it if political intrigue and a nuanced take on American history are your thing. Terrific use of the space, fascinating creative choices.
Don't see it if long stretches of detailed historical info bore you. There's a feint at a love story, but really this is a mainly political piece.
See it if You like edgy, political shows. Excellent performances, eclectic score. Unlikely subject for a musical--and it works! Small theatre intimacy
Don't see it if You still think the Iraq war was the right decision--then again, maybe you SHOULD see it!
See it if u want to see a totally original, tightly performed, intelligent, disturbing, funny musical about political f*&# ups. Superb talent & music
Don't see it if you are not in the mood for an intense, political, edgy, thoughtful performance. Wait until you are. And then go see it! It's entertaining!
See it if You like new musicals with fine songs and orchestration, strong acting and exceptional singing. It's funny with serious message.
Don't see it if You like "safe bets." This is a sprawling musical about the Iraq War's background. It's political and campy. But it works.
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