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Baghdaddy

Members say: Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Relevant
83
Critics
81
29 reviews
Members
83
227 reviews
 

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. 

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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.

 


Cast & Creatives (18)


Reviews (256)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
81
Avg Score

70
Front Row Center

“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

80
Bob's Theater Blog

“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

40
Theatre is Easy

"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

80
Act Three - The Reviews

"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

90
Broadway Blog

"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

85
DC Metro Theater Arts

"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

80
On Stage Blog

"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

95
Reviews Off Broadway

"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

95
Manhattan With a Twist

"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

85
Theater Life

"'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

85
Off Off Online

“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

80
Beauty News NYC

"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

80
The New York Times

for a previous production "An important, cunning, rock-solid musical comedy...The staging is fast-paced, expert and perfectly proportioned...The cast of eight is uniformly authentic and sympathetic...The script contains just enough 'Wag the Dog' absurdism to keep things in perspective." Full Review

90
BroadwayWorld

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

100
Times Square Chronicles

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

80
Theater In The Now

for a previous production "While stylistically the musical is unsure of itself, the way the story is told is expertly crafted. Fourteen years after 9/11, it’s possible that it’s still 'too soon' but what Pailet and Penedo have done is avoid glorifying the subject. They present their material in a fine manner...'Who’s Your Baghdaddy' is a fascinating story with a strong ensemble." Full Review

60
TheaterScene.net

for a previous production "After a promising comedic prologue of a simulated support group 'Who’s Your Baghdaddy? Or How I Started The Iraq War' becomes a musical. The score is a professionally sounding variety of show tunes, ballads and hip-hop that don’t have much impact...it’s wearying and relatively uninvolving barrage that lampoons the errors in U.S. intelligence leading to the Iraq War...it partially achieves its intended provocative aspirations." Full Review

85
Manhattan Digest

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

95
Theatre is Easy

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

70
Theater Pizzazz

for a previous production "There are laughs aplenty, but the humor is black...This splendid team captured the horrible absurdity of our Iraq misadventure...While this estimable effort makes the authors’ points, 'Who’s Your Baghdaddy?' would work better were it tighter and shorter." Full Review

90
NY Theatre Guide

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

85
Asbury Park Press

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

85
The Knockturnal

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

90
The DCist

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

90
Entertainment Hour Blog

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

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
83
Avg Score

78
Ambitious, Clever, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Erratic

See it if you can get past the title & enjoy a sharp, clever, jaunty (& scattered) new musical/sketch show about gov't intrigue & the Iraqi War.

Don't see it if you don't have at least a basic knowledge of the timeline, events & characters involved in the Iraqi War.

79
Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You are interested in a contemporary musical based in fact; are willing to find humor in war

Don't see it if You want to avoid any topic of politics or the Iraq War, are looking for a splashy production

Also Free wine was a great start to the evening!

92
Delightful, Intelligent, Must see, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you like smart, well-written, AND fun musicals!

Don't see it if you don't think you could find real-life farce related to Iraq funny in any way

91
Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining, Great staging

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

Also I did not know a lot about this show going into it, so I was pleasantl... Read more Read less

77
Funny, Clever, Great singing

See it if you enjoy contemporary musicals that touch on a contemporary topic.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy contemp musicals. Somewhat kitschy in style.

70
Clever, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if Good idea and in quirky theatre in basement of church. Well performed, well written.

Don't see it if Too long by a half hour.....should be 90 minutes. Didn't love rap music in first act as they seemed to be knocking off Hamilton

75
Clever, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Relevant, Well performed

See it if you enjoy musicals based on current events. This has energy and insight, although I'm not sure that it needed to be a musical.

Don't see it if you're unwilling to face the horrible mistakes made in the lead-up to the Iraq War. Or if you hate musicals.

Also I'm catching up on reviews of shows I've seen. I enjoyed this low-key ... Read more Read less

85
Funny, Clever, Intense, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

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!

79
Entertaining, Clever staging, Solid score and good performances, Interesting premise.

See it if You can accept musical sketches about the run-up to the Iraq War with odd characters and loopy dancing. It's very good, not must-see,however

Don't see it if Uninterested in the human quirks that may have been the impetus for waging war. Odd changes of tone & some unneeded characters may bug you.

Also The cast is pretty solid, but two characters are cartoons and the acto... Read more Read less

92
Funny, Ambitious, Clever, Relevant, Spirited

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.

90
Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant, Hilarious

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.

87
Clever, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Hilarious

See it if you want to laugh so hard you cry while being made to think deeply about the repercussions of your actions.

Don't see it if you're sensitive to discussion of 9/11 and/or Iraq.

72
Clever, Quirky, Relevant, Great writing, Uneven

See it if you like crazy stories and theories about real life events; like rock type musicals; like a really well put together off-broadway musical

Don't see it if you don't like stories about 9/11 or war; don't like fake stories about same; don't enjoy a good laugh over the roots of the iraq war

Also It was a bit uneven - act one was over-the-top funny/silly/physical co... Read more Read less

96
Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Profound, Entertaining

See it if want your thoughts provoked in a tremendously entertaining way.

Don't see it if don't to have to think about the world.

86
Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining

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.

80
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Interesting, Fun

See it if Mix the Jr FBI /NS Staff of House of Cards with Hamiltonish music this mash up is a great 1st effort for all concerned

Don't see it if If the Iraq war and 9/ 11 subject matter is sensitivetive to you

90
Funny, Clever, Must see, Refreshing, Hilarious

See it if you love a good comedy. Non stop laughs!

Don't see it if You don't like rap musicals... And I don't mean Hamilton.

77
Dizzying, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Raunchy, Relevant

See it if you like an interesting social commentary on what we deserve.

Don't see it if you are triggered by gun and/or chemical violence.

50
Boring, Ambitious, Disappointing, Overrated, Good premise

See it if The premise--spies meeting for an AA-type recovery meeting in a basement, is good. And it's ambitious, that they keep it running.

Don't see it if I'm shocked by how strong the show-score reviews are. It's not particularly well-written or interesting or entertaining.

78
Ambitious, Clever, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if An excellent cast,interestingly staged,a little to long. Worth the trip.

Don't see it if A funky theater,kind of like off broadway used to be.

100
Great acting, Intelligent, Must see, Great writing, Hilarious

See it if You have any interest in politics.

Don't see it if You have a condition that makes laughing painful.

93
Ambitious, Intense, Riveting

See it if you want a mix of deep and quirky, singing and intensity

Don't see it if you have zero knowledge of the Iraq war, it will go over your head

90
Ambitious, Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if great acting and staging, a musical with depth,

Don't see it if small intimate theaters

88
Clever, Must see, Refreshing

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.

79
Funny, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if Fun show, actors work the show well, singing is good, overall an enjoyable show

Don't see it if I can't think of a reason not to see Baghdaddy