Members say: Great acting, Relevant, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

About the show

A gay couple, who fought to adopt and are exploring the challenges of gay parenting, find themselves thrust into the pre-school parent pool, which causes anxieties to rise in their lives.

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Alan and Rob are an older married couple with a three-year-old daughter and a life they fought decades to be allowed to lead. But Alan has begun to feel an attraction to a younger gay dad, his closest straight friend’s marriage is disintegrating before his eyes, and his daughter Nicola seems to prefer Rob, who’s taken to parenting without any of Alan’s insecurities. In the course of one school year, three couples struggle with what it means to be married with children at this head-spinning cultural moment.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

The New York Times

"Mr. Parnell’s literate dialogue fits snugly amid the stylishness. There are a few occasions when a Significant Topic trots a little too obviously into the room. But for the most part, the play’s themes are handled with nuance and insight...The cast is impeccable. The play does not require much in the way of acting pyrotechnics, but establishing the nuances of relationships without the benefit of such opportunities makes the performers’ work all the more impressive." Full Review


"It almost feels like watching a gay version of Downton Abbey, absent the likable characters. They mention the help in passing, but (just like the children in question) we never see or hear from them...Hopefully, same-sex families in America (the vast majority of which do not look like the people depicted in 'Dada Woof Papa Hot') will one day get a more authentic depiction of their lives onstage." Full Review


"Men, don’t take your husbands to see 'Dada Woof Papa Hot' if either or both of you are on the fence about having children. Playwright Peter Parnell presents a candid, at times amusing look at what can happen when a child takes over a happy gay household. Exhaustion ensues, friendships fade, libidos drop, sex becomes a chore or a bore, and desperate parents might resort to desperate measures. It turns out gay parents are just like straight ones — although at times it seems like Parnell thinks... Full Review


"Infidelity, closeted-ness and other martial issues creep into the picture, but what works about the play is primarily the expertise with which director Scott Ellis's sold cast delivers Parnell's sharp and entertaining dialogue. It's a bit of style over substance, but 'Dada Woof Papa Hot' has enough that's interesting about it to keep the night fizzy." Full Review

Time Out New York

"'Dada Woof Papa Hot' is meticulously assembled, sleekly directed by Scott Ellis, and credibly acted...It is sincere in intent, faithful to the world it depicts, and as drama rather dull: the wringing of well-manicured hands...Many audience members at Lincoln Center, gay and straight, may recognize themselves in the people onstage, and there's nothing wrong with that. But surely art can do more than hold a mirror up to the Upper West Side." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"'Dada Woof Papa Hot' is not a mystery, at least not in terms of its plot, whose pieces fit together as smoothly and satisfyingly as the sliding puzzle platforms of John Lee Beatty’s sets. The psychological underpinnings of the men’s marriages (and the straight couple’s, for that matter) are not, however, so simply rationalized...It’s a beautiful performance, no less so for seeming to be no performance at all." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"In 'Dada Woof Papa Hot,' Parnell combines characters we know pretty well -and a situation we know pretty well- in a manner which makes it all seem fresh, involving and convincing. And enjoyable." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"Some might find this sappiness moving. I didn't. Director Scott Ellis, a comedy specialist somewhat wasted on this gab-athon, moves things along at a steady pace; the actors for the most part get the job done, and designer John Lee Beatty orchestrates some gorgeously fluid scene changes, with lots of interlocking pieces. But for a play about gay men navigating the new normal, it all feels numbingly familiar, somewhat shallow and more than a little dull." Full Review

AM New York

"Neither particularly compelling nor memorable in terms of its storytelling...'Dada Woof Papa Hot' offers deeper characterizations and a probing examination of the strains of parenthood." Full Review

Front Row Center

"Parnell’s characters are genuine and credible...Director Scott Ellis seems to once again effortlessly tease thoughtful nuance out of stock situations…The quality of the acting is not at fault—no one is less than terrific…That said, watching gay men struggle with parenthood is not that interesting…More to the point, it is neither entertaining nor enlightening…So while there are truths told in 'Dada Woof Papa Hot'—there isn’t a lot of new ground broken." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"In this incisive if not quite riveting 100-minute play by Peter Parnell, four gay men who not that long ago hungered for the opportunity to be regarded the same as straight couples learn that maybe their desires and dreams weren't as developed as they thought... Parnell's investigation of the gay commitment question feels fresh, but this subplot does not, and comes across as an awkward attempt to evoke equivalency that's not needed for the play to function." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"It is one dimensional and in a word boring…The cast is top, of their game with Hickey and Plunkett excelling. Scott Ellis keeps the pace, but it is a shame the dialogue and the subject matter bog the action down. John Lee Beatty’s set and the way it maneuvers is truly wonderful." Full Review

New York Daily News

"Parnell’s material is timely and topical and director Scott Ellis guides a capable cast...But the script is self-conscious and formulaic. It works very hard to click together like the scenery — starting with the precious title. 'Nikki’s first words were dada and woof and papa and hot,' says Alan. 'They say what every gay dad wants to hear.' That line doesn’t really convince on stage or in print." Full Review


"Peter Parnell's play isn't quite the groundbreaker it wants to be…His intention to take his new look at life in today's more open-minded world is valid, but it seems forced in this play…Despite my reservation 'Dada Woof...' is more often than not enjoyable. Director Scott Ellis sees to it that the actors smoothly navigate these diverse views on parenthood and commitment." Full Review

Bob's Theater Blog

"The play examines interesting questions of what has been gained and what has been lost with the arrival of gay marriage and gay parenthood... The production is top-notch with an excellent cast, a wonderful set by John Lee Beatty that elegantly reconfigures to half a dozen locations, appropriate costumes by Jennifer von Mayrhauser and smooth direction by Scott Ellis. Parnell’s snappy dialogue is a treat. The play does sag slightly towards the end, but not enough to spoil it." Full Review


"Even if the title suggests a gay comic romp, the play is decidedly a serious – though often funny and only occasionally pedantic – eye-opener for those who casually assume that gay married couples are in the same situation as heterosexual couples…It’s a lot for one play to juggle, but Mr. Parnell has done a very good job of defining each of the characters and the flailing relationships, and Scott Ellis directs it all with a steady hand." Full Review

The Wrap

"If you’re single without children and not young, and feel that your life is a major mistake, it’s recommended that you see Peter Parnell’s new play...You will cherish your decision to be alone and childless. Not only do the characters in Parnell’s play tell us what hard work it is to be in a committed relationship, they fully succeed in making it look like total drudgery...What makes 'Dada Woof' novel as a play about marriage is that two of the three couples are same-sex." Full Review

The Associated Press

"Staged with smooth economy by Scott Ellis, a pleasing production opened Monday night...Parnell accurately covers commonalities between gay and straight parenting, even as he also delves into differences...As the couples struggle with their relationships while trying to be good parents, Alan works through some of his parental fears in a sweet analogy to 'Peter and the Wolf' that any parent can relate to." Full Review


"It's a perceptive, often amusing comedy about having kids... Not a lot happens in 'Dada Woof,' but, knowingly directed by Scott Ellis and well-acted – Hickey gives a nicely nuanced performance, while Breen and Pankow provide droll humor — it offers a piquant view of how having kids changes people's lives, from rearranging their social circle to making acceptance at the right preschool, at least among these privileged New Yorkers, the prime goal of life." Full Review

Broadway & Me

"Both Peter Parnell's 'Dada Woof Papa Hot,' and Mark Gerrard's 'Steve' take on the more contemporary issue of gay parenthood...I found 'Steve' to be fluffier than 'Dada Woof Papa Hot' but I enjoyed it more (plus, as a black woman, I didn't particularly appreciate the latter's condescending reference to a Jamaican nanny)." Full Review


"The main problem with 'Dada Woof Papa Hot' is that, despite the brilliant acting of all concerned and Parnell’s sharp ear for the language of each person, it’s difficult to empathize deeply with these characters, all of whom appear to be well off, well educated and by no means victims of circumstances. They wanted to be married. They wanted to have children and then complain endlessly about the vicissitudes of their actions." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Gay or straight, the problems are the same, which isn’t news to any of us straight folks who have raised children…So, nothing new, which tends to elicit some audience chuckles or moments of depression depending what life has offered up. In spite of some of the boredom listening to a lot of chatter about children, Scott Ellis has pumped up the glib dialogue and there are enough laughs to go around, along with a major amount of putting on our psychoanalyzing caps." Full Review


"Directed with finesse by Scott Ellis, Parnell’s play examines the dynamics of marriage and fatherhood with clear and touching insight... Breen and Hickey have an easy, affectionate chemistry, and each delivers a wonderfully sensitive performance." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"Stilted and overstudied to the point where it feels mummified...It’s slightly disappointing that in a play that thinks of itself as so groundbreaking when it comes to addressing the concerns of gay men, it’s a heterosexual woman who steals the show, by not only conjuring the doubts boiling among the audience, but also by allowing herself to live with her imperfections...One wishes it hadn’t decided to treat most of its characters like children." Full Review


"The plot twists here aren't especially surprising; and given the show's exclusive focus on monied, white, urban professionals, 'Dada Woof Papa Hot''s portrait of the modern gay experience does feel limited. Parnell does a superb job humanizing the anxieties of these men, caught between being cultural paragons and being all too human." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if you enjoy plays about the complexity of modern relationships led by powerful performances

Don't see it if You don't like thought-provoking dramas about marriage and attraction and sex. You don't like male nudity on stage.

Delightful, Intelligent, Masterful, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a smart, funny, and powerful drama.

Don't see it if You do not like shows that deal with difficult and awkward relationship issues.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You wanted something so badly and then you got it and then you wonder why you wanted it and if you still do. You like modern sets.

Don't see it if You don't want to see a drama about infidelity, relationships & marriage, or about families and growing up. You prefer happy-go-lucky shows.

Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you like family relationships.

Don't see it if you don't like gay themes.

Intelligent, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy modern theatre and NYC topic based art.

Don't see it if you don't like to hear about the problems of the well off or nudity.

Ambitious, Clever, Great acting, Disappointing, Entertaining

See it if you're interested in what happens when gays adopt and how they relate to friends - straight and gay - who have or don't have children

Don't see it if even the briefest nudity offends

Original, Clever, Intelligent, Refreshing, Relevant

See it if You like trendy, relationship dramedies.

Don't see it if You are against gay marriage.

Clever, Great acting, Relevant, Cliched, Great staging

See it if you want to see married couple problems in the gay world; great acting; a hot naked man on stage

Don't see it if you cannot forgive a script that still needs some work (but the actors do a terrific job with the sometimes uneven material)

Original, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if Parenting issues are the same for all of us, straight, LGBT and the problems that arise are similar for all.

Don't see it if You are averse to LGBT and gay marriage and do not see all the array of "family"

Funny, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Romantic, Entertaining

See it if You like new plays about modern issues, especially gay parenting.

Don't see it if You don't like plays about gays and/or wealthy, white New Yorkers and their problems.

Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great staging

See it if Excellent acting. Some of the best I've seen. Especially loved John Benjamin Hickey in this. Really enjoyed the play. Lots to think about.

Don't see it if You don't like gay themed or very New York city themed shows.

Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You are interested in exploring issues of gay parenting and marriage in a well crafted and extremely entertaing play.

Don't see it if The subject matter is of no interest.

Indulgent, Banal, Disappointing, Cliched, Slow

See it if Very cliche and self indulgent; I found myself bored and disinterested. The one nude scene was completely unnecessary and gratuitous.

Don't see it if You're offended by anything gay and lesbian, or nudity

Absorbing, Great acting

See it if very well acted plays about relationships and how dynamics change when people become parents and enjoy great ensemble of actors.

Don't see it if Dramas with subjects of intimacy, relationships longing, and acceptance are not to your liking

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Relevant, Slow

See it if you want a family story

Don't see it if you want a musical.

Clever, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Disappointing

See it if

Don't see it if a bit blah

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you like shows about families and careers and life's ups and downs and how our relationships grow inside all of that.

Don't see it if you are not interested in watching people exist in sometimes complicated and messy relationships.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you care about new original dramas dealing with relevant themes of today.

Don't see it if you don't care about being enlightened.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You want an insightful look at relationshops of all types. Perfect, subtle performances and intelligent writing. A truly unique set

Don't see it if Constant talk about sex and full-frontal nudity offend you

Banal, Cliched, Dated, Great staging

See it if you're not bored with cliches about "what it means to be gay now"

Don't see it if you're sick of urban, gay, white people problems.

Clever, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy seeing what would be a cliche story told through a new and refreshing list or if you enjoy small theaters.

Don't see it if you are looking for a completely new tale told.

Funny but didactic portrayal of problems of gay partners who mimic straight world parental models

See it if you enjoy hysterical one-liners and good ensemble acting, with heartbreaking performance by John Benjamin Hickey

Don't see it if you don't enjoy heavy foreshadowing, and don't enjoy script increasingly filled by speechifying by characters rather than realistic dialogue

Great acting, Relevant, Sweet, Touching

See it if You enjoy domestic dramas with everyday themes like parenting & relationships. You appreciate sincerity. You like well-written plays.

Don't see it if You don't like domestic dramas. You don't want to see same-sex relationships on stage. You want a play with more worldy issues.

Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you are in to soap opera type dramas set in todays society. Or if you are fans of any of the great cast.

Don't see it if you are expecting anything mind-blowing or deep.

Funny, Clever, Relevant, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if you are interested in smart contemporary plays. Great acting, especially by John Benjamin Hickey, and tackles issues of life in 2015.

Don't see it if you're tired of yet another play about the white upper middle class. I enjoyed it but was struck by how many of these stories we see onstage

Cast & Creatives (14)