Daddy NYC Reviews and Tickets

71%
(137 Reviews)
Positive
67%
Mixed
26%
Negative
7%
Members say
Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Disappointing

About the Show

In The New Group and Vineyard Theatre's new drama, Franklin, a young black artist, meets Andre (Alan Cumming), an older white art collector, and before long their feverish link deepens into an irresistible bond.

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Member Reviews (137)

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48
Indulgent, Threadbare, Banal, Disappointing, Pretentious

See it if u want to see naked Alan Cumming spank naked Ronald Peet as u fantasize about punishing playwright Jeremy Harris for this woeful "melodrama"

Don't see it if u expect to be educated/moved by the myriad issues (race, age, art & commerce, ambition, etc.) in this overstuffed, overlong, hollow mess. Read more

77
Thought-provoking, Raunchy, Indulgent, Dizzying, Ambitious

See it if High melodramatics engulf wildly ambitious & highly sexualized tale of 'artist' & 'mentor' Cumming & Woodard anchor its operatic tendencies

Don't see it if Despite overwrought themes & Taymor's slick presentation, a major talent on display Third act derails exhausting piece w/ Peet too neurotic

Critic Reviews (35)

The New York Times
March 5th, 2019

"It feels like the work of an untested artist...'Daddy' always seems to be annotating rather than expressing its characters’ impulses...Mr. Harris has subtitled his play 'A Melodrama.' Yet even when the participants are wet, screaming and, in the cases of its male leads, nude, the confrontations feel academic. And while Taymor keeps the play moving briskly, even the spanking sequences register as more cerebral than physical. As for the talk, it is endless and circular and repetitive. "
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New York Magazine / Vulture
March 5th, 2019

"Its major frustration as a piece of writing is that, after plenty of intellectual razzle-dazzle, it wraps itself up with too neat a psychological bow. Meanwhile, the production isn’t quite committed to the text’s vast potential for either weirdness or emotional weight. 'Daddy' is full of tense and titillating material, but here it packs surprisingly little punch in the feeling department. I was never bored...but I was also never really gripped anywhere south of the brain. "
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The Hollywood Reporter
March 5th, 2019

"This lugubrious drama barely manages to work up a sweat...The play has some sly, funny moments, to be sure...But they are too few and far between, and the evening seriously goes off the rails in the third act...It's a pleasure, as always, to watch Cumming and Woodard, even when they are obviously struggling to bring emotional coherence to the scattershot material...But the cast's combined efforts are not enough to make 'Daddy' more than an exercise in affectation."
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Variety
March 5th, 2019

"Alan Cumming is flawlessly creepy...Welcome to the self-love fantasy of rising playwright Harris, who has scripted a three-hour homage to his own artistry...Give the writer his due, the dialogue is, like, dope...Harris is smart and his direction is clever, but obsessive love — a writer’s own self-love, as much as a mother’s and a lover’s — is not a pretty sight, and eventually becomes a full-blown bore."
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AM New York
March 5th, 2019

"An over-the-top and overwritten yet smart and gripping self-described 'melodrama'...The final act is the weakest, relying on confessional monologues and finishing on an anticlimactic, unresolved note. But for the most part, 'Daddy' makes for highly compelling theater, exploring issues of race, sexual identity and contemporary art while remaining grounded in a dramatic power struggle."
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Theatermania
March 5th, 2019

"The play packs a wallop. But 'Daddy' falters in the end by explaining too much...The performances are rich with implications, too...Director Danya Taymor effectively executes Harris's other theatrical experiments, particularly later in the play in a phantasmagoric Last Supper-like scene. It's around that scene, unfortunately, that the play goes awry...Even so, 'Daddy' is an important, must-see work for all the things that it does well."
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Lighting & Sound America
March 6th, 2019

"Aside from its killing overlength -- it takes three acts and nearly three hours to play out --'Daddy' is overloaded with schemes and strategies that do little to add interest to its crudely rendered tug of war...Taymor's direction has its moments but the most she can do is orchestrate the script's many operatic gestures...'Daddy,' however, is all sound and fury, a series of baroque flourishes erected around a hollow core...'Daddy' wasn't ready for a first-class Off Broadway production."
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New York Stage Review
March 5th, 2019

"This play, relatively realistic in its initial scenes, increasingly turns surreal...A bizarre third act, which climaxes with an immersive exorcism, mostly proves madly incoherent...Although Harris composes vivid dialogue, this flawed, overlong drama is heavily overwritten with beaux arts babble, unclear religious and psychological themes...Still, much as 'Daddy' smells of chlorine and youthful pretentiousness, its splashy production is often entertaining."
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New York Stage Review
March 5th, 2019

"Harris’ wildly ambitious, sometimes confounding, and wholly engrossing new drama...It’s to Harris’—and director Taymor’s—credit that we never know who to side with...Harris has a gift for making audiences uncomfortable, and a knack for getting even the tiniest detail correct. Yet at nearly three hours, 'Daddy' is bursting at its seams...The discussions of art are fascinating—but ultimately fruitless. Like Andre’s overstuffed art collection, 'Daddy' needs some curating."
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TheaterScene.net
March 13th, 2019

"Jeremy O. Harris' 'Daddy' is the work of a unique voice, a little self-indulgent in its length, and a little underwritten in its characterizations. It attempts to shock with its use of nudity and sadomasochistic sex, but nothing we have not seen before. The play's message is not entirely clear but the play is provocative nevertheless. It is a work for the mature playgoer who wants to see a new direction that our theater is heading."
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Theatre is Easy
March 5th, 2019

"Feels strikingly vacant...Where 'Daddy' struggles is under Danya Taymor’s direction. Taymor struggles to find the right rhythm for Harris’s melodrama. The play's frequent emotional outbursts...have an unusual lack of connection...Cumming and Peet are a remarkable pair but Harris’s text leaves reality in favor of metaphor and manages to feel lacking despite the play’s oppressive running time."
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Theater Pizzazz
March 5th, 2019

"This provocative new playwright is boundless in his exploration – from race, religion, gender and the human condition, 'Daddy' follows the path adding a surrealistic approach that helps provide the needed comic relief in this very real and intimate setting in what Harris calls a melodrama...In the sensitive, skillful and loving hands of director Danya Taymor, the production and performances are impressively real and jolting much of the time."
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CurtainUp
March 14th, 2019

"Best stay home if you expect your plays to make complete sense, and have fully developed characters. Though self-indulgently long (almost three hours)...'Daddy' is a visually deluxe and often entertaining production. What's more, the performances are just fine...If you've bought a ticket, park your demands for clarity and depth at the door and just view this as a colorful happening — and a chance to experience the work of a still emerging playwriting talent."
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Front Row Center
March 6th, 2019

"Harris refers to this play as a melodrama. It is complete with exaggerated events and characters. It is also, however, compelling. There is a sort of electricity that these actors create – this is a superb ensemble – and Dany Taymor‘s direction deftly moves our attention...We are never left to wonder where to focus, and we are too engaged to ask why...We are on a rollercoaster ride directly through the souls of these characters...Well done. Well done indeed."
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Front Mezz Junkies
March 6th, 2019

"The divinely intriguing 'Daddy,' arrives full force...The first of three acts within the gleefully overstuffed 'Daddy' is gifted with a treasure trove of spectacularly well written dialogue interactions, and as directed with a sharpness for conflict and abstractionism by Danya Taymor, the fantasy and the real conflict are both stitched, sung, and sewn beautifully beneath the blue skies in and out of the inviting water."
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Exeunt Magazine
March 6th, 2019

"The swimming pool...seems endlessly expansive and deep as the ocean. Yet when you look a little closer, you realize its depths only sink a few feet beneath the surface level. That could serve as a descriptor for the play itself, which recognizes and occasionally wrestles with important issues but too often lingers on its manicured surface...If Harris really does want to rub our nose in the world of status and money...Taymor’s production does a poor job communicating that."
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New York Theater
March 5th, 2019

"A porn melodrama about a love/hate triangle...But that description doesn’t completely capture this ambitious, intelligent, and in-your-face provocative play, rendered astonishing under the direction of Taymor and the terrific performances...'Daddy' focuses more on an exploration of the characters. Harris even offers some of them up with an edge of satire. But the intelligence and relative subtlety of the direction and performances smooth that edge into credible characters. "
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Broadway Blog
March 8th, 2019

"Harris's complex, genre-pushing exploration of sexuality, power, social identity, and familial relationships is a voice that absolutely needs to be heard...The fascinating complexities in Harris’s play come from the sexually and intimately charged relationship between the two men...Harris offers strokes of absurdism that, at least for this reviewer, result in a tempering of emotional connectivity. Harris’s play feels more like Jackson Pollock: abstract, messy, yet utterly captivating."
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C
March 5th, 2019

"Having made quite a splash with 'Slave Play,' Harris is making a more literal splash with this three-hour, self-titled melodrama set in and around a pool in a swanky Bel Air mansion. 'Daddy' tackles a virtual ocean's worth of provocative subjects, none moreso than the transactional nature of relationships in today's society, here exemplified by the pairing of Franklin, an emotionally troubled, infantilized young artist, and Andre, his much older, controlling-yet vulnerable lover."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
March 14th, 2019

"Ambitious but overlong, overstuffed…'Daddy' plays out in three acts lasting nearly two hours and 50 minutes, many of those minutes unnecessary and requiring patience to sit them out. The play's cerebral ambiguities, including the various symbolic functions all that water…help make its vague reflections on queerness, blackness, art, and parental love seem more significant than they are. Plenty meets the eye and ear but much of it seems a coverup for playwriting blandness."
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4Columns
March 8th, 2019

"There’s a designated splash zone...It primes an appetite for a deep dive it won’t ever satisfy. In its essence, the splash zone is very 'Daddy'...Harris experiments with a tincture of young black man and voracious white institutions, looking for the mixture that will most titillate, damage, and instruct...Despite Harris’s intentions, escalation doesn’t actually increase its effects. Everybody keeps jumping harder and harder, but somehow nothing makes a bigger splash."
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Gotham Playgoer
March 5th, 2019

"Harris knows how to go for the theatrical: an onstage swimming pool, extensive male frontal nudity, simulated gay sex, larger than life dolls and that gospel choir. Alas, he is better at grabbing our attention than at maintaining it. My interest waned long before the third and final act drew to a close. Alan Cumming and Charlayne Woodard are always worth seeing onstage...There are some worthwhile moments in the play, but they do not add up to a satisfying work."
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The Wrap
March 5th, 2019

"Harris stacks 'Daddy' against one character, only to reverse or level the playing field in the next scene...Danya Taymor directs this magnificent hodgepodge of styles in a way that makes perfect sense even while we’re recovering from some absolutely startling new surprise. Taymor also has unerring taste in new playwrights."
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W
March 18th, 2019

"Unfortunately, the playwright loses his way in Act III, piling on speeches filled with information we already have. He also becomes obscure, ultimately diminishing impact...Director Dana Taymor shows skill with both characterization and use of staging area...Special call-outs are due Claire Warden for intimacy and fight direction which are not just vivid but sizzle and to Tschabalala Self, whose doll designs are marvelous."
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T
March 5th, 2019

"It isn’t until the final 20 minutes that Harris weaves these threads into a cohesive whole and offers some clarity as to their meaning in a larger context...Plus all these incredibly impactful clashes are resolved too neatly and quickly...Taymor’s insightful, yet outsized direction turns this confusing melodrama into a grand opera...There’s plenty of splashing, singing, and embellishments but not enough meaty drama. Still, Harris has a vital voice and is a talent to watch."
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Towleroad
March 5th, 2019

"Ultimately the play quite literally cannot be contained. Though 'Daddy' is invigorating, provocative, and often wildly entertaining, audiences may be forgiven for eventually feeling lost, overwhelmed, and a vague urge to call out for their own to take them home to bed. The play, which Harris subtitles 'a melodrama,' spills over in nearly every sense."
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Off Off Online
March 7th, 2019

"Harris’s interests encompass homophobia, ageism, materialism, parental strife, fundamentalist Christianity, and the philosophy of art...The actors do a fine job, and Danya Taymor directs briskly, injecting some humor...Harris is no slouch at satire either...One may still not be sure whether Harris’s ambitious plot has any universal relevance, or is merely a confounding portrait of a society floundering without values."
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T
March 5th, 2019

"A monumental work of bold genius, a searing, audacious investigation into the creation and ownership of both art and people, constructed around the sins of the father...The pool is more than a cool part of the set; it also serves as a baptismal font, making us all believe in the power of art and theater...Even though the ending is muddy, 'Daddy' is an extraordinary piece of storytelling, a masterful work of art that demands to be seen."
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scribicide
March 22nd, 2019

"For Harris, intimacy and menace are never far apart, and in only a few short months, it has become patently clear that he is one of the most exciting and challenging new playwrights on the New York stage."
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Newsday
March 5th, 2019

"There are times when it’s best not to overthink a piece of theater. That's surely the case with 'Daddy,' the provocatively brilliant, or perhaps brilliantly provocative, new play...Thoughts come at you like a meteor shower in this melodrama as it delves into so many issues it’s tough to summarize...Director Danya Taymor simply lets her impeccable cast roll with it, but then there's not much else to do with a playwright like Harris."
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W
March 9th, 2019

"Like 'Slave Play,' 'Daddy' uses surprising stage imagery to explore intellectual arguments about race and class, but here they're not as pointed and the play isn't structured as tightly. (It's a meandering three hours.) And the subject is just not as explosive...These fascinating pieces, with their jagged edges and radiant light, never quite end up as a full picture. It's like a mosaic that has yet to be fitted together...'Daddy' is imaginative and interesting — it's just that Harris has better in him."
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Medium
March 5th, 2019

"The writing, acting, direction, design, and music are all flawless and combined they create a work that is nothing short of a masterpiece: in short, 'Daddy' is the greatest play of the decade...'Daddy' is a theatrical achievement of the highest degree; a bold, experimental, political, and important work of theater that will not soon be forgotten...You will leave deeply moved and it will teach you a great deal not only about race and relationships, but about theater as an art form."
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I
March 6th, 2019

“The play is ambitious and often times frustrating...But one thing’s for certain, ‘Daddy’ demands your attention through its gutsy and fearless theatricality...Taymor keenly understands the play’s oft-surreal nature, which she handles skillfully in her staging. The cast is led by Peet as Franklin in a bold, emotionally exposed performance that’s an indisputably brave piece of acting...Cumming is compelling, giving a performance that’s both charming and menacing.”
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Philadelphia Inquirer
March 6th, 2019

"The key to this idea-crammed, emotion-stuffed play lies in its title...'Daddy' is both intriguing and heartbreaking...If 'Daddy' is a little excessive, it is a youthful, passionate flaw...This is a play about art and race and sex and religion and wealth. Mostly it’s a play about family, and director Danya Taymor gives us three families of three in a fine final tableau."
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The Theatre Times
March 9th, 2019

"Thoughtfully outrageous...Harris is a masterful provocateur...hilarious, exciting, and seriously discomfiting...Nine parts sass and social satire to one part psychological realism. As a white, middle-aged, educated viewer, I’m positioned to see its virtues, if only because I can follow its flurry of cheeky-smart references...Seems to run out of breath in its final act...This psychodrama quickly grows long-winded and schematic...Nevertheless, I’m still dazzled by the panache and vision."
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