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. More…
But when Franklin’s Christian mother decides that her son is in peril, she enters into a battle of wills with Andre over the soul of the man they both call baby. Basquiats and Birkins, gospel and pop, and fantasy and reality collide around a Bel Air swimming pool in this deeply surreal exploration of intimacy and identity.
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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. " Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
“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.” Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
"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. " Full Review
"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 bet... Full Review
"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." Full Review
See it if you enjoy melodrama, dialog that makes you think, art; plus Alan Cumming sings a cover of Father Figure and there is a swimming pool!
Don't see it if You are easily offended. Close minded. Or can't handle nudity.
See it if Damn, Daddy. It's overlong. There's too much dialogue. But to his credit- Harris is one of the few playwrights who understands fantasy.
Don't see it if Excellent acting, staging and writing. Smart and totally refreshing play.
See it if you like a very intense play with VERY sexual overtones, and heavy commentary on race, homosexuality and age.
Don't see it if you dislike lingering male nudity, and in-your-face sexual content.
See it if You want to walk out thinking you took acid, want to be very disturbed (in a good way), and not be entirely sure what you just saw. Great!
Don't see it if You don’t like gratuitous nudity, need a clear-cut story, are disturbed by family dramas, don’t like gay themes, or creep out easily.
See it if You're fine with a more vignettelike approach. This won't keep you invested the full running time but rather offer many themes along the way
Don't see it if You're looking for the straightforward punch that "Slave Play" had. This is graphic, sometimes meandering, sometimes over the top.
See it if Wow, talk about "daddy issues"! First off, incredible staging. The scenery was GORGE! Be mindful, if you sit in the first row, you may get
Don't see it if Wet and the balcony seats are REALLY "partial view"! Ugh! Anyway, I can't say enough about the set. The acting, especially the mother "Nora"
See it if you like experimental theater and have a full understanding of what you are getting into. It is a LOT to take in.
Don't see it if Full frontal male nudity, cursing or intense male on male sex bothers you; also, if you are in the first few rows, you WILL get wet.
See it if Struggle for the soul of a young black artist between his religious mother and his older art collector lover.Great set design , with ultra
Don't see it if You are expecting a musical comedy. This is a serious work, with prominent psychological overtones.
See it if Art needs to be seen (scene) from many angles. Alan Cumming (singing “Father Figure” from an on-stage pool, naked). Brave young artists.
Don't see it if Offended by nudity, sexuality, Blackness, and complicated art.
See it if Rich white collector becomes Daddy to young black artist. Much discussion of race and art beside "baptismal" pool onstage. Mother upends it
Don't see it if Harris's Slave Play was more incisive. Daddy treats too many issues. Simulated gay sex and some nudity. Peet, Cumming & Woodard are terrific
See it if Despite differences, young black artist & mature white collector have more than art on their minds.Mother chides son thecost of exploitation
Don't see it if The striking set and tank camouflage a simple melodrama of doomed opposites. Casual nudity. Ideas tossed about. Odd chorus. Pool splooshing.
Also Cumming and Mother Zora are terrific.
See it if Melodrama about art,love,sex,money,power,mother love,with classical music and gospel choir .never boring .Looking forward 2 new Harris plays
Don't see it if Would be offended by full frontal nudity a /gay sex
See it if You want to see a play almost operatic in its dipiction of money, fame, race, and family.
Don't see it if A long play that dips it’s too into a lot of themes isn’t your idea of fun.
See it if You want to see Alan Cumming and Charlayne Woodard at the top of their game. Interesting premise, phenomenal staging.
Don't see it if You don't want a long play with two intermissions. You need everything to make sense or a story that is rooted firmly in reality.
See it if you like thought provoking theater about interracial gay relationships that's some times funny and sad. First 2 acts great. Act 3 bad.
Don't see it if if you're not comfortable with the subject matter and/or if nudity offends you.
See it if you want to see Alan Cumming in an intense & surreal play that leaves you needing to think and digest. Some great performances.
Don't see it if you don't like to see full male nudity, simulated sexual intimacy, gay and racial themes, you don't like surrealism, if 2:45 is too long.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies