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BWW Review: Gay Married Parents Deal With Acceptance In DADA WOOF PAPA HOT

Peter Parnell's DADA WOOF PAPA HOT is one of those plays that looks made for Lincoln Center, or, more specifically, for Manhattan Upper West Siders.

Patrick Breen and John Benjamin Hickey
(Photo: Joan Marcus)

It's full of educated people, casually cultured and abundantly clever, who have comfortably coupled and live lives full of cozy, exclusive restaurants and modern, stylish apartments.

It also has a neat little twist to it. Although nobody's pretending that gay rights are a completely done deal in America, DADA WOOF PAPA HOT, named for a child's first words, is about the first generation of American gay couples who are getting married and having babies in a world that more and more accepts that as a norm.

The play is more of a petri dish with the audience observing behaviors for the evening's one act. Rob (Patrick Breen) and Alan (John Benjamin Hickey) have been together for 18 years and married for three. They have a three-year old daughter who is biologically Rob's and Alan is jealous of the closer relationship they share.

The first scene has them out for dinner with a younger couple, Scott (Stephen Plunkett) and Jason (Alex Hurt) who they met at a group for gay dads. The sight of two attractive, intelligent couples at a fine restaurant sharing baby photos and arranging playdates is not one audiences are used to seeing played out by four men.

Alex Hurt, John Benjamin Hickey, Stephen Plunkett
and Patrick Breen (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Straight couple Serena (Kellie Overbey) and Michael (John Pankow) also married with kids, act as a kind of control group used for comparison.

As the play stretches throughout a year, Alan becomes concerned about how parenthood has had an adverse effect on his sex life, something he's been accustomed to using as an identifying factor throughout his life.

"I just don't feel gay anymore. Not in the way I used to feel," the frustrated Alan exclaims when he realizes his life is pretty much the same as that of straight people.

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.

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From This Author Michael Dale