Review Roundup: Critics Stop By The World Premiere of DADDY
The New Group and Vineyard Theatre proudly present Jeremy O. Harris' "Daddy," with Alan Cumming, Tommy Dorfman, Fran Jaye, Kahyun Kim, Hari Nef, Ronald Peet and Charlayne Woodard, in a world premiere production directed by Danya Taymor opening tonight.
In Jeremy O. Harris' searing new play "Daddy," Franklin (Ronald Peet), a young black artist on the verge of his first show, meets Andre (Alan Cumming), an older white art collector, and before long their feverish link deepens into an irresistible bond. But when Franklin's Christian mother Zora (Charlayne Woodard) 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. Danya Taymor (Pass Over) directs this wildly theatrical and dangerous world-premiere co-production from The New Group and Vineyard Theatre.
This production features Alan Cumming(Andre), Tommy Dorfman (Max), Fran Jaye(Gospel Choir), Kahyun Kim (Bellamy), Hari Nef (Alessia), Ronald Peet (Franklin) and Charlayne Woodard (Zora). Scenic Design is by Matt Saunders. Costume Design is by Montana Levi Blanco. Lighting Design is by Isabella Byrd. Sound Design is by Lee Kinney. Casting is by Judy Henderson, CSA. Production Stage Manager is Valerie A. Peterson.
See reviews of the show below!
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: In an earlier version, "'Daddy'" was the script that got Mr. Harris into the Yale School of Drama, and it feels like the work of an untested artist, especially compared with the flamboyantly assured "Slave Play." Though confrontational from its beginning - in which a white man and a black woman enacted the rape of a plantation worker in what turned out to be a sex workshop - "Slave Play" also operated by stealth, concluding with an inspired and emotional sucker punch.
Robert Hofler, TheWrap: 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. In the last year alone, she directed Antoinette Nwandau's "Pass Over" and Martyna Majok's "Queens."
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter: The play is subtitled "A Melodrama," and if only. Melodrama implies some sort of dramatic action, albeit frequently of the over-the-top variety. But even with its nearly three-hour running time, this lugubrious drama barely manages to work up a sweat, and that's taking into account the copious amounts of full-frontal male nudity. If you ever wondered whether Alan Cumming was circumcised, this is the show for you.
Melissa Bernardo, New York Stage Review: Possession-of fine art, designer accessories, and, most important, people-is at the core of "Daddy," Jeremy O. Harris' wildly ambitious, sometimes confounding, and wholly engrossing new drama now making a splash (literally) in a Vineyard Theatre-New Group coproduction at off-Broadway's Signature Center.
Michael Sommers, New York Stage Review: Reportedly, "Daddy" was written several years ago and helped Harris get into Yale. After watching this play talk on and on for nearly three hours with numbing results, one can only hope that his instructors there will be able to convince this talented, but terribly long-winded, writer that less often really does mean more.