Saturday, November 7, 2015

Dada Woof Papa Hot ***

Yet another play about life among the white and wealthy gay residents of Manhattan? That was my first reaction upon learning about Peter Parnell’s unfortunately titled new play at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. My lack of enthusiasm was misplaced. The play examines interesting questions of what has been gained and what has been lost with the arrival of gay marriage and gay parenthood. At the play’s center are two sets of gay fathers — Alan (John Benjamin Hickey) and Rob (Patrick Breen), the former a writer, the latter a psychotherapist, both in their forties — and a younger couple they meet at a gay parents’ group — staid financier Scott (Stephen Plunkett) and studly painter Jason (Alex Hurt). We also meet a straight couple —Alan’s best friend Michael (John Pankow), whose latest show on Broadway has just flopped, and his wife Serena (Kellie Overbey) — and Julia (Tammy Blanchard), an actress they both know. We follow them over the course of a year as they navigate pitfalls of parenthood and marriage, some common to all marriages and others unique to gay couples. 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. Running time: one hour, 40 minutes; no intermission. NOTE: there is brief male frontal nudity, almost a requirement these days.

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