Dan Via has taken a bold step in playwriting by writing a sensitive and hilarious play about adult Gay men which isn't insulting to the intelligence of his audience. His characters live and breathe as real people, rather than the tired stereotypes so often seen in today's plays-with-homosexual-themes.
In Daddy, devil-may-care Colin (Gerald McCullouch) and staid Stew (Dan Via) have been friends since college, and are perhaps a bit too close for two men who aren't lovers, spending most of their free time together (Stew even has an apartment just down the hall from Colin's). Colin is a semi-famous liberal columnist for the paper in Pittsburgh, and Stew is a professor at nearby Carnegie-Mellon University. When, out at a bar one night, a handsome Black college student named Tee (Bjorn DuPaty) comes up to inform Colin that he's his hero and he'd like to get to know him, as Tee is about to begin interning at the paper where Colin works, a strange affair begins. Colin, used to playing the field, begins to seriously fall for the giving young man, who greatly enjoys the avuncular attention. Meanwhile, Stew denies his own jealousy over Tee and Colin's relationship, while considering an impressive job at Stanford which would take him out of Colin's orbit once and for all. Along the way there's a bit of philosophy about responsibility and appropriate affection, which never becomes preachy. It's a credit to Via's writing that even when the plot later veers close to Greek tragedy, it remains buoyant and realistic.
The cast is superb- Gerald McCullouch is incredibly moving and hilarious as Colin. His transformation from licentious playboy to affectionate patriarch is a joy to see, and as the heart of the piece he's heartbreakingly believable and nuanced (and quite sexy). Playwright Via is great as the restrained Stew, garnering most of the night's laughs with his dry observations. DuPaty has a subtle touch, letting us catch glimpses of Tee's hidden depths without overplaying.
David Hilder's direction is clear and unpretentious. There are a few too many scene changes, which, while short as possible (accomplished with Rockette precision by Jason Healy and Jeff Johnson) still become tedious after a while.
This is an excellent play, and deserves more life.
By Dan Via
Presented by DownTownTheatre Company
Daddy runs from January 28 - February 13, 2010 in a limited engagement at TBG Arts Center Mainstage Theatre, located at 312 West 36th Street on the 3rd Floor, between 8th & 9th Avenues in NYC. Previews begin January 28 for a January 31 opening. Performances are Wednesdays-Mondays at 8pm. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased online at http://www.SmartTix.com or by calling 212-868-4444.
Photo Credit Eduardo Placer.
- Bjorn DuPaty as Tee and Gerald McCullouch as Colin
- Gerald McCullouch as Colin and Dan Via as Stew