By PK Greenfield
How could the national and international investigation of Saddam Hussein, Botulinum Toxin, Curveball, CIA Reports, Colin Powel and everything but Hans Blix culminate in a musical comedy? Well, creaters Marhshall Pailet, A.D. Penedo and the cast of Baghdaddy drop an absurd and comical stealth missile on the subject.
It begins with a rehab meeting for “How I created the Iraq War” members in the basement of a church — St. Luke’s Theatre on 46th Street — just a prayer and confession away from The Great White Way and Times Square.
The plot moves swiftly from support group to Frankfurt Airport, where a suspicious Iraqi scientist and defector proclaims that he is responsible for creating secret bio-weapons laboratories for the Hussein regime. Shift again to Langley, Virginia at CIA headquarters, where the ego-driven, former spies are struggling to deal with their fall from grace following the “fake dossier” news. When a fax arrives from Germany telling of this mysterious scientist, a race as quick as a gunshot begins to get the facts and into action, so they can redeem themselves in their careers and head back to the glorified days of self-important espionage. And humanity.
Anticipate a highly researched and chronological tale of the days that lead up to the Iraq war with a blast of universal humor, (that is unless you’re a little sensitive and from Deutschland.) There is a lot information thrust at the audience with an intelligent rapidity that would make most historians refer back to their Funk and Wagnalls — history always depends on who writes it. The show is often intense but highly comedic with slapstick, witty quips, familiar melodies and above all, cleaver direction as well as a very talented cast.
Kudos to: Brennan Caldwell, Jason Collins, Bob D’Haene, Brandon Espinoza, Joe Joseph, Claire Newman, Lorisa Oleynik and Ethan Slater. Their voices and harmonies resonate and shake the rafters of the church. A special shout out to Mr. Espinoza’s Bavarian Man-Child and his tassel swinging Furby in a strip club in Berlin (Furlin); along with Ms. Neuman, the duo gives a hilarious portrayal in the cartoonish Spy vs Spy vein of two state investigators.
Joe Joeseph croons with a velvet voice and convincingly smokey, seductive and mysterious portrial as Curveball. I also appreciated the performance and hand-spring flip over a table by the “Company Man”, Jason Collins. There are many innovative theatre tricks and gimmicks throughout the show that are brilliantly executed and worth the price of admission alone. This is real and raw theater in the round; Sage theater-goers will appreciate the in-depth research and pastiche while new audience members will revel in the hip-hop and snarky humor.
Note: Baghdaddy runs 2 hours and 20 minutes with a 10-minute intermission. This story could be edited down and clarified ein bisschen without losing its “Shock and Awe.”
A Musical Comedy by Marshall Pailet and A.D. Penedo.
Directed by Marshall Pailet
Musical Direction by Rona Siddiqui
Choreography by Misha Shields
Opens Monday, May 1, 2017, and will run through June 6, 2017
St. Luke’s Theatre is located at 308 West 46th Street, NY, NY.
Playing Schedule: Monday at 7 PM; Thursday at 7 PM; Saturday at 8 PM; Sunday at 7:30 PM
Tickets can be purchased by visiting telecharge.com
or by calling 212-239-6200.
For more information, please visit
Photos by Ambe Williams