It's not easy to be a dad on Broadway. Alexander Hamilton loses his son to a duel, the parents of School of Rock are extorted by a washed-up rock-and-roller, and Kinky Boots' Mr. Price has to posthumously watch Charlie nearly drive his shoe factory to the ground. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it — and this past season saw a particularly upstanding collection of dads grace Broadway stages across the City. If your dad is anything like these guys, be sure to wish him an especially happy Father's Day.
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Lorenzo — A Bronx Tale — The Musical
In A Bronx Tale, protagonist Calogero is torn between two father figures: his actual dad, Lorenzo, and his mentor, mob boss Sonny. Calogero's choice between his honest, upstanding pop, and his violent, angry figurative father is the crux of this Alan Menken-Chazz Palminteri-Glenn Slater musical. But it's Lorenzo as the dad we wish we have in our lives to give us advice. His big song, "Look to Your Heart," is a beautiful reminder to all of us that we should do the right thing no matter what.
Horace Giddens – The Little Foxes
The Little Foxes' Horace Giddens is imperfect both as a man and as a father. But as a member of the contemptible Hubbard family at the center of Lillian Hellman's 1939 play, he comes off as almost saintly. Though Horace is absent for most of the play, by the time the this tale of naked, grasping ambition reaches its climax, the humble banker proves that he's willing to go to great lengths to protect his daughter Alexandra (the work's only other likable character). Even with death knocking at the proverbial door, Horace manages to outscheme his conniving wife Regina. And while, sure, he probably concocts his master plot partially because he wants to stick it to Regina just once before shuffling off his mortal coil, he also manages to save Alexandra from a future married to a deplorable cousin.
Larry Murphy – Dear Evan Hansen
In Dear Evan Hansen, Larry Murphy grapples with a father's worst nightmare, the loss of a child. As he struggles to understand the circumstances surrounding the death of his only son, he meets Evan Hansen, an anxiety-ridden teenager struggling to connect with others. In Mr. Murphy, Evan finds a caring father figure who teaches him, among other things, "To Break In a Glove" — and as they use each other to fill the voids left by their own families, Larry Murphy transitions from a cold and distant father to a compassionate and supportive paternal stand-in.
Chris – Miss Saigon
Chris's situation is a hard one to assess, considering he was absent for the first three years of his son's life. However, he was abruptly evacuated from Saigon and forced to leave his wife behind in the war-torn country, so we can only assume that being an absentee father was not the plan. Once he is told of his son Tam's existence, however, he hops a plane to Bangkok to assume his parental duties — a choice that makes for a pretty awkward conversation with his new wife, Ellen, and an even more awkward reunion with his first wife, Kim. It's an awful set of circumstances all around, and for facing them head-on, Chris earns a spot on our list of shout-outs to Broadway dads.
Grandpa Joe — Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
With his actual father deceased, young Charlie Bucket, the protagonist of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, has only one man to look up to in his life: his Grandpa Joe. Grandpa Joe is a Don Quixote-esque figure, one who not only delights in telling tales of his days as an adventurer, but also cares very deeply about his lonely grandson. When Charlie's dream of winning a Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory comes true, it's Grandpa Joe who accompanies him and gets to share in the magic and mayhem. Their relationship is at the core of this new Broadway musical, and it's one that warms the hearts of everyone in the audience.
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- Miss Saigon
- Father's Day
- The Little Foxes
- Dear Evan Hansen
- A Bronx Tale
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