THE MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT, by Stephen Adly Guirgis and starring Bobby Cannavale, Chris Rock, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Annabella Sciorra and Yul Vázquez, opens tonight at the Gerald Schoenfeld Thetare (236 West 45th Street, New York City). Directed by Anna D. Shapiro, the limited engagement will play 15 weeks.
THE MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT is produced on Broadway by Scott Rudin, Stuart Thompson, Public Theater Productions, LAByrinth Theater Company, Fabula Media Partners LLC, Jean Doumanian, Ruth Hendel, Carl Moellenberg, Jon B. Platt, Tulchin Bartner/Jamie deRoy.
THE MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT is a new high-octane, verbal cage match about love, fidelity, and misplaced haberdashery from playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis. Jackie and Veronica have been in love since the 8th grade. But now, Jackie is on parole and living clean and sober under the guidance of his sponsor, Ralph D, while still living and loving with his volatile soul mate Veronica who is fiercely loving, but far from sober. Still, their love is pure. And true. Nothing can come between them - except a hat. Did the show earn critics' tip of the hat? Find out now!
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: This is by far the most accomplished and affecting work from the gifted Mr. Guirgis, a prolific and erratic chronicler of marginal lives ("Jesus Hopped the ‘A' Train," "Our Lady of 121st Street")...The characters portrayed by a marvelous, intensely focused five-member ensemble - including the stand-up comic Chris Rock, in a solid Broadway debut, and a blazingly good Bobby Cannavale - are always striving for a mot juste to explain their less than clear-cut feelings. That Jackie's emotions, like those of everyone in "Hat," are a muddle doesn't mean that they don't burn clear, or bright enough to scorch.
Elysa Gardner, USA Today: Rock proves both a bold and canny choice for Ralph, a less sympathetic figure. More likable and less palpably ego-driven than many comedians of his generation, Rock doesn't exude the kind of crass narcissism that the sponsor eventually reveals...By not putting characters or their dilemmas in neat boxes, Guirgis gives us, in Hat, a slice of hard life that's as provocative as it is absorbing.
Marilyn Staso, Variety: Although Broadway proves too much of a stretch for Rock, if this multihyphenate talent is really serious about stage acting, there are some savvy thesps in this show who could show him the ropes. Bobby Cannavale and Elizabeth Rodriguez come out swinging -- and swearing a blistering blue streak -- as Jackie and Veronica, longtime lovers who are hooked on all kinds of evil substances and bad behaviors, but mostly on one another.
Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal: Mr. Rock has never acted in a stage play, and his inexperience shows-he's a bit stiff at times-but you can see that he's well on his way to getting where he wants to go. His colleagues are stunningly good, especially Mr. Cannavale, who has the biggest part and makes the most of it...Don't let the stupid title put you off. If you do, you'll miss one of the best new plays to come to Broadway in ages.