Over the years, the word “family” has transformed into an expansive concept: A good number of today’s families do not resemble the quintessential nuclear family that dominated the landscape years ago. In its place is a modern family tree that is a little more complex with its own unique issues, as evident in one of the latest shows to hit the Broadway stage. “Oh Boy!,” a new Broadway play about a gay man’s unexpected new family, “give[s] audiences a glimpse into the life of this modern-day family,” explains director Olivier Letellier.
“Oh Boy!” examines societal notions of family, homophobia, and how a family handles life’s most challenging moments—abandonment, illness, and reunification of a displaced family—with sensitivity and levity as told through the lens of Balthazar Killchicken. He’s a handsome, gay, 26-year-old irresponsible party boy who barely has enough money to take care of himself, and has yet to put his childish ways behind him. One day Killchicken receives a mysterious summons from the Office of Guardianship Services. Upon arriving at Family Court, Killchicken immediately learns that he has three orphaned siblings: a half-brother and two half-sisters; they were all abandoned by the same father. To his surprise, the judge appoints him their legal guardian.
Now, charged with the task of raising his brother and two sisters, ages 5 to 14—one of whom has cancer—Killchicken grapples with being a responsible legal guardian to his siblings and the urge to continue his partying lifestyle. What will he do? He’s their only hope of staying together!
This heartwarming story is based on a French novel by Marie-Aude Murail with the same name, and was published in 2000. Since its debut, “Oh Boy!” has won many literary prizes, and was adapted for television in 2008. One year later it was adapted for the stage by Letellier’s Paris-based theater company. After earning France’s highest theater honor and entertaining audiences with over 650 shows, “Oh Boy!” was translated into English by Nicholas Elliot and is premiering in New York City this winter.
“We chose to highlight the beautiful, tender relationship between these siblings that is palpable on every page of the book, as well as the sharp humor surrounding the situations and characters, particularly Balthazar. Despite the heavy challenges he faces, he maintains his extremely positive and joyful outlook,” says Letellier.
“Oh Boy!” will premiere with ten performances from January 6-15 at The New Victory Theater at The Duke located at 229 West 42nd Street. “Oh Boy!” is recommended for ages 10 and up. For more information, visit the website newvictory.org.