Read Around Ohio: Barbeque / Bootycandy

Robert O’Hara


Robert O’Hara is one of Ohio’s most acclaimed and best-known contemporary playwrights. This book includes the plays Barbecue and Bootycandy.

Barbeque (2015), which Hilton Als praised as his “idea of an American classic,” is a satire contrasting two dysfunctional families—one white, one Black, and both named the O’Mallerys—staging an intervention at a barbecue in “Middle America.”

Bootycandy (2011)a romp on race and sexuality, also seemingly takes place in Middle America. The New York Times praised the play as a “searing and sensationally funny comedy about the sometimes poisonous attitude toward homosexuality in black culture.”

Describing his childhood in Cincinnati for The Buckeye Flame, O’Hara said, “[O]f course it was traumatizing being a black gay kid and not really knowing you were a black gay kid in Cincinnati” but also that “a lot of my work harkens back to the things I would do as a kid […] making up plays and songs with my family members.” 

If you enjoyed Barbeque / Bootycandy, we suggest these Ohio side trips: