From The Winner's Circle: GOOD NIGHT, OSCAR Star Sean Hayes Celebrates His Tony Win In The Press Room

Sean Hayes has won the 2023 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for GOOD NIGHT, OSCAR.

By: Jun. 11, 2023
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From The Winner's Circle: GOOD NIGHT, OSCAR Star Sean Hayes Celebrates His Tony Win In The Press Room
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Sean Hayes has won the 2023 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for GOOD NIGHT, OSCAR. Hear what he had to say about his win in his visit to the press room!

On the play's long road to the stage, Sean said, "It's such a long journey, around 23 years to get this play to fruition. It took about the same amount of time and 2000 people to build the great pyramids. It has been a journey but it has been very, very rewarding. I am so honored to portray one of my heroes."

Sean also revealed his process in staying true to Levant's character and the nuances of portraying mental illness.

He said, "I fortunately and unfortunately share some of the characteristics of Oscar Levant. I have a family tree of addiction and mental health issues. I suffer myself from extreme anxiety, and that's what Oscar had as well. So it was familiar to me, enought to tap into the part of myself that experiences that as well. As actors we try to find roles that challenge us but that we can still be truthful to, so it's not a mimic and it's not false and it's not inauthentic. So I try my best to truly feel it every single performance."

Hayes is widely known as the sarcastic and hilarious Jack McFarland on NBC's iconic sitcom "Will & Grace," which ran for eight years (1998-2006) and won an Emmy Award as best comedy in 2000. Hayes was raised in the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, Illinois. A talented musician, he supported himself as a classical pianist and performed in a pop band while attending Illinois State University, where he majored in performance and conducting. After his college experience, Hayes began working in the Chicago stage community, serving as the music director at the Pheasant Run Theater for a few years where he appeared in several of their productions.

After moving to Los Angeles, Hayes had gigs as a stand-up comic, performing at the Comedy Club, and starred in the television movie "A&P," based on the short story by John Updike. In 1998, Hayes received his big break and landed the role of Jack on "Will & Grace," for which he won an Emmy Award (and was nominated six times), four Screen Actors Guild Awards, two TV Guide Awards, an American Comedy Award and seven Golden Globe nominations. Hayes' other notable television projects include well-received guest roles on "Scrubs" and "30 Rock," as well as "Martin & Lewis," a television film that earned him a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his role as Jerry Lewis. Hayes appeared on multiple episodes of the NBC sitcom "Up All Night," in which he played a former colleague of Ava's (Maya Rudolph). He also made guest appearances on "Parks and Recreation," "Portlandia" and "Hot in Cleveland." In addition, he had an arc on "Smash" as a TV and film star making his Broadway debut.

Hayes made his Broadway debut in 2010 in the wildly successful "Promises, Promises," alongside Kristin Chenoweth. Based on Billy Wilder's Academy Award-winning film "The Apartment," starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, the play starred Hayes as Chuck Baxter, a young insurance employee who lends his apartment to his executives for their illicit affairs as a means for advancement within the company. In 2016, Hayes returned to Broadway as the title role in "An Act of God," for which he received glowing reviews. Previously, Hayes was seen on stage in the New York City Center production of "Damn Yankees," with Jane Krakowski and Cheyenne Jackson. In addition to receiving a Tony Award nomination for his role in "Promises, Promises," he also hosted the Tony's in 2011 to strong reviews. Hayes starred as Larry Fine in the movie "The Three Stooges," directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly, and was a voice actor in the box-office hit "Monsters University."

Hayes' additional film credits include "The Bucket List," opposite Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, "Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss," "Pieces of April," the voice of Mr. Fish in "The Cat in the Hat," "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton," "Igor," "Soul Men" and the voice of Mr. Tinkles in the box-office hit "Cats and Dogs." In 2003, Hayes and producing partner Todd Milliner formed Hazy Mills Productions. Their first project, "Situation: Comedy," a documentary television show in search of the next great sitcom, premiered on Bravo in the summer of 2005 and garnered wide critical praise. For six seasons, Hazy Mills produced TV Land's hit comedy "Hot in Cleveland," starring Betty White, Wendie Malick, Jane Leeves and Valerie Bertinelli. Hazy Mills produced NBC's long-running drama "Grimm," a dark yet fantastical cop drama that takes place in a world where Grimm's Fairy Tale-inspired characters exist, as well as the network's successful reality series "Hollywood Game Night." In 2017, Hayes played the role of Steven, the devil emoji in The Emoji Movie. He and his husband wrote a book named Plum, which is about how the sugar plum fairy got her wings. Hayes has always had an interest for the Nutcracker and memorized the whole musical piece. 

Good Night, Oscar is currently running at the Belasco Theatre. 

Anything can happen on live TV. And one night, it did. Sean Hayes stars as the irrepressible Oscar Levant. It’s 1958, and Jack Paar hosts the hottest late-night talk-show on television. His favorite guest? Character actor, pianist and wild card Oscar Levant. Good Night, Oscar explores the nexus of humor and heartbreak, the ever-dwindling distinction between exploitation and entertainment, and the high cost of baring one’s soul for public consumption.




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