Technically speaking, Mr. Hayes is not portraying God. In his boundless mystery, God has chosen to come before us in the guise of Mr. Hayes. "For lo, I have endowed him with a winning, likable personality and know of a certainty that your apprehension of my depthless profundities will by aided by his offbeat charm," as God-in-the-person-of-Mr.-Hayes says. God later adds, "He has no idea he's here." The Almighty is not wrong about Mr. Hayes's appeal. (How could an all-knowing being be wrong?) Just as Mr. Parsons made for an endearingly cuddly deity, so does Mr. Hayes. He almost looks like a grown-up cherub - albeit one who's been on the Atkins Diet - and he channels the same fresh-faced boyishness and impish zest that made the character Jack a constantscene-stealer on "Will and Grace."
AN ACT OF GOD Broadway Reviews
Reviews of An Act of God on Broadway. See what all the critics had to say and see all the ratings for An Act of God including the New York Times and More...
Broadway's faithful didn't have to wait long before the second coming of David Javerbaum's cute and charming comedy, An Act of God. In the beginning (last May) Jim Parsons premiered the nightclubby diversion at Studio 54. Now Sean Hayes stars in a limited run at the Booth, described by his character as "the only theatre named for the brother of a man who assassinated a President in a different theatre."
Hayes, who kept us in stitches as flighty pal Jack McFarland on NBC's "Will & Grace," may not be "infinity" years old," as the script -- based on a Twitter feed by former "Daily Show" honcho David Javerbaum -- allows. But he isn't the young kid we remember from a TV sitcom, either. A touch of gray has crept into Hayes' hair. Forehead lines are visible when he furrows his brow. I'd normally stay clear of comment on a performer's physical traits, but there's a gravitas evident that's a help, here. Y'know. If you're gonna play God and all. (Hayes previously earned hallelujahs on Broadway for "Promises, Promises," in 2010.)
I could say that the return engagement of An Act of God, now with Sean Hayes, is a revelation, a miraculous epiphany or similar "religious" experience. Truth to tell, I was already a believer. I thoroughly enjoyed David Javerbaum's theological satire last summer when it starred Jim Parsons, and I could watch Hayes's bratty-campy shtick all night. So what if Hayes and his helpful angels Gabriel and Michael (James Gleason, David Josefsberg) are preaching to the choir? Preach out, Sean!
What if God was one of us? Occasionally characters say something so right that you can't help but nod in complete agreement. The line's so in sync with what's inside your head that you're convinced your brain's been plugged into a la "The Matrix."
Last summer, when he took to the Broadway stage in "An Act of God" to give the lowdown on what He's about, and how He regards humanity, which is not too highly, He appeared in the guise of Jim Parsons, of the sitcom "The Big Bang Theory." For this year's return engagement, which opened Monday night at the Booth Theatre, He's decided to come as Sean Hayes, who used to be featured on "Will & Grace." ("He doesn't excel at [anything]," the Lord explains, "but in the end, we find ourselves rooting for him, don't we?") The mostly very funny 90-minute evening, in which God is assisted by two angels, or, as he calls them, wingmen (David Josefsberg and James Gleason), is an opportunity to hear first-hand about such big moments as the Great Flood, the delivery of the Ten Commandments and, of course, at the beginning, the Creation. ("On day two, I put a firmament in the midst of the waters. Yes. That was it. Slow day, day two. I probably underscheduled.")
A one-joke sketch dragged out to, er, ungodly lengths, "An Act of God" feels like little more than a cash grab designed to prey on tourists drawn to its well-known star and cutesy premise. (I didn't see the Jim Parsons version, so this was my first encounter with the material.) Written by former "Daily Show" writer andMaplewood native David Javerbaum (or "transcribed" by him, since the show purports to be the word of God) and directed by Joe Mantello ("The Humans," "Blackbird"), the play features Hayes in a white flowing robe, accompanied by two angels (James Gleason and David Josefsberg), riffing on assorted topics such as religious piety and creationism versus science ("I invested more time and energy into falsifying an airtight case for evolution over Creation, than I did Creation itself," God insists).
The show has been updated to include a few new zingers. For instance, God announces that he knows full well that the crowd is only there because they couldn't get tickets to "Hamilton." In fact, God can't snag a ticket, either. Even at just 90 minutes, "An Act of God" (directed by the prolific Joe Mantello) is long-winded and full of unoriginal jabs at easy targets, but it is cute and occasionally witty . Hayes, who appeared on Broadway six years ago in the musical "Promises, Promises" and is best remembered as the flamboyant Jack on "Will and Grace," has terrific stage presence and makes for a giddy, loosened-up and irreverent host.