'An Act of God' takes no prisoners, it is an irreverent, hysterical, and a provocative 90 minutes with a Queen
(not Cher) but the charming Sean Hayes.
GOD is here in San Francisco for the spring and is inhabiting Sean Hayes, in AN ACT OF GOD now on stage at SHN Golden Gate Theatre through April 17. Billed as "written by God" and "transcribed by" 13-time Emmy Award winner, David Javerbaum ( Cry-Baby on Broadway). Directed by Tony winner Joe Mantello, the 90-minute comedy features the Almighty and His devoted angels who answer some of the deepest questions that have plagued mankind since Creation. He’s finally arrived to set the record straight and does not hold back. Based on Javerbaum's book of the same title, GOD premiered on Broadway May 7 with Jim Parsons and concluded its limited engagement August. It was the first Broadway production of the 2015-16 season to recoup its investment. The former “Will & Grace” star replace Parsons, who played the Divine One in the one-man God show last summer on Broadway. The spirit works in crazy ways by embodying the Emmy winning Sean Hayes as “God”. It is a very funny evening of camp bible mix, bringing the word to keep San Francisco tenderloin in the notes “my essence is formless tonight, I have chosen to appear in form, specifically that of beloved star of stage and screen Sean Hayes.” Why Sean Hayes, you might ask? “First of all, we’re both with William Morris,” he notes one of the many centric references that have been added to the show since it debuted last summer on Broadway. But Javerbraum made room for countless San Francisco references to the Castro and Silicon Valley.
Hayes take on the divine role is with a gentle, smart cynicism that occasionally verges on camp, bouncing on his shtick center stage and mugging the sold out opening night crowd. His God can be a bit of a punk, queen, brat and a narcissist not unlike his character Jack from “Will & Grace.” Joe Mantello directed both New York and this tour and the script, by “Daily Show” alum Javerbaum. This is certainly amusing, with a nice proportion of punchline to laughs built on studied irreverence. This God lets us know that he watches us masturbate, and that “Adam” was a power bottom. Many bible quotes are mentioned “A man may not lay with another man” but can “lie” about it. And some very Daily Show style shtick “I loved making the dry land. Loved it. Forming the continents, sculpting the mountains, carving the canyons, stippling the archipelagos and shaping Florida into what even then I pretty much knew was going to be a penis.”
The premise is simple: God comes to San Francisco to offer a reboot of one of his master icons, the 10 Commandments; he says “I never meant it to define me.” During his monologue, he offers revisionist takes on everything from the Bible to evolution, to homosexuality to Steve Jobs. God says “Now I lay me down to sleep” bedtime prayer: “Even I consider it bizarre that the last words on children’s lips before they go to sleep would address the prospect of their own premature death. They are children. They should be asking Me for ponies.” Hayes is accompanied by two onstage angels, played by David Josefsberg and James Gleason, who keep the show moving as Josefsberg runs through the audience asking setup questions from confused volunteers. Javerbaum uses the late comers as shtick - making them enter on cue from the side doors and parade to their seats as God bullies them. Noteworthy is Scott Pask’s striking set that has an elegant opening move as the curtain is sucked through the time warp and Sean stumbles on stage. Costume design by Tony Award nominee David Zinn, the angel wings so ready for air. Hugh Vanstone’s lighting, changes colors as moods are in place, and it's brilliant, camp and the perfect set for a Cher entrance. The entire design gives it a huge scale to what might seem like a less modest show.
“AN ACT OF GOD” has been spiked since its run last summer with fresh references to El Nino traffic, Donald Trump and even a post-Iowa caucus Ted Cruz. and his “Universe 2.0” that’s comedy gold as he also picks on San Francisco topics, the Warriors and Giants and others. Javerbaum who owns the twitter name @TheTweetOfGod, that claims nearly 2 million Chosen Tweeters. Here The Almighty wishes to set us straight on certain facts regarding His ten commandment and a long-standing bible mystery: It seems there really are rim shots in heaven. “I made mankind in my image,” he says at one point, “and I am an asshole.” Sean Hayes is clearly a brilliant comic, an excellent word master, and an first rate good guy boy next door charm and the camp of a Cher impersonator with the perfect stage presence. The finish is that at the end of God's exit from the Golden Gate every person leaves with a smile and a true personal slam down with this God, having been touched by his humbleness and humor. God ends with a song and dance that tells us that we are on our own -- that we need to get our act together! And we find out that God can’t really sing, and that is for the best and we get that he is not perfect.
SHN has a true hit on their hands and a great way to start your summer. ACT OF GOD will make its way back to NY for a summer run with Hayes at the helm. If you whisk past SHN's current stop over of WICKED down the street, it's a must that you stop by the Golden Gate, so spend some time with the “Divine”. You can get great 40.00 rush seats for this run that go on sale two hours before show time, cash only.
SHN GOLDEN GATE THEATRE
AN ACT OF GOD
Written By God
Transcribed By Emmy Award® Winner David Javerbaum
Directed By Tony Award® Winner Joe Mantello
With SEAN HAYES
STRICTLY LIMITED THREE-WEEK ENGAGEMENT
Now Through – APRIL 17, 2016
SHN GOLDEN GATE THEATRE
Tickets at SHN https://www.shnsf.com
$40 RUSH TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR AN ACT OF GOD!
A limited number of $40 Rush tickets will be available for every performance beginning 2 hours prior to curtain at the SHN Golden Gate Theatre Box Office. Tickets are subject to availability. Cash only. 2 per person. Rush tickets are void if resold.
Photos by Jim Cox