Sean Hayes, who played sidekick Jack in TV’s “Will & Grace,” is the ultimate top banana on stage in “An Act of God.”
Hayes has the title role in the West Coast production of the play, a cheeky take on the Almighty and what he really thinks of his imperfect human charges.
“It’s smart, funny, poignant,” Hayes said of the play by David Javerbaum, the former head writer for “The Daily Show” who adapted it from his book, “The Last Testament: A Memoir by God.”
Hayes also said yes to the part because it tested him, as did his 2010-11 Broadway role in the musical “Promises, Promises.”
“I enjoy great challenges, because it’s too easy to not challenge yourself. It’s too easy to just sit on the couch,” said Hayes, who’s also a busy producer (“Must See TV: An All-Star Tribute to James Burrows,” which honors the director and airs Sunday on NBC, is among his projects).
“An Act of God” is essentially a one-man show that puts the critically praised Hayes center stage for 90 minutes, with occasional support from a pair of angels.
“The memorization, the interpretation, the freshness that you have to discover every night to do it” are demanding, Hayes said, adding, “and I love it.”
He endorses the approach of “An Act of God,” which played on Broadway in 2015 with Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory.”
“Any time you can provoke thought or curiosity from exploring certain aspects of religion, especially in a comical way, it’s very needed and entertaining and rewarding,” Hayes said.
He was raised Catholic, he said, “but I’m currently not.”
Does he believe in God?
“I believe in people and the goodness of people,” he replied. He also believes people can have faith outside of organized religion.
“Absolutely,” he said. “There’s a wonderful message, a positive, uplifting message in the play that you will leave the theater with.”
“An Act of God,” which is playing at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles through March 13, moves to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theatre on March 29.