Jim Parsons, who ordinarily plays physicist and atheist Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, plays God in the Broadway play, An Act of God. The irony is not lost on Jim Parsons, who, in the role of God, declares that he appeared “as a burning bush,” in the desert, while on Broadway, he says in the play that he appears “as Sheldon Cooper.” He adds, quipping, “Know thy audience.”
An Act of God, starring Jim Parsons in the title role wearing white robes and orange sneakers, is currently playing at Studio 54, where it opened on Thursday night. The play was written by 13-time Emmy Award winner Daily Show writer, David Javerbaum, who adapted his 2011 book, The Last Testament: A Memoir, into the play, An Act of God, specifically for Jim Parsons to play God.
The premise of the comedy is, of course, that God has taken the shape of actor Jim Parsons in order for audiences of today to identify with him better and not be overwhelmed by his majestic grandeur. In the 90-minute-long play, God has a lot to tell people about topics ranging from the Ten Commandments, which he says he has “grown weary of,” and he espouses about what he will do to the next actor, sports figure, or singer who uses his name in vain in a congratulatory speech.
For instance, calling Kanye West out, Parsons delivers a humorous line about what will happen to the musical artist when he thanks God for his “God-given talents,” in his next acceptance speech for some award or other. Parsons says that West’s talents will get “God-taken, understand?”
Speaking of the Ten Commandments, Parsons, as God, states that he never meant for the list of laws to “define” him, and “to be the one work of Mine everyone quotes and debates and interprets.” He reminds his audience that he has written many other laws, and he states in An Act of God “I’m not some one-list wonder.”
Jim Parsons mentions in An Act of God a few other new Commandments that he would like people to follow, like “Thou shalt not tell others whom to fornicate.” That leads Parsons into a re-telling of the story of Genesis from the Bible, one in which he relates what the true version of Adam and Eve was before it got altered over time. He declares that the first two humans he created were actually Adam and Steve, not Eve, and mentions that a snake caused the end of that relationship.
Two of the other new Commandments that Jim Parsons mentions in An Act of God are “Thou shalt separate Me and State,” and “Thou shalt not kill in my name.” Those are two Commandments that many people in today’s world would gladly support.
Though Jim Parsons is clearly the main star of An Act of God, it is not a one-man play. He is joined onstage by two archangels who are in on the jokes but serve primarily as the “straight men,” Gabriel, played by Tim Kazurinsky, and Michael, played by Christopher Fitzgerald. Michael goes around the audience, acting as if he is taking their questions, though in reality, the questions he relays to Parsons have all been scripted out beforehand. The play is directed by Joe Mantello, who was in the movie The Normal Heart as Michael R. “Mickey” Marcus with Jim Parsons, who plays Tommy Boatwright.
Does Jim Parsons pull off playing The Supreme Diety, God? As he tells the audience early in the play, An Act of God, speaking about why he chose the form of Sheldon Cooper, “My depthless profundities will be aided by his offbeat charm.” For the audiences who are packing into Studio 54 to see An Act of God, probably largely composed of fans of Jim Parsons and The Big Bang Theory, people who recognize the actor’s “offbeat charm,” the answer would have to be “Yes, Jim Parsons is (chose one) Heavenly/Divine in the role of God.” He will be starring as God in an Act of God until August 2.
Written By Douglas Cobb
Toronto Star: Jim Parsons divine in An Act of God on Broadway
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Hollywood Reporter: ‘An Act of God’: Theater Review
Photo Courtesy of Melody JSandoval’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License 2.0
Photo Courtesy of vagueonthehow’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons license 2.0