After creating heaven and earth, God is now appearing, in the form of Sean Hayes, at the Ahmanson Theatre. An Act of God, which opened in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Feb. 10, is an irreverent retelling of the Godspels (sic) with an updated 10 commandments thrown in. While the show feels more like a stand-up routine, it does offer a divinely funny evening full of timely jokes, thought-provoking comments and puns (“do not engage in Godsip,” “it’s time to say Godbye”).
David Javerbaum wrote the show based on his tweets and book, The Last Testament: A Memoir By God. Prior to writing for the Almighty, Javerbaum wrote for Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert. Translation, he writes funny material.
A hit on Broadway,An Act of God has been tweaked a little for its L.A. debut with more show business and presidential election jokes (he apologizes for Trump). Hayes is white-robe clad God and delivers what is largely a monologue broken with some interaction with his two “Wingmen,” the angels Gabriel and Michael.
The dialog is structured around a revised version of the Ten Commandments unveiled on a Family Feud-type board. Although he acknowledges, “I’ve grown weary of the 10 commandments in a way Don McLean is tired of American Pie. It’s my one work that everyone quotes. The other really good stuff only hard-core fans know.”
Some of the commandments are retained. Like “thou shalt not take my name in vain.” He explains why – “I’m an established brand.” The sarcasm continues, “Kanye, next time you win a Grammy and you thank me for your God-given talents, they’re gonna get God-taken.”
Other commandments are new, like number 7, “Thou shalt not tell me what to do.” He goes on to explain that he is tired of people telling him what or who to bless. “My favorite word is Amen because I know you are done asking me for stupid shit.”
Another says “Thou shalt not tell others whom to fornicate.” To elaborate, God tells the story of the Garden of Eden and the first couple – Adam and Steve. After they ate the apple, he made Steve into Eve. He contradicts those who believe he does not like gays. “Gay, straight, bisexual, transgender; thou art all equally smitable in my eyes,” he points out.
The show rests of Hayes’ charm, evoking memories of his Will and Grace sitcom character, Jack McFarland. He delivers the witty lines with great timing and the audience hanging on every funny word.
Angel Gabriel (James Gleason) mainly read the pertinent Bible verses while God adding the color commentary. Michael (David Josefsberg), on the other hand, relays audience questions for God. A couple of times, he goes rogue and demands that God answer the tough questions: Where were you in the Holocaust, 9/11 and when they greenlit the last five Adam Sandler movies?”
The irreverent Act of God will be in Los Angeles through March 13, and then moves to San Francisco starting March 29. The show has no intermission and is 90 minutes of laughs.
Written and Edited by Dyanne Weiss
Performance Feb. 10, 2016
Center Theatre Group: An Act of God
An Act of God website
New York Times: Our Father, Who Art on Broadway
Variety: Broadway Review; Jim Parsons in An Act of God
Photo of Sean Hayes and David Josefsberg by Jim Cox, courtesy of Center Theatre Group