Sean Hayes: Heavenly & Hilarious

He’s back on stage in his most divine role yet and telling us all about it

Many of the most memorable characters on screen actually have a stage background, and that is no different for funny man Sean Hayes. The Chicagoan Emmy Award-winning actor, comedian and producer is enjoying a solo run in the one-man show An Act of God, created by former The Daily Show with Jon Stewart head writer David Javerbaum and directed by Broadway veteran Joe Mantello.

Bringing the laughs for eight seasons on the culture-shifting NBC sitcom Will & Grace as part of an ensemble cast, Hayes broke through to the masses, garnering seven consecutive Emmy nominations with one win, and four SAG Awards for his character Jack McFarland. Since then, he has gone on to guest star in Scrubs and 30 Rock and has lent his voice for many Hollywood films.

Hayes has starred on Broadway in Damn Yankees as well as Promises, Promises and for his Broadway return in An Act of God, he plays God…yes God (originally played by Jim Parsons in 2015). Sean graced our presence with a one-of-a-kind chat on one of his most daring roles, he told us some other funny people currently making him laugh in the comedy world and shared why theater in New York is such a pleasure to return to.

James Gleason, Sean Hayes, David Josefsberg Rapture; Photo by Jim CoxWhat’s the most challenging aspect of starring in a one-man show on Broadway?

Hoping people aren’t expecting a one-woman show. Also, my voice—making sure I’m doing my best to stay in the best health possible to sustain the physical and emotional stamina
it takes to deliver an exceptional performance every single night. And making sure I have the most energy of the day at the time the curtain goes up.

You starred in the LA and San Francisco versions of An Act Of God, what other than being on Broadway is going to be different about this production and what does it mean to you to be returning to New York theater?

I’ll be doing the exact same show in New York that I did in Los Angeles and San Francisco. I worked with the author of the play, David Javerbaum and together we tweaked and molded the play to better suit my voice and to reflect, where necessary, the topical aspects going on in the world as it pertained to certain sections of the piece. To be doing theater in New York City is a dream come true. I get to do what I love while being completely immersed with the community I love. A lot of my friends and colleagues are here and I’m so fortunate to see them on a regular basis. I truly believe in the power of the words of this play, the message it delivers to the audience and the unbelievably witty and hilarious prose that David created and Joe Mantello directed.

You are of course an Emmy winner and SAG winner, so you know a thing or two about top-notch comedy. Who is currently making you laugh be it on stage, in lm or TV these days?

Andrea Martin and Deb Monk are two of the funniest ladies in theater. And Brooks Ashmanskas is a great friend and always makes me laugh. In TV, Fred Armisen is probably the funniest man alive right now. As well as Kyle Mooney. Martin Short was always a huge inspiration to me.

Jack of course was a breakthrough for many reasons on television’s Will & Grace, but you have also done animated films, you hosted Saturday Night Live and the Tony Awards, appeared on Scrubs and 30 Rock and you debuted on Broadway in the 2010 revival of Promises, Promises and you also produce several shows like Hot In Cleveland, Grimm, Hollywood Game Night and more. What is it about An Act Of God that drew you back to stage work?

I read two pages and I was in. Actors dream of getting offered such amazing words to say and I feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to deliver what I think is one of the funniest plays I’ve ever read in my life. And it has been a dream of mine to work with Joe Mantello for many, many years. Everything added up and I feel like it’s a magnificent marriage of everyone involved.