Sean Hayes will return to Broadway this spring starring in Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Doug Wright’s new play, Good Night, Oscar, directed by Lisa Peterson, at the Belasco Theatre, (111 West 44th Street) with performances beginning on April 7, 2023, and an official opening set for April 24, 2023. The 20-week limited engagement will end on August 27, 2023.
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In Good Night, Oscar, Sean Hayes plays Oscar Levant: Hollywood actor, concert pianist, and the most subversive wit ever to appear on television during its Golden Age.
It’s 1958 and Jack Paar is hosting “The Tonight Show.” He’s booked his favorite guest, a pundit as hilarious as he is unpredictable: Oscar Levant, who once famously proclaimed, “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity, and I have erased that line.” In 90 short minutes, Oscar will have audiences howling, censors scrambling, and - when it’s all over - America will be just a little less innocent than she was before.
Good Night, Oscar is produced on Broadway by Grove Entertainment (Beth Williams, Mindy Rich), Barbara Whitman, Hazy Mills Productions, Yonge Street Theatricals and Frank Marshall.
Good Night, Oscar premiered at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre earlier this year to sold-out houses and critical acclaim, receiving seven Joseph Jefferson Award nominations including best new play, leading actor and director (see below for a complete list).
Other cast members include Emily Bergl (Broadway’s The Ferryman, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, TV’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Desperate Housewives”) as June Levant; Peter Grosz (TV’s “Veep” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) as the network executive Bob Sarnoff; Ben Rappaport (recent Broadway revivals, Fiddler on the Roof and Picnic, TV’s “Outsourced” and “For the People”) as TV host Jack Paar; and John Zdrojeski (Off-Broadway’s Heroes of the Fourth Turning) as George Gershwin. Additional casting will be confirmed soon.
The show’s producers said, “The stars have aligned to bring the brilliance of Sean Hayes together with a superb cast, director Lisa Peterson and Doug Wright’s remarkable new play. Good Night, Oscar celebrates the unique and glorious talents of a man whose humor and pathos continue to have a deep resonance in our culture today.”
Sean Hayes said, “I’m thrilled for Broadway audiences to experience Good Night, Oscar. Oscar Levant was a multi-faceted pioneer, from concert pianist to infamous raconteur. It’s an honor to be portraying one of my heroes.”
Playwright Doug Wright said, “Though he's somewhat forgotten by today's audiences, Oscar Levant was a startling phenomenon in his own time; following a stellar concert and movie career, he became a celebrated pundit, holding forth on the chat shows of the 1950's. A brilliant, often searing raconteur, he was the first celebrity to offer up his personal demons for the sake of entertainment. Time and again, Oscar challenged our notions about the acceptable boundaries of comedy, and - in doing so - revealed the psychic costs of offering up one's life for public consumption. In an age where every TikTok user and internet influencer is striving for celebrity, Oscar's story is ripe for re-examination.”
Director Lisa Peterson said, ““Doug has written a darkly funny, searing portrait of a complex American entertainer, Oscar Levant. And Sean is inhabiting Oscar with such unflinching honesty that it’s almost shocking. I love that this is a story set at the dawn of television—I feel we’re really talking about the birth of the same culture that consumes us now, with all of its delights and all of its terrors. I can’t wait to share it with more audiences.”
The creative team for Good Night, Oscar includes Rachel Hauck (Set Design), Emilio Sosa (Costume Design), Ben Stanton and Carolina Ortiz Herrera (Lighting Design), Andre Pluess (Sound Design), Chris Fenwick (Music Supervision), J. Jared Janas (Wig, Hair and Make-Up Design), Stephen Kopel, Lauren Port, and Rachael Jimenez (Casting), and Jacqueline E. Lawton (Dramaturgy).
Good Night, Oscar at the Goodman Theatre received seven Joseph Jefferson Award nominations for Best New Work and Best Large Play (Doug Wright), Best Principal Actor Sean Hayes, Best Director Lisa Peterson, Best Supporting Actress Emily Bergl, Best Set Designer Rachel Hauck and Best Sound Designer Andre Pluess. Winners will be announced on October 17.