Sean Hayes stars in off-key play


There is no doubt that Sean Hayes has turned up within the new drama “Good Night time, Oscar.” Whether or not the tip result’s a human being or a bag of tips will depend on your style for ham.

theater evaluation

One hour 40 minutes with out intermission. on the Belasco Theatre, 111 W. 44th St.

In Doug Wright’s largely unsatisfying dramedy, which opened Monday evening on Broadway, “Will & Grace” star Oscar Levant performs the virtuoso pianist, “An American in Paris” actor and comic who popularly – and controversially – Within the early days of TV.

A unusual precursor to the likes of Harvey Parker on “Late Night time with David Letterman,” Levant, who died in 1972, would seem on “Tonight Starring Jack Paar” and speak about schizophrenia, the drugs he took, Hitler and extra. Will create sudden cracks. Not a household or network-friendly subject earlier than tickling the ivories brilliantly.

New York columnist Dorothy Kilgallen as soon as stated of Levant, “I believe he stated extra humorous issues than anyone of our time.” It is a daring assertion a few man most individuals do not bear in mind at present.

However Levant was, actually, devilishly hilarious and whip-cracking. And so, Wright’s play is affected by so many punchlines they could as effectively be the primary character’s first language.

Oscar Levant (Sean Hayes, proper) arrives at NBC to seek out an overeager assistant, Max Weinbaum (Alex Wyse).
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Unusually although, regardless of Levant’s insistence within the play that “I do not write jokes prematurely, I extemporize,” the zingers come off as animatronic and lame as delivered by Hayes.

Count on to chuckle much more than you do. The actor is, after all, a genius at pulling a stunning, pre-written one-liner out of skinny air, as he proved on “Will & Grace.”

However, not like Levant, hyped-up Jack was not a personality burdened by facial tics that have been the results of psychological sickness, booze and medicines, or a gruff voice that appears like a shock jock Richard Nixon impression.

Because the tortured Oscar, the actor seems to be checking off a mountainous to-do record of character and physique traits, whereas remaining largely oblivious to the opposite actors round him, probably as a consequence of all of the ostentatious shtick he is attempting to garner consideration from. focuses.

Thus, the frayed wire high quality of the Levant shouldn’t be communicated. He is Oscar the Grouch, okay, however seemingly innocent. Hayes is main the best way sporadically as the main points of Levant’s ache unfold, however we by no means meet the evil firebrand we hold listening to a lot about.

Jack Paar, host of "tonight" The show wants Levant to stir up the air.
Jack Paar (Ben Rappaport, left), host of the “Tonight” present, desires Levant to stir issues up on the air.
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And the humorous individual on this present day needs to be particularly on edge. Wright’s play imagines Jack Paar (Ben Rappaport) bringing the “Tonight” Present to Burbank, California in 1958, for the taping of a particular occasion that may characteristic the reliably outrageous Levant.

However with the intention to get the pianist into the studio, his spouse, June (Emily Bergl), wants to interrupt him out of a psychiatric hospital, underneath the pretext that he’s going to their daughter’s commencement ceremony.

June is an intriguing character in that she clearly cares about Oscar, however solely a lot that she’ll threat her well being and well-being to do a TV spot. There is not a lot chemistry between the stoic Burgle and Hayes, however the actress brings her personal distinctive “What’s in it for her?” Drag.

Oscar's wife June (EMILY BERGL) takes Oscar out of rehab to make a guest appearance "tonight."
Oscar’s spouse June (EMILY BERGL) takes Oscar out of rehab to make a visitor look in “Tonight”.
jon marcus

One among Levant’s involved medical doctors, Alvin Finney (Marchant Davis), arrives with a briefcase stuffed with meds and there is Max Weinbaum (Alex Wyse), a celebrity-obsessed studio assistant, pacing across the inexperienced room. Ultimately, we see Levant in motion with Paar, who honors NBC’s Bob Sarnoff (Peter Grosz).

When Wright’s play begins to waver between actually unhappy — typically poignantly — and sleepy, all of the antics are much more maddening than they’re.

The one fireworks in director Lisa Peterson’s manufacturing go off through the climax.

Levant was a up to date and buddy of George Gershwin and was identified to make Gershwin’s music sound higher than his personal. His irritating reliance on the then-dead “Porgy and Bess” composer — when he wished his personal compositions to shine — introduced in unusual hallucinogenic sequences with actor John Zdrojewski.

Oscar has a hallucination of George Gershwin (John Zdrojewski, left).
Oscar (proper) has a hallucination of George Gershwin (John Zdrojewski).
jon marcus

However close to the tip, Levant will get behind the piano and performs Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” on NBC. Hayes, a gifted piano participant, does this in full view of the viewers – and from reminiscence.

These thrilling moments—with out mannerisms, phrases, different characters, or exposition—solely make Levant and “Good evening, Oscar” come to life.

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