An Act of God BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Jeremy Daniel
  • NY TIMES

  • TIME OUT

  • HR

  • VULTURE

  • VARIETY

Opening Night:
May 28, 2015
Closing:
August 2, 2015

Theater: Studio 54 / 254 West 54th Street, New York, NY, 10019

Synopsis: 

The new comedy "An Act of God" reveals the mysteries of the Bible while answering the existential questions that have plagued mankind since Creation — in just 90 minutes. The One with the first and last word on everything is on Broadway to set the record straight… and He's not holding back!

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF An Act of God

    ‘An Act of God,’ With Jim Parsons as an Almighty Comedian

    Charles Isherwood

    May 28, 2015: If God were really as adorable and funny as Jim Parsons in the new Broadway show “An Act of God,” perhaps many more of us would be minding our morals, rapaciously atoning for our sins and generally doing unto others as we would like to be done unto, all in the hopes of a breezy welcome at the pearly gates. For now — praise be! — in a history-making metaphysical transformation, Mr. Parsons has been temporarily inhabited by the spirit of the Lord. Yes, God himself is in residence at Studio 54, of all sin-haunted places, holding forth on matter of faith and folly to peals of raucous laughter, in the body of the endearing star of “The Big Bang Theory.” Turns out that while many people have railed darkly against the Almighty’s mordant sense of humor over the years — we learn that God himself thinks the Book of Job is a hoot, although I doubt Job quite appreciated the joke — nobody knew quite how funny the fellow really is. Delivering a new and improved set of Commandments, as transcribed by the man we might call the Moses de nos jours, David Javerbaum, who wrote the show and the book that inspired it, God is really killing it up there. How funny is the guy? He’s Jon Stewart funny, plus Stephen Colbert funny. (Mr. Javerbaum has written for both.) More obviously, it might be said that Mr. Parsons as Mr. Javerbaum’s tell-it-like-it-is God is, yes, divinely funny.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF An Act of God

    'An Act of God' Theater review

    David Cote

    May 28, 2015: There aren’t many lies you can tell about God that organized religion hasn’t told already: He is loving; He rewards the faithful; He is a He; and the biggest crock of all—that He exists. And yet comedy writer David Javerbaum (formerly of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart") finds new ways to make the Supreme Being his sock puppet in "An Act of God," this summer’s blithely blasphemous occupant at Studio 54. In this divine visitation from the Unmoved Mover, the always charming Jim Parsons will make a disbeliever out of you. In the conceit of the show, the actor’s body is temporarily inhabited by the Almighty so that he can chat us up for 90 heavenly minutes. The stage is a particularly apt forum to examine (or travesty) the mechanics of belief: Like a place of worship, it welcomes like-minded people to enact a ritual and affirm common beliefs—and what is your average church service but community theater with a mediocre script? One difference is that a good play goes beyond comfort: It rattles your complacencies. (I’m not sure I’d go that far with "Act;" you’d have to be an especially thick believer to not see secular satire from miles away.) Still, Javerbaum’s radical rewrite of the Ten Commandments—the evening is structured around God’s introduction of revised laws—is clever and even refreshingly positive, insisting on the separation of church and state and encouraging us to believe in ourselves, not some elderly white guy in the sky.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF An Act of God

    Jim Parsons plays the Almighty, delivering a revised version of the Ten Commandments

    Frank Scheck

    May 28, 2015: Jim Parsons would not be the first person to come to mind for the role of God. But the actor proves a surprisingly authoritative Supreme Being in David Javerbaum's hilarious comedy "An Act of God." The Almighty makes his Broadway debut in, of all places, the notoriously unholy Studio 54, to deliver a new set of Ten Commandments directly to the Jewish people. "That's why I'm here on Broadway," he explains. For the occasion, he's chosen to appear in the form of the "beloved television star" Parsons, and no, the irony that the actor appears in a show called "The Big Bang Theory" isn't lost on him. He's accompanied by two archangels, or "wingmen," Michael (Christopher Fitzgerald) and Gabriel (Tim Kazurinsky). Clad in a traditional white robe offset by bright orange sneakers, God proves himself a rather truculent King of the Universe, clearly annoyed by the latecomers interrupting his divine pronouncements. Berating them for their tardiness, he comments, "You people are lucky I'm God and not Patti LuPone." Although it features some holdovers from the original, the new commandments reflect God's displeasure at the way the human race has deviated from his good intentions. Among the new rules are "Thou shalt not kill in my name," "Thou shalt not tell others whom to fornicate" and "Thou shalt separate Me and state," accompanied by lengthy explanations revealing considerable impatience with our insolence. "Go tell your money to trust someone else!" he snaps at one point.

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  • VULTURE REVIEW OF An Act of God

    Does Jim Parsons, as God, Knock 'Em Dead?

    Jesse Green

    May 28, 2015: For all its celebration of personal liberty and countercultural fabulousness, Broadway is actually a fairly God-positive place. Producers are not, after all, in the business of alienating potential audiences with gratuitous sacrilege. The nuns in "Sister Act" are sassy, not schismatic; Tevye’s a hondler, not an apostate. Even "The Book of Mormon," for all its nose-thumbing, ends up endorsing the irrational power of faith in the same way it endorses the irrational power of musicals. So it comes as quite a surprise that David Javerbaum’s "An Act of God," which promotes itself as a lighthearted new comedy, is actually one of the most vehement takedowns of the deity ever to reach Broadway. Perhaps the tipoff is that it’s playing at Studio 54, where, as the title character recalls, Liza Minnelli once sniffed Mick Jagger off Elizabeth Taylor. I say “title character,” but Javerbaum’s premise is that God, who transcends both form and formlessness, is not appearing as himself; rather, he has borrowed a human body in order to deliver an urgent message. The body is that of Jim Parsons: “For lo, I have endowed him with a winning, likeable personality; and know of a certainty that your apprehension of My depthless profundities will be aided by his offbeat charm.” And so it is; Parsons, in white Roman-style God-wear and red sneakers, sells the hell out of what is basically a 90-minute monologue, with occasional interruptions from the angels Michael and Gabriel (Christopher Fitzgerald and Tim Kazurinsky) and assorted special effects. If you’ve followed the tweets (@TheTweetOfGod) in which Javerbaum ventriloquizes the Lord (and on which he based the play), you’ll know the flavor: sarcastic, clever, and, miles beneath the surface, deeply serious. Parsons, whose tonal control is as fine as that of a dimmer switch, handles all this with the insouciance of a young George Burns (to name one of his God-playing predecessors), moving with complete ease between camp and dudgeon, mockery and message.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF An Act of God

    Jim Parsons in ‘An Act of God’

    Marilyn Stasio

    May 28, 2015: By God, it’s a waste of time reviewing a show based on a memoir written by God and based on His personal twitter account. Swear to God, the rabid fans greeting the appearance of Jim Parsons in “An Act of God” like the Second Coming honestly don’t give a damn what critics might have to say about the beloved TV star in this enjoyable but unthreatening comedy. (And if God doesn’t like this review, I can just tell him the Devil made me do it.) That paragraph alone should bring down the wrath of the character played by Parsons and identified as God in David Javerbaum’s comedy (based on the scribe’s Twitter account, @TheTweetOfGod) since it contains several transgressions against the Sixth Commandment in God’s new-and-improved rule book: Thou shalt not take My name in vain. To which the sinner is entitled to respond: Okay, but Thou shalt not bore me — and the show’s coy opening monologue is deadly. The central conceit of the comedy is that the non-corporeal Almighty has chosen to manifest Himself in the unprepossessing flesh of the boyish star of “The Big Bang Theory.” Scott Pask’s celestial set, which consists of a white stairway leading up to what looks like the inside of a big blue egg cup, doesn’t have much to say for itself, and Hugh Vanstone’s lighting design is your basic white-on-white. The real source of light here is Parsons, who was most recently on Broadway in “Harvey” and seems to genuinely enjoy doing stage work, God bless him.

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