Will & Grace Emmy winner Sean Hayes will again star as actor and pianist Oscar Levant, joined by Emily Bergl (The Ferryman) as June Levant, Peter Grosz (Veep) as network executive Bob Sarnoff, Ben Rappaport (Fiddler on the Roof and Picnic) as TV host Jack Paar, and John Zdrojeski (Heroes of the Fourth Turning) as George Gershwin.
Directed by Lisa Peterson, previews will begin at the Belasco April 7 prior to an official opening April 24. The 20-week limited engagement will continue through August 27. Additional casting will be announced.
The play is set in 1958 while Jack Paar is hosting The Tonight Show. He’s booked his favorite guest, Oscar Levant. In 90 minutes, Levant will have audiences howling, censors scrambling, and—when it’s all over—America will be just a little less innocent than she was before.
Playwright 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 1950s. 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 Peterson added, “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 production will have set design by Rachel Hauck, costume design by Emilio Sosa, lighting design by Ben Stanton and Carolina Ortiz Herrera, sound design by André Pluess, music supervision by Chris Fenwick, wig, hair, and makeup design by J. Jared Janas, casting by Stephen Kopel, Lauren Port, and Rachael Jimenez, and dramaturgy by Jacqueline E. Lawton.
Tickets are on sale at Telecharge.com.