NEW YORK (AP) — Latecomers, be warned: Miss the start of the new show at the Studio 54 theater this summer and you will be heckled by no less than God Almighty.
“How ya doin’? I am the Lord thy God, King of the Universe, but I’ll wait. You good?” the Divine — played by Jim Parsons — says to sheepish stragglers from the stage.
Unfortunately, it’s one of the few moments in an “An Act of God” that is genuinely funny. Summer on Broadway is when the weakest of authors somehow find a home. This year, it’s apparently God.
The play, with one strange song at the end, is a chance for the Almighty to set the record straight — like that he doesn’t hate gays and he can’t help anyone sing better — and update his 10 Commandments.
“The reason masturbation is a sin is not that it’s intrinsically evil. It’s that every time you do it, I have to watch,” God says at one point. At another: “Do you remember the Irish potato famine? It killed over a million people in the 19th century. Do you know why I sent that? I wasn’t mad at the Irish. I was mad at the potatoes.”
It was written by David Javerbaum, the former head writer and executive producer of “The Daily Show” and a producer of “The Late Late Show with James Corden.” He’s also the power behind the Twitter handle @TheTweetofGod.
Javerbaum is obviously pretty good at droll, bite-sized humor. No so much with a 90-minute play. This one seems more like a lounge act cooked up by someone who thinks his Facebook updates are totally hilarious. Javerbaum has based his play on his book “The Last Testament: A Memoir by God.” No one tried to stop him. Where is God when you need Him?
Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory” star, is game playing a sort of overworked divine bystander with anger management issues, forever exasperated at humans and their endless stupidity. He’s aided by two angels played by Christopher Fitzgerald and Tim Kazurinsky. The whole thing is directed by Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, who has apparently taken his summer vacation early.
The usual tired selection of celebs that get roasted on late night TV get goofed-on here, including Shia LaBeouf, Kanye West, Sarah Palin, Adam Sandler and Bruce Jenner (“The first Kardashian woman I can actually tolerate,” God says.)
One bright spot is Fitzgerald as the Angel Gabriel, who peppers God with questions about heavenly inconsistencies and the nature of evil. Their tension is really the only thing that keeps this lame thing even slightly going. It truly needs divine intervention.
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