Jim Parsons is “God” in ‘an Act of God’

 

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By Sandi Durell

 

Parsons is adorably droll as the Lord, bedecked in a white toga-like robe and red sneakers, lounging on his white nightclub-like sofa. What’s amazing is that it’s 90 minutes of non-stop Jim Parsons (what’s not to like). In fact he likens himself as God to Don McLean – he’s weary of his imperfect effort ‘in exactly the same way Don McLean has grown weary of ‘American Pie…’ and so, what’s he to do? Time to come up with a new Ten Commandments which he will give to the Jewish people . . . “that’s why I’m here on Broadway,” quips God!

Written by David Javerbaum (adapted from his 2011 book The Last Testament), this irreverent comedy (hmmm – some thought-provoking monologue moments at the end), we see God in the body of Jim Parsons, “a winning, likeable personality . . . aided by his offbeat charm,” selling the hell out of his new commandments with his winged assistants, Michael and Gabriel (Christopher Fitzgerald and Tim Kazurinsky) who have occasional participation and are the most fun at the end of the show.

God is just sick and tired of what we mortals have been doing. That’s clear. I mean just think about how we use his name in vain. God says to stop calling his name during sex.

And that story of Adam and Eve, well – no, it was Adam and Steve. God is definitely on the side of the gays.   And kids saying their prayers before they go to sleep – “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take” – – God thinks it’s awful that “the last word on children’s lips would address the prospect of their premature death.” And what about those sports figures who credit him for strikes and touchdowns . . . he has no interest in them or whether they win or lose. “Leave me out of it!”

In fact, you might object to God explaining if there was no Holocaust, there would be no Cabaret (the musical) – oy! And he does get angry. . . a lot, because he has “wrath management issues.” In truth, God says he allows a lot of human suffering. Why? Because he’s ‘a jealous, petty, sexist, racist, mass-murdering narcissist.” And when he doesn’t want to answer questions from the inquiring angel Michael . . . brimstone and thunder! God acts in mysterious ways!

God has surely designed his new commandments to suit his narcissistic self: “Thou shalt not tell Me what to do;” “Thou shalt not tell Me what to bless, damn, forbid, forsake, or speed, or whose queen to save.” You see, he’s a brand!

He’s a doozy all right and in the form of Parsons has that perfect delivery and style accompanied by great subtle expressions and takes that bring this off-beat humor to new heights. And better watch out if you’re late to the show, he notices and is ready to make the kill – – “You’re just lucky I’m the Lord God and not Patti Lupone,” he quips to the late-comers.

Joe Mantello directs this basically one-man show, with scenic design by Scott Pask, costumes by David Zinn and lighting by Hugh Vanstone.

What’s the message? Believe in yourself, not some old white guy in the sky! Obviously many won’t take that one lightly. So try and keep your sense of humor admiring the brilliance of Jim Parson’s performance and some really clever one-liners. Oh, and God likes selfies!

Thru August 2nd, Studio 54 – 254 West 54th St. – running time 90 minutes, no intermission.

*Photos: Jeremy Daniel

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