January 2021 in Goodman's Albert Theatre

It's 1958, and Jack Paar hosts the hottest late-night talk-show on television. His favorite guest? Erstwhile character actor, pianist and wild card Oscar Levant.

Famous for his many epigrams, Oscar has a favorite: "There's a fine line between genius and insanity; I have erased this line." Tonight, Oscar will prove just that when he gets a four hour pass from the mental ward to appear live on national TV. It's an episode Paar's audience—and the rest of America—won't soon forget.  

Good Night, Oscar explores the nexus of humor and heartbreak, the ever-dwindling distinction between exploitation and entertainment, and the high cost of baring one's soul for public consumption, all through the eyes of one of America's most memorable and subversive wits. 

  • Doug Wright, Playwright

    Doug Wright earned the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for his play I Am My Own Wife. Other Broadway works include War Paint, Grey Gardens (Tony nomination), The Little Mermaid and Hands on a Hardbody. Film credits include Quills, based on his Obie Award-winning play and nominated for three Academy Awards. Television credits include Tony Bennett: An American Classic, directed by Rob Marshall. Honors include the Benjamin Dank Prize (the American Academy of Arts and Letters), the Tolerance Prize (Kulturforum Europa) and the Paul Selvin Award (Writers Guild of America). He is the president of the Dramatists Guild, a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, a frequent guest at Yaddo, and serves on the board of the New York Theatre Workshop. Mr. Wright is married to singer/songwriter David Clement.

    Playwright, Doug Wright
  • Leigh Silverman, Director

    Leigh Silverman directed the world premiere of Chinglish at Goodman Theatre, as well as the subsequent Broadway transfer. Other Broadway credits include Grand Horizons (WTF, 2ST); The Lifespan of a Fact (Studio 54); Violet (Roundabout, Tony nomination); Well (Longacre Theatre). Recent credits: Soft Power (Public Theater, Ahmanson Theater, Curran Theater); Hurricane Diane (New York Theatre Workshop); Harry Clarke (Vineyard Theatre, Minetta Lane, Lortel nomination); Wild Goose Dreams (Public Theater); Sweet Charity (New Group); On The Exhale (Roundabout); The Outer Space (Public); All The Ways To Say I Love You (MCC); The Way We Get By (2ST); Tumacho (Clubbed Thumb); American Hero (WTF, 2ST); No Place to Go (Public Theater); Kung Fu (Signature Theatre); The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence (Playwrights Horizons). Encores: VioletThe Wild PartyReally Rosie. She received the 2011 and 2019 Obie Awards for Sustained Excellence.

    Director, Leigh Silverman
  • Sean Hayes, Oscar Levant

    Sean Hayes is an Emmy Award-winning actor and producer. He is best known for his role as Jack McFarland on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace, for which he won a Primetime Emmy Award and four SAG Awards, along with six Golden Globe nominations. He is also known for his work on Broadway, including An Act of God and Promises, Promises for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. Hayes is the co-founder of Hazy Mills Productions, the television production company behind several hit shows such as Hot in ClevelandGrimmHollywood Game Night and History of Comedy. Upcoming projects include the Netflix series Q-Force and the feature film, Lazy Susan.

    Sean Hayes
  • Oscar Levant

    Oscar Levant (1906 -1972) was an American concert pianist, composer, actor, and raconteur who eventually became one of the most celebrated and sardonic wits of his era. The son of Russian immigrants, Levant moved from New York to Hollywood in 1928 where he met and befriended George Gershwin. Over the next two decades he composed the music for more than twenty movies. At the height of his popularity, Oscar Levant was the highest-paid concert artist in America. Levant's 1945 recording of “Rhapsody in Blue” remained one of Columbia Records' best-selling albums for decades and the first exposure for many to the Gershwin masterpiece. From the 1930s through the mid-1950s, Levant appeared in a number of feature films, often playing a pianist or composer including major supporting roles in the notable Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musicals The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), An American in Paris (1951), and The Band Wagon (1953). In 1938 and 1939 Levant worked on Broadway as a conductor (filling in for his brother Harry) on Kaufman and Hart’s The Fabulous Invalid and conductor and composer for The American Way, another Kaufman and Hart production. Levant became well known to a wider audience as a regular panelist on the radio quiz show Information Please in the late 1930s and 1940s. This led to a series of radio and television appearances including, NBC radio's Kraft Music Hall starring Al Jolson, NBC’s Who Said That? and between 1958 and 1960, he hosted a television talk show on KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, The Oscar Levant Show, which later became syndicated. In time, Levant's reputation as a caustic, sometimes provocative humorist eclipsed his former glory as a pianist.

    Playwright, Brian Friel

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