"Hilariously Funny"

Chicago Tribune

March 12 - April 24, 2022 in Goodman's Albert Theatre

Around 1 hour and 40 minutes with no intermission

Anything can happen on live TV. And one night, it did. Emmy Award-winning actor and producer Sean Hayes (Will & Grace) stars as the irrepressible Oscar Levant.

It’s 1958, and Jack Paar hosts the hottest late-night talk-show on television. His favorite guest? Character actor, pianist and wild card Oscar Levant. Famous for his witty one-liners, 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 appears live on national TV in an episode that 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.

Read Content Advisory Info
  • Good Night, Oscar is appropriate for ages 14 and up. It contains mature themes. For more information contact the box office at 312.443.3800

Please note: Proof of vaccination with an FDA or WHO-authorized vaccine is required for all guests. Masks are required at all times and patrons under 5 are not permitted. Learn more at GoodmanTheatre.org/Protocols.

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Critical Praise
  • "The best reason to head back into the Loop to laugh since the pandemic"

    - Chicago Tribune

  • "A brilliant new play...hilarious and heartbreaking"

    - Newcity

  • Sean Hayes "gives an outstanding and multi-faceted performance"

    - Chicago Sun-Times

  • "A Must-See!"

    - WGN-TV


    - Chicago Reader


    - Chicago Tribune

  • A "virtuoso performance" by Sean Hayes

    - Newcity

  • Good Night, Oscar "captures just the right balance of humor and pathos."

    - Chicago Sun-Times

  • "Directed to perfection by Lisa Peterson"

    - Around the Town Chicago

Audience Feedback
  • Amazing. Outstanding. Brilliant. I could go on. I’d love to see it again.

    Diane M. via Facebook

  • Sheer magic. Brought me to tears more than once!

    @laurie_runge via Facebook

  • Sean Hayes is unrecognizable & brilliant in this. Don't miss this show! Bravo!

    @mluckritz1830 via Instagram

  • I haven’t been moved by an actor [Sean Hayes] like that…possibly ever.

    @foundingmo via Facebook

  • It is mind boggling in its brilliance.

    Connie D. via Facebook

  • Doug Wright

    Doug Wright Playwright

  • Lisa Peterson

    Lisa Peterson Director

  • Emily Bergl

    Emily Bergl June Levant

  • Peter Grosz

    Peter Grosz Bob Sarnoff

  • Sean Hayes

    Sean Hayes Oscar Levant

  • Ben Rappaport

    Ben Rappaport Jack Paar

  • Ethan Slater

    Ethan Slater Max Weinbaum

  • Tramell Tillman

    Tramell Tillman Alvin Finney

  • John Zdrojeski

    John Zdrojeski George Gershwin

  • Sam Bell-Gurwitz

    Sam Bell-Gurwitz Understudy

  • Daniel Cantor

    Daniel Cantor Understudy

  • Matt Crowle

    Matt Crowle Understudy

  • Chiké Johnson

    Chiké Johnson Understudy

  • Tiffany Scott

    Tiffany Scott Understudy

  • David Turner

    David Turner Understudy

  • Rachel Hauck

    Rachel Hauck Set Designer

  • Emilio Sosa

    Emilio Sosa Costume Designer

  • Carolina Ortiz Herrera

    Carolina Ortiz Herrera Lighting Designer

  • Ben Stanton

    Ben Stanton Lighting Designer

  • Andre Pluess

    Andre Pluess Sound Designer

  • J. Jared Janas

    J. Jared Janas Wig, Hair & Make-Up Designer

  • Kimberly Ann McCann

    Kimberly Ann McCann Production Stage Manager

  • Mario (Mars) Wolfe

    Mario (Mars) Wolfe Stage Manager

  • Stephen Kopel

    Stephen Kopel New York Casting

  • Lauren Port

    Lauren Port Casting

  • Rachael Jimenez

    Rachael Jimenez Casting

  • Jacqueline E. Lawton

    Jacqueline E. Lawton Dramaturg

  • Jessie Bonaventure

    Jessie Bonaventure Assoc. Scenic Designer

  • Stan Brown

    Stan Brown Voice Coach

  • Chris Fenwick

    Chris Fenwick Music Supervisor

  • Tony Lauro

    Tony Lauro Assoc. Wig, Hair & Make-up Designer

  • Annie J. Le

    Annie J. Le Assoc. Costume Designer

  • Lindsey Lyddan

    Lindsey Lyddan Asst. Lighting Designer

  • Gwendoyln Madrigal

    Gwendoyln Madrigal Production Assistant

  • Riw Rakkulchon

    Riw Rakkulchon Assoc. Set Designer

  • Brandon Reed

    Brandon Reed Assoc. Sound Designer

  • Mignon McPherson Stewart

    Mignon McPherson Stewart Assistant Director

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.

Enhanced Performances

Join us for any of the following accessible & enhanced performances.

Questions? Please contact 312.443.3800 (voice), 312.443.3829 (TTY/TDD) or email Access@GoodmanTheatre.org.

Touch Tour and Audio Described performanceTouch Tour* and Audio-Described Performance
Saturday, April 9
12:30pm Touch Tour & 2pm Performance
Use code AUDIO for $30 tickets

American Sign Language Interpreted PerformanceAmerican Sign Language-Interpreted Performance
Friday, April 15 at 8pm
Use code SIGN for $30 tickets

Open Caption Performance Open-Captioned Performance
Saturday, April 16 at 2pm
Use code OPEN for $30 tickets

Spanish Caption Spanish Subtitles Performance
Saturday, April 16 at 8pm
Use code SPANISH for $30 tickets

Learn More About Accessible & Enhanced Performances for Good Night, Oscar

*Touch Tours for the 2021/2022 Season will not have access to the stage due to current health and safety protocols, but will feature alternate pre-show sensory introductions.

Recommended Reads
  • Chicago Tribune

    Review: Sean Hayes is a revelation in Good Night, Oscar at Goodman Theatre. Broadway is surely next.

    Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

    "In the four-star attraction Good Night, Oscar at the Goodman Theatre, Levant and Wright combine for a masterclass on the nature and value of satire. Hayes, who displays talents here most of his fans will have no idea he had at his disposal, dives deep into Levant, a self-torturing Jewish genius who had to fight for his sanity, his creativity, his musical core, his principles and his right to annoy. It’s a stunner of a lead performance: moving, empathetic, deeply emotional and slightly terrifying..."


  • Oscar Levant, a man of many mediums

    Oscar Levant, a Man of Many Mediums

    “I played an unsympathetic part—myself,” quipped Oscar Levant in
    a 1946 interview about his role in Humoresque, a film in which he
    portrayed an accompanist and sidekick...


  • Jack Paar

    One of America’s Most Popular Indoor Pastimes

    Over time, The Tonight Show hosts—Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon—have become household names, their self-titled programs popping up in TV guides and while channel surfing. But the tradition of titling the show after the host began with one man: Jack Paar...


  • And Now, a Word from Our Sponsor

    And Now, a Word From Our Sponsor

    In the post-war years, there was nothing quite so American as TV. Basking in the glow of a cathode ray tube was America’s newest pastime, but not everyone was having it...


Season Overview

Welcome back to your home for theater, Goodman Theatre.

A thrilling line-up awaits as we return to stage and resume performances. The 2021/2022 Season reflects the artistic excellence that you love, and the commitment to our Chicago community that you expect. Come share the moments—together, in-person, once again—that inspire our collective humanity.