I think one of the worst mistakes an actor can make is run away from the role that made them beloved in the first place, that gave them an audience.”
Actor Sean Hayes is best known for his Emmy Award-winning role on the sitcom Will & Grace, but he’s remained busy in the ten years since the series ended. Most recently, he is returning to Broadway six years after his Tony-nominated role in Promises, Promises to star in An Act of God as, well, God. In an interview with the New York Times, Hayes talks about still being identified with his most famous role and why he loves theater.
When asked if he has an issue with people still thinking of him as Jack from Will & Grace, and he says, “I gave up caring about that a long time ago. I think one of the worst mistakes an actor can make is run away from the role that made them beloved in the first place, that gave them an audience.”
Though An Act of God was on Broadway last year with Jim Parsons in the title role, Hayes thought it was still a good idea to make his return to Broadway after six years in this play. He points out, “I wanted to wait to come back to Broadway until there was something worth coming back for, and to me this show is. I know it was done a year ago, but I think it’s important to do it again, and now. Religion is constantly being talked about, debated, pondered, worried about. Only in art can you really peel the layers away and ask the important questions.”
In many ways, theater feels like home to Hayes — like many actors, live performances are where he got his start. He explains, “I always wanted to act. I loved comedy growing up. Being in theater in high school was a wonderful escape from home life. It was chaotic. My mom raised five kids by herself, and she did an amazing job, but we parented ourselves. I never felt like I could be myself at home. There weren’t any funny people in sports or the Spanish club. All the really creative, witty, funny people that made your belly hurt were in the theater program.” He also adds that those feelings never change, saying, “I still feel like I’m that age. I’m 45.”