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Sean Hayes to star in Goodman Theatre play in 2021

The “Will & Grace” Emmy winner will play pianist and gadfly Oscar Levant in Doug Wright’s “Good Night, Oscar.”

Sean Hayes
Goodman Theatre

Sean Hayes, the Chicago native best known as self-absorbed Jack McFarland on NBC’s “Will & Grace,” will return to town in 2021 to star in a world premiere play at the Goodman Theatre.

In “Good Night, Oscar,” set to debut next winter, Hayes will play pianist Oscar Levant, regarded as one of the great raconteurs of the mid-20th century. Doug Wright (“I Am My Own Wife,” “War Paint”) wrote the piece, depicting Levant taking leave from a mental ward to guest on “The Tonight Show,” hosted by Jack Paar.

Goodman’s announcement said the play “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.”

Directing will be Leigh Silverman, who was at the helm of the “Chinglish” world premiere at the Goodman in 2011 as well as its transfer to Broadway.

Only group tickets are available now at (312) 443-3820 or More productions in the Goodman’s 2020-21 season will be announced next month.

Hayes won an Emmy in 2000 for his work on “Will & Grace,” which originally ran from 1998 to 2006. In 2017 he and his castmates returned for a revival that will conclude Feb. 13. He’s also an accomplished stage performer who was nominated for a Tony Award for “Promises, Promises” in 2010.