People in Brief

James Gleason (from left), Sean Hayes and David Josefsberg in a scene from “An Act of God.”

LOS ANGELES — Sean Hayes, who played sidekick Jack in TV’s “Will & Grace,” is the ultimate top banana on stage in “An Act of God.”

Hayes has the title role in the West Coast production of the play, a cheeky take on the Almighty and what he really thinks of his imperfect human charges.

“It’s smart, funny, poignant,” Hayes said of the play by David Javerbaum, the former head writer for “The Daily Show” who adapted it from his book, “The Last Testament: A Memoir by God.”

Hayes also said yes to the part because it tested him, as did his 2010-11 Broadway role in the musical “Promises, Promises.”

“I enjoy great challenges, because it’s too easy to not challenge yourself. It’s too easy to just sit on the couch,” said Hayes, who’s also a busy producer.

“An Act of God” is essentially a one-man show that puts the critically praised Hayes center stage for 90 minutes, with occasional support from a pair of angels.

“The memorization, the interpretation, the freshness that you have to discover every night to do it” are demanding, Hayes said, adding, “and I love it.”

He endorses the approach of “An Act of God,” which played on Broadway in 2015 with Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory.”

“Any time you can provoke thought or curiosity from exploring certain aspects of religion, especially in a comical way, it’s very needed and entertaining and rewarding,” Hayes said.

He was raised Catholic, he said, “but I’m currently not.”

Does he believe in God?

“I believe in people and the goodness of people,” he replied. He also believes people can have faith outside of organized religion.

“Absolutely,” he said. “There’s a wonderful message, a positive, uplifting message in the play that you will leave the theater with.”

NEW YORK — Most speakers at large conferences hope they have something topical to add when it’s their turn to talk. Derrick Wang has nothing to worry about.

The composer, lyricist and librettist behind the comic opera “Scalia/Ginsburg” finds himself with a red-hot subject following the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The opera is about the legal sparring and behind-the-bench friendship of Scalia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, mixing direct quotation with musical pastiche. He’ll discuss it today at TEDxBroadway.

“The most inspiring thing about their relationship is the fact that they’re able to disagree yet have this very close friendship. Especially now, I think that it stands as an example to us all,” Wang said.

Wang will be at the fifth TEDxBroadway conference, bringing together about 20 speakers — producers, marketers, entrepreneurs, academics and artists — to try to answer the question: “What is the best Broadway can be?”

TEDx events are independently organized but inspired by the nonprofit group TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, that started in 1984 as a conference dedicated to “ideas worth spreading.” Video of the Broadway event will be made available to the public at a later date.

NEW YORK — The long-awaited sequel to Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” now has a release date. Alcon Entertainment announced that it will be land in theaters on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend in January 2018.

“Sicario” director Denis Villeneuve is taking over for Scott in the sequel to his 1982 science-fiction classic. It will star Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, reprising his role as Rick Deckard.

Alcon, which is producing the film, said it takes place several decades after the conclusion to the original “Blade Runner.” Roger Deakins, who has previously worked with Villeneuve on “Prisoners” and “Sicario,” will serve as cinematographer.

The Warner Bros. release will begin shooting in July.

Associated Press