On May 2, Billy Crystal appeared on The Today Show to discuss his musical Mr. Saturday Night, which opened at Broadway's Nederlander Theatre April 27 (read the reviews here). Featuring a score by Tony winner Jason Robert Brown and Tony nominee Amanda Green, the project is a Main Stem return for Crystal.
Crystal first played the stand-up comedian Buddy Young Jr. in the 1992 film of the same name, which he also co-wrote and directed. The comedy centers on a Borscht Belt comedian whose abrasive ego eclipses his success and alienates his family.
Mr. Saturday Night marks the first time Crystal's grandchildren were able to see him perform live. Said Crystal, "That was the thrill of all. They're 18, 16, 12, and 9. They've seen stuff over the years, you know, films and TV, but they never saw me live... I so wanted them to be there, and they all flew in for it, and it was so emotional, thinking that they were in the audience." Watch the full appearance above.
The musical also stars Tony winner Randy Graff (City of Angels, Les Misérables) as Buddy’s wife, Elaine Young; Oscar nominee David Paymer returning to his film role of Stan Yankelman, Buddy’s brother; Chasten Harmon as his agent, Annie Wells; and Shoshana Bean as Buddy's daughter, Susan. Rounding out the ensemble are Jordan Gelber, Brian Gonzales, and Mylinda Hull.
The project reunites Crystal with the film’s original co-authors, Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, who have adapted their original screenplay. Tony winner John Rando (Urinetown, On the Town) directs, with music direction by David O and choreography by Ellenore Scott.
The production features scenic design by Scott Pask, costume design by Paul Tazewell and Sky Switser, lighting design by Kenneth Posner, video and projection design by Jeff Sugg, sound design by Kai Harada, and hair and wig design by Charles LaPointe. The production stage manager is Tripp Phillips. Orchestrations and arrangements are by Brown.