May 24, 2022
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Billy Crystal plans to return to Broadway in the spring because the star of a brand new musical, “Mr. Saturday Night time,” tailored from his 1992 film.

The undertaking has been in improvement for years — he mentioned Mel Brooks first prompt in 2005 that he take into consideration adapting the movie for the stage — and final month Crystal led a nine-performance presentation of the present at Barrington Stage Company, in the Berkshires area of Western Massachusetts.

“Mr. Saturday Night time” is a comedy concerning the rise and fall of a slapstick comedian named Buddy Younger Jr. Crystal not solely starred in the movie however he additionally directed, produced and co-authored it. He’s writing the musical’s ebook with Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, who additionally collaborated with him on the movie’s screenplay. The stage adaptation options music by Jason Robert Brown (a Tony winner for “The Bridges of Madison County” and “Parade”) and lyrics by Amanda Inexperienced (“Palms on a Hardbody”). The director is John Rando (a Tony winner for “Urinetown”), and the choreographer is Ellenore Scott (who can also be choreographing subsequent spring’s revival of “Humorous Lady”).

Becoming a member of Crystal in the eight-person forged shall be David Paymer, taking part in Younger’s brother, Stan. Paymer performed the identical function in the movie, and was nominated for an Academy Award. Randy Graff (a Tony winner for “Metropolis of Angels”) will play Younger’s spouse, and Chasten Harmon (“The Good Battle”) will play his agent.

In an interview, Crystal mentioned he has discovered himself repeatedly drawn to the character for many years — he mentioned he first carried out as Younger on an HBO particular in 1984, after which introduced him to “Saturday Night time Reside” after which did him on one other HBO particular earlier than creating the movie. “I like that man,” he mentioned. “And there was extra to say with this character; there was extra to do.”

He famous that, 30 years in the past, when he began taking pictures the movie, he was 43 taking part in 73; now he’s 73 taking part in 73, and “it simply feels higher.”

Crystal mentioned he carried out in faculty musicals and sang as an Oscars host, however that he has been working with a vocal coach to put together for the musical. “I’m going to be the very best I might be,” he mentioned. And can he dance? “I’m going to transfer,” he mentioned.

Crystal has carried out one earlier Broadway present, “700 Sundays,” an autobiographical one-man play which he carried out for eight months, from 2004 to 2005, and which he then brought back for 2 months from 2013 to 2014. The unique manufacturing was given a 2005 Tony Award as finest particular theatrical occasion.

He mentioned he’s prepared to return.

“I’ve all the time tried to problem myself and continue to grow, preserve stretching,” he mentioned.

“Mr. Saturday Night time” is scheduled to start previews March 1 and to open March 31 on the Nederlander Theater. The producers are James L. Nederlander and Nederlander Displays, Inc.; the present is being capitalized for $11 million, in accordance to a submitting with the Securities and Change Fee.

The present shall be staged seven performances per week (one fewer than the normal Broadway eight) and Crystal mentioned the run is open-ended.

That is the eighth new musical scheduled as a part of this Broadway this season, because the business seeks to rebuild after the prolonged pandemic shutdown. The others are “Lady From the North Nation,” which opened simply earlier than the shutdown however is being counted as half of the present season, in addition to “Six,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Diana,” “Flying Over Sundown,” “MJ” and “Paradise Sq..”

Crystal mentioned “Mr. Saturday Night time” had been delayed by the pandemic, however that he felt good concerning the new timing primarily based on viewers response in the Berkshires.

“I’ve spent a lot of my life in entrance of an viewers,” he mentioned. “The good feeling to hear laughs, dwell, in a theater, even by way of masks, was intoxicating to all of us, and it gave us a lot pleasure and a lot hope.”