Billy Crystal has announced his return to Broadway with his award winning one-man show, 700 Sundays. On its first run the show held the, then, record on Broadway for the highest weekly grossing non-musical ($1,061,689 for the week ending May 22, 2005) and won a Tony for special theatrical event.
Crystal started on Saturday Night Live briefly before he got a part on the comedy soap opera titled appropriately enough, Soap. He played the only gay character in a family of dysfunctional hilarity. He then went on to vey briefly (five episodes) have his own television show and he returned to host Saturday Night Live (SNL) in 1984.
He joined the regular SNL cast and was a favourite on the show, his “take-off” of Fernando Lamas; a character whose catchphrase was “You look mahvelous,” shot Crystal into the limelight as the public lapped it up.
It was not long before he was carving out a career for himself in films. The two most successful were When Harry Met Sally in 1989 with Meg Ryan and the 1991 film City Slickers which Crystal produced and which won his fellow actor in the film Jack Palance an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
Crystal shot to prominence again voicing the one eyed monster Mike Wazowski in Disney’s 2001 film Monsters Inc. The role of “Mikey” introduced him to an entire new generation of fans. Crystal has reprised his role as Mike Wazowski in the follow up film, Monsters University.
When 700 Sundays finished its sold out run in 2005, Crystal took the show on the road and toured with it in both in America and abroad.
The show was written with good friend Alan Zweibel and this reprisal will also feature its original director, Des McAnuff. The theme of the show is loss and it triggers the stories in 700 Sundays with the show’s centerpiece being the death of Crystal’s father, Jack, who died of a heart attack at age 54 when Billy, was 15.
The show’s title comes from a calculation by Crystal that his father and he spent that many Sundays together before Jack Crystal died. Sunday was the one day of the week that the two of them had to enjoy each other’s company. This was because the industrious Jack Crystal always held several jobs at once.
Other relatives from Crystal’s suburban Long Island childhood pop up, too, in “700 Sundays”: Uncle Milt, who founded the legendary Commodore Records; Uncle Berns and Aunt Sheila, among others. In 2009, Crystal reprised the show with engagements in six major cities, including Philadelphia, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. The work was also adapted and turned into a book.
700 Sundays will begin its limited run on November 5th at the Imperial Theatre with its official opening night being the 13th of that month. The final performance will be on January 5th.
Crystal revealed in a statement that the shows limited engagement will be its final performance. He also went on to say that, “I’ve now decided to tell this story one last time in my own backyard, where it all took place. It is a privilege to return to Broadway to say goodbye to one of the greatest thrills of my life.”
By Michael Smith