By BERNICE FOX
After about four-and-a-half months reliving his Mr. Saturday Night character before appreciative audiences on Broadway, Billy Crystal is understandably emotional. And funny.
Crystal wistfully told Sunday’s closing night audience – actually the final performance was a matinee – that “opening nights are hard” as if he were about to start the show’s run all over again, which he’s not. At least not that he’s told us. That comment at the final curtain call got laughs.
Mr. Saturday Night came out of Crystal’s 1992 movie about a comedian who could have made it closer to the top if he had only gotten out of his own way. With the addition of music, this play was Crystal’s first musical comedy on Broadway. Starting at the end of April, Mr. Saturday Night eventually played 28 previews and 116 performances.
Within a few weeks of opening, the show picked up five Tony nominations, including best musical and Crystal was nominated for best actor in a musical. There were no wins, but five nominations had to be satisfying.
Now the former honorary co-mayor of Pacific Palisades is moving on to another project. He’ll executive produce and star in a limited series on AppleTV called Before. He’ll play a recently widowed psychiatrist.
During a break in the continual applause following the last performance of Mr. Saturday Night on Sunday, Crystal said doing this musical comedy on Broadway has been “the greatest experience of my life” and the “greatest test.” He called it a test because “we had to bring it every night,” unlike movies where an actor can just do another take if it wasn’t perfect the first time.
During this final curtain call, Crystal used the “royal we” to say “we had the greatest time performing with these magnificent people.” He’s talking about the rest of the cast. All took this final curtain call with him.
Fans have been posting comments on Crystal’s Twitter page.
- “It was a joy to see you perform. Thank you for making us laugh.”
- “Thank you for a great show. And even better, thank you for all the years of entertainment.”
- “Thank you for making us smile!
And there was this fan request: “Bring it to LA please? You could sleep in your own bed.”
Crystal posted his own comment on the Twitter page: “Our last show… I have loved every moment.”