Labor Day weekend will mark the conclusion of the run on Broadway for the musical “Mr. Saturday Night,” which was written by Billy Crystal and tells the story of an older comic who is attempting to restart his career.
At the Nederlander Theater, the play started its previews on March 29, and it officially opened on April 27. Like many other shows at this difficult period on Broadway, it has been experiencing weak sales at the box office. On Sunday night, the production company made the announcement that the last performance of the run would take place on September 4; by the time it comes to an end, it is estimated to have had a total of 116 regular performances in addition to 28 previews.
The musical is based on a made-up comic named Buddy Young Jr., who Billy Crystal has been playing intermittently for the better part of three decades, first in skits for HBO specials and episodes of “Saturday Night Live,” and later in a film made in Hollywood in 1992. The musical, much like the movie, was written by Crystal, Lowell Ganz, and Babaloo Mandel; the music was composed by Jason Robert Brown, and the lyrics were written by Amanda Green; and John Rando directed the musical.
Crystal, who is now 74 years old, reprises his role as Young, a septuagenarian insult comic who uses jokes honed in the Jewish resorts of the so-called Borscht Belt in the mid-20th-century Catskills. Young is attempting to reclaim his relevance in a world that has moved on from him. Crystal, who is now 74 years old, stars in the film once again. Prior to that, Crystal had a successful run on Broadway with a solo play titled “700 Sundays,” which had its initial opening in 2004.
Crystal is “completely in his own” while playing live, as noted by Laura Collins-Hughes of The New York Times in her review of “Mr. Saturday Night.” “It’s a joy to see whether you’re a fan of his or just someone who longs for the type of connection that may exist between an actor and their audience,” the reviewer said.
Crystal and Shoshana Bean, who portrays his daughter, were both nominated for Tony Awards for their roles in the show, but neither of them took home the trophy. Other Tony Award nominations included best musical, best book, and best score. In May, Crystal and Bean were both found to be infected with the coronavirus, which resulted in the cancellation of a few performances; other concerts have also been affected by similar health issues over the last several months.
The play has only been performed seven times each week on average, which is one less than the industry usual of eight performances per week. Additionally, the show’s box office grosses have been average and have been decreasing throughout the summer. The most recent week for which data is available is the week that concluded on July 10, and according to the Broadway League, the production earned $542,696 for a six-performance week while playing to houses that were 61 percent full.
According to a document that was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the capitalization for the musical was set at $10 million. James L. Nederlander served as the primary producer for the production. That sum of money has not been recovered thus far.
Crystal is planning to return to television after a successful run on Broadway; his next project will be to appear in the Apple+ series “Before,” which he will also executive produce.