PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: 700 Sundays — Life With, and Without, Father

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14 Nov 2013

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Crystal and his wife got to the party late, but there were still celebrities around to rush up and congratulate him. Elvis Costello and wife Diana Krall were among the first. "I hadn't seen it before," Costello later admitted. "It hits you very hard when you see it the first time. Very emotional, extremely beautiful and beautifully told."

Bette Midler glad-handed Zweibel for a job well done. She and Crystal co-starred last year in "Parental Guidance," playing grandparents reluctantly turned babysitters.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar uncomfortably endured the pre-show press line so he could hear the amusing story of how five-foot-seven Crystal met him when he was seven-foot-two Lew Alcindor as rival high-school basketball players on the same court.

Derek Jeter told how he was on deck when Crystal struck out his one and only day at a contracted New York Yankee. He was released the next day, his 60th birthday.

Sean Young, who recently switched to the East Coast, even recalled working with Crystal, kinda: "On the Oscar show in 1987. He hosted, and I was a guest presenter."

Comedienne Lisa Lampanelli said Zweibel let her read 700 Sundays, "and I cried just reading the script so I figured I'd better bring the tissues." She and Zweibel are writing a show together — Skinny Bitch: A Big Fat True Story. "We've been trying it out in five different cities. The plan is to try it in Chicago in June and then come next year in the fall." Zweibel is also planning an evening of three one-act plays, having just written a third to go with the two he already premiered here in the "Summer Shorts" series at 59E59 Theatres (Happy in 2010 and Pine Cone Moment in 2013).

McAnuff's next directing chore will be a solo show with Christopher Plummer in Los Angeles at the Ahmanson. "It's called A Word or Two about his relationship with literature and words. This is our third show together in the last five years. It's brilliant. What a privilege to go from Billy Crystal to Christopher Plummer!"

The director was sporting a dapper purple hat — "a little Sinatra," he characterized it, "from Worth & Worth on 57th Street — the last haberdasherie in New York, I think."


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