Billy Crystal appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to discuss his return to Broadway in Mr. Saturday Night, a musical adaptation of the 1992 comedy he co-wrote, directed, and starred in.
The genesis "actually started many years ago when I was finishing my run with my one-man show, 700 Sundays," Crystal said of his Tony-winning hit. "Across from the show was The Producers, Mel Brooks' great show. We finished the run, it was very successful, and I was exhausted after doing 200 and something shows. And the phone rings and it's Mel, who's like an uncle to me."
Brooks first asked Crystal to join the cast of The Producers as Max. "I really don't want to be the fifth guy to play Max." Crystal said, "You won't be, you'll be the twelfth!" Brooks replied.
Then, Brooks also expressed his love for the film Mr. Saturday Night and said that could be a musical. "It stayed in my head all of these years," Crystal told Kimmel.
Now, Jason Robert Brown and Amanda Green are writing the score for his new musical, which comes to Broadway's Nederlander Theatre starting March 1, 2022. In the movie, Crystal plays Buddy Young Jr., a stand-up comedian whose career goes on a roller coaster of ups and downs. He's a 73-year-old comedian, which meant when Crystal played him, in his 40s, he went through hours of makeup each day.
For the musical, Crystal said, "Now, I just show up."