Billy Crystal’s “700 Sundays,” one of the most-acclaimed and highest-grossing plays in Broadway history, comes to HBO. Taped before a live audience at the Imperial Theatre in New York, BILLY CRYSTAL 700 SUNDAYS debuts SATURDAY, APRIL 19 (9:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT).
“Billy Crystal has been a beloved member of the HBO family for more than three decades,” says Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming. “It’s thrilling to us that he decided to let us film this legendary theatrical event.”
An autobiographical journey, “700 Sundays” is an original two-act play in which Crystal plays numerous characters who have influenced who he is today, dealing with his youth, growing up in the jazz world of Manhattan, his teenage years and, finally, adulthood. It is about family and fate, loving and loss.
Says Crystal, “I am thrilled to be back home at HBO. I always felt this would be the last time I would perform ‘700 Sundays.’ Taping it so more people can see the play is very exciting. Most importantly, my grandchildren and others to come will get to know about our family and its unique history.”
Crystal was pronounced “The King of Broadway” by the New York Post following the Broadway debut of “700 Sundays,” which broke the house record for highest weekly gross at the Broadhurst Theatre in its opening week, and continued to top its own record in subsequent weeks.
Reviewing “700 Sundays” in 2004, Clive Barnes wrote, “He’s as dazzling as Chaplin on a good day,” observing “This is not a one-man show – it’s a one-man phenomenon.” New York’s Daily News called it “seat-shakingly funny,” while the New York Post hailed him as a “master entertainer,” saying, “Billy Crystal gives a master class in pacing and storytelling,” and the Hollywood Reporter called the show “an artful blend of humor and emotional heft.”
“700 Sundays” won the 2005 Tony Award for Special Theatrical Event, as well as 2005 Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle awards. Following his Broadway run, Crystal played sold-out engagements of “700 Sundays” across the U.S., and then took the show to Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, where it won the 2007 Helpmann Award for Best Special Event.
BILLY CRYSTAL 700 SUNDAYS will be Crystal’s sixth HBO solo special, following “On Location,” “A Comics Line,” “Don’t Get Me Started,” “The Lost Minutes” and “Midnight Train to Moscow,” the first American comedy special of the modern era to be shot in the then-Soviet Union. In addition, he hosted nine “Comic Relief” benefit specials with Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams, created and wrote the series “Sessions” and executive produced the HBO Films presentation “61*,” which he also directed, receiving Emmy® and Directors Guild nominations.
Among his TV other credits, Crystal has hosted the Academy Awards® nine times and the Grammy Awards three times, was a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” and starred in the comedy series “Soap.” His feature films include “City Slickers,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “Analyze This,” “The Princess Bride,” “Throw Momma from the Train,” “Parental Guidance,” “Mr. Saturday Night,” “Running Scared,” “Deconstructing Harry,” “America’s Sweethearts,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “Monsters University.”
A six-time Emmy® winner, he received the 2007 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Crystal is also a New York Times bestselling author who has written five books, including his recent memoir “Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys?”
The HBO special BILLY CRYSTAL 700 SUNDAYS is executive produced by Larry Magid, David Steinberg, Billy Crystal and Janice Crystal; directed by Des McAnuff.