700 Sundays


Caught the dress rehearsal for the Toronto engagement of Billy Crystal's Tony winning one man show 700 Sundays last night. I had high expectations. I'm a fan. In fact, I own Mr. Saturday Night on DVD. Nobody liked that movie. That is how highly I think of Billy Crystal.

700 Sundays is described as a one-person performance / autobiographical journey in which Crystal plays numerous characters that have influenced who he is today. It deals with his childhood, his teenage years, and finally adulthood.

The writing is sharp and moving at once with the only slight misstep happening during a moment that makes fun of President Bush and feels forced. Don't get me wrong, it's funny and I'm all for making fun at the expense of the POTUS these days, but it just doesn't sit right within the, let's say "fabric" of the show.

The most interesting thing about this show is that I think everyone who sees it will find something in the story or performance that makes them think "Billy Crystal wrote this show just for me". For a lot of folks it will be finding common ground in the stories about his Jewish upbringing. For others it will be the stories of loss and love. For me, it's the Yankees, Jazz and Comedy. Three of the things that I happen to be most passionate about are three of the things Billy Crystal feels passionate about. Common ground. A wonderful way to build a connection with your audience.

in addition, Billy Crystal displays the type of effortless, easygoing rapport with the audience that many performers can strive a lifetime to perfect, proving himself a genuine theatre star. He learned well from Sammy Davis Jr.

This is truly masterful storytelling. How he will be able to concentrate given the state of the pennant race and the impending high holidays, I'll never know, but the man's a pro. I loved every minute of it and plan to go back for opening night tonight.

700 Sundays runs for only 12 performances at Toronto's Canon Theatre.
Tickets are available through Ticketking at 416-872-1212.

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