The stage musical adaptation of the film Mr. Saturday Night that just opened at the Nederlander Theater is exactly what you’d expect. Billy Crystal turns in the kind of stellar live performance only he can in a so-so show with a pleasant score. Light on drama and heavy on punchlines, fans of Crystal will go home happy and the production is likely to run as long as he headlines.
New York Times Review of Mr. Saturday Night
As a piece of theater, the show is a bit of a mess; the jokes, even some of the hoary ones, work better than the storytelling, and the acting styles are all over the place. Still, it makes for a diverting evening — because it will almost surely make you laugh, and because of how acutely tuned into the audience Crystal is. Ad-libbing his way through the script, fine-tuning the funniness, he feeds off the energy of the crowd at the Nederlander Theater. … Crystal is utterly in his element performing live. If you are a fan of his, or simply someone who has missed that kind of symbiosis between actor and audience, it’s a pleasure to watch. The musical, though, is an ungainly beast, by turns zany and sentimental. … This is a musical that wants its guy to get a happy ending. Despite all of the show’s faults, and all of Buddy’s, it turns out that so do we.
Variety Review of Mr. Saturday Night
The end result is certainly the funniest show on Broadway in years, if not the most likable. Look for a healthy run, at least with headliner Crystal, who last packed houses with his autobiographical show “700 Sundays.” And with composer Jason Robert Brown and lyricist Amanda Green supplying one of the most appealing and disarming scores in some time, what’s not to like? … With a core cast of five including a terrific trio of sketch performers — Jordan Gelber, Brian Gonzales and Mylinda Hull, playing a slew of characters — it’s clearly not a show about size, scope and production values. It’s about the music, the performances and, ultimately, the comedy. … But Crystal makes us see that even with flawed heroes, there still can be music in the laughs.
Deadline Review of Mr. Saturday Night
You might feel like you’ve already seen Mr. Saturday Night the musical even if you’ve never seen Mr. Saturday Night the movie, and whether you find that comforting – Billy Crystal certainly is one of the most likable presences in all of show business – or disappointing might depend entirely on your taste for well-delivered Borsht Belt comedy. That’s not damning with faint praise: Mr. Saturday Night, the Broadway musical opening tonight at the Nederlander Theatre based on the 1992 comedy, is, at its best, a charming showcase for the undeniable talents of both Crystal and the showbiz icons he adores. … The pleasant score by Jason Robert Brown and Amanda Green keeps things light, putting all that much heavier a dramatic burden on a book (by Crystal, Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel) that can’t quite carry it. Buddy’s career comeback isn’t assured – and never entirely credible, come what may – but the familial reconciliations are as predictable and welcome as a joke that always makes you laugh.
New York Post Review of Mr. Saturday Night
Over at the Nederlander Theatre is Billy Crystal’s joke-stuffed new musical “Mr. Saturday Night,” which opened Wednesday and puts the followspot on old-school yuks. Hearty laughs. The glorious punchlines that have eluded most new musicals are here knocked outta the park by a master. I’ll have what Billy’s having. The 74-year-old actor is in tremendous form and the generous showman persona we love him for, not to mention his god-like timing, is allowed to go bananas. He’s made some dud films lately, but this is Crystal reliving his “When Harry Met Sally” prime. … There’s one thing to kvetch about with “Mr. Saturday Night”: it would be better as a straight play than a song-and-dance show. Jason Robert Brown has composed a bland point-A-to-point-B score that’s not as hilarious or textured as the text. Similar to “Tootsie” before it, the star here is the scenes, not the tunes. But, oh, those scenes. Where else on Broadway can you find Billy Crystal leading an audience in a chant of “OY VEY! OY VEY!”?
TimeOut Review of Mr. Saturday Night
Billy Crystal talks loudly and carries a big shtick in Mr. Saturday Night, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. … Crystal has adapted the book from his own screenplay with his original writing partners, Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel; the new score features jaunty tunes by Jason Robert Brown and lightly blue lyrics by Amanda Green. The songs fulfill their brief efficiently or better, and Crystal sings credibly within his range, buttressed well by Broadway-musical veterans. … Everything about it is resolutely old-fashioned—in some ways it’s a celebration of oldness itself—and it’s not long on drama. … But it delivers exactly what it promises: Crystal, completely in his element, with a crowd that is more than happy to buy what he’s selling.