Find of the Day: Billy Crystal in “Ubu” and “Arden of Faversham”


Program for “Ubu” and “Arden of Faversham” (1970) [OBJ.1970.0046]

Here’s another one for the “famous people who got their start at La MaMa” files.

In 1970, Billy Crystal was a BFA student at New York University, having moved to the city to be with his future wife, Janice, after briefly attending Marshall University on a baseball scholarship. Before graduating and marrying that summer,  Crystal made his stage debut at La MaMa, performing in a double bill of shows directed by Andrei Serban, featuring Alfred Jarry’s “Ubu” and the Elizabethan “Arden of Haversham.”

In this excerpt from a NY Post article about  Crystal’s popular one-man Broadway show, “700 Sundays,” Crystal describes his first encounter with critic Clive Barnes: “I played a toy soldier with a tall red hat and rouge circles on my cheeks. Andrei [Serban] put me in a garbage can. I was a broken toy. And as I was sitting in that garbage can, the audience began to come in, and I saw Clive Barnes. And I thought, ‘Oh, no — this is not how we should meet.’”

In the program at left, take a look at Crystal’s first-ever theatrical billing (alongside a roster of La MaMa-stars), as Bill Crystal.

–Suzanne Lipkin


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