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.