5 Things to Know About Mr. Saturday Night Ahead of Its Streaming Premiere

5 Things to Know About Mr. Saturday Night Ahead of Its Streaming Premiere

Broadway's Mr. Saturday Night, a musical adaptation based on the 1992 film of the same name is the latest Broadway production to be filmed and released to streaming. While we are still waiting on the release of several musicals that were filmed long before Mr. Saturday Night (such as Waitress and Girl From The North Country), it took the team behind the live capture of Mr. Saturday Night just 3 months to get the show ready for its streaming premiere.

The musical, which opened last April at Broadway's Netherlander Theatre (where Rent was filmed back in 2008) ran for 116 performances before closing on September 4th. Billy Crystal returned to the role he created in the film of stand-up comedian Buddy Young, Jr, who takes one last shot at reclaiming the spotlight some 40 years after he hit the top.

Crystal co-wrote, directed, and starred in the comedy about the borscht-belt comedian whose abrasive ego eclipses his success and alienates his family. 

With the musical coming to streaming December 1st, here are 5 facts to know about Mr. Saturday Night:


1. 2021 Tryout


The initial idea to turn Mr. Saturday Night into a musical was actually Mel Brooks', who approached Billy Crystal about turning the film into a stage production back in 2005. It was only a decade later when Crystal began seriously considering the adaptation.

Following multiple workshops, the musical's cast shrank from 20 people to a more intimate group of eight, which made the creative team "discover the real heart of the show", per Crystal. 

The March 2020 shutdown halted work on the show which in turn delayed the planned world premiere of the musical. It took more than a year to assemble the creatives back together and finally open the show at Barrington Stage Company in October 2021. Performances ran October 22–24 and 26–30 at BSC’s Boyd-Quinson Stage in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

While such a short run is not very common for a Broadway tryout, the run was seen as an extension to the last workshop the musical had, with advertising clearly mentioning the show is "in development". 

For the Broadway transfer, 6 songs were cut and 5 new ones were added. Most of the eight-person cast remained with the show except for Shoshana Bean who stepped into the role of Susan Young, played by Alysha Umphress in Barrington.


2. Jason Robert Brown


In 2019, Billy Crystal enlisted Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist Jason Robert Brown and Tony-nominated lyricist Amanda Green as collaborators on the musical.

Jason Robert Brown was hailed as “one of Broadway’s smartest and most sophisticated songwriters since Stephen Sondheim” (Philadelphia Inquirer), with The New York Times referring to Jason as “a leading member of a new generation of composers who embody high hopes for the American musical.”

His major musicals as composer and lyricist include: “13”, which opened on Broadway in 2008 and was subsequently made into a Netflix original movie; “The Last Five Years”, which won Drama Desk Awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics; “Parade, and “Songs for a New World,” a theatrical song cycle which has since been seen in hundreds of productions around the world since its 1995 Off-Broadway debut.

Together with original screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, Crystal has put together a team that was shepherded by the Nederlander Organization.

In an interview for BroadwayDirect, Brown said: "I think what, what Amanda and I were charged to do in a lot of ways was to build a musical with people who didn’t know how musicals necessarily work....we spent a lot of time both trying to sort of analyze the scenes as they existed and then to try and say in a musical world, we can do this with it, we can make it move in this way, we can make the songs do this job as opposed to just the characters going to sing a song here...and for these writers who have been TV and movie writers for 40 years and are immensely gifted at that, that was an adjustment for them, that they took on very eagerly, but that, that was continually our role was, “you’ve written this great scene. What do we do to make it a piece of musical theater? How does that work?”


3. Shoshana Bean


Twenty years after making her Broadway debut in the original cast of Hairspray, Shoshana Bean joined the Broadway cast of Mr. Saturday Night and earned her first Tony Award nomination — as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Susan.

The musical marks Bean’s first time originating a role on Broadway after being a notable replacement for both Elphaba in Wicked and Jenna in Waitress.

In an interview for BroadwayDirect, Bean talked about the audition process for the role: "My first audition was in November [2021]. I put myself on tape and then had a couple in-person work sessions with Billy in Los Angeles, which were so magical and special....I remember feeling obviously very nervous driving up to the house. I’m about to meet this living legend who I feel like has been with me for my whole life because of his movies. As I was driving up, I remember thinking, “Oh, he’s just family, though. He’s a Jewish grandfather. You know him, you have him in your family, this shouldn’t feel weird.”


4. 2022 Tony Awards


Mr. Saturday Night was nominated for 14 different awards during the 2022 Broadway season, including 5 Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Book, Best Original Score, Best Actor (for Crystal), and Best Featured Actress (for Bean).

During the 2022 telecast, the cast performed a medley of "Stick Around" and "A Little Joy".


5. Broadway Cast Recording and Live Capture

For a musical that ran on Broadway for a little over 100 performances, Mr. Saturday Night has been very well documented: A cast album of the Broadway production was recorded early in the run and released on all streaming platforms in June. The album was produced by Craft Recordings and Concord Theatricals.

In his BroadwayWorld review of the album, Stephen Mosher said: "The Cast Album does a skillful job at bringing the listener into the play currently showing at the Nederlander Theatre on Broadway, an experience this writer had recently, just three days before the Tony Awards. The play is designed to bring joy and happiness to audiences, a task at which it is succeeding, and that joy is communicated not only through Brown and Green's score but by album producing that protects that score."

The cast album can be streamed through our Mr. Saturday Night page.

After posting a closing notice in July, producers reached an agreement with BroadwayHD to film the production before it closes at the Netherlander Theatre in September. The live capture was done during the show's last week of performances and will be available worldwide starting December 1st, 2022.


Honorable Mention: The 1992 Film

The Broadway musical is not only based on the 1992 film of the same name, but also features two of the original cast members who reunited for the stage version: Billy Crystal (Buddy Young, Jr.) and David Paymer (Stan Yankleman).

While we await the release of the live capture of the Broadway adaptation, you can stream the original 1992 movie the musical is based on!