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First staged in the Berkshires, Billy Crystal’s ‘Mr. Saturday Night’ nominated for top Tony Award

Billy Crystal appears onstage during the Broadway opening night curtain call of "Mr. Saturday Night" at the Nederlander Theatre.Greg Allen/Greg Allen/Invision/AP

Nominees for the 2022 Tony Awards were announced on Monday morning, and one production that’s up for best musical saw its first audience on a Massachusetts stage.

Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield was the first theater to present “Mr. Saturday Night,” a musical created by and starring legendary actor Billy Crystal. The musical tells the story of the rise and fall of a stand-up comedian named Buddy Young Jr. and is an adaptation of Crystal’s 1992 film of the same name.

Now on Broadway, the production was first workshopped at the Western Massachusetts theater and saw a two-week run and nine sold-out performances at the end of October, according to Barrington Stage artistic director Julianne Boyd.

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“It was fantastically successful,” Boyd told the Globe over the phone. “Seeing Billy Crystal in the Berkshires? Our patrons were so excited. To know our theater attracts that talent is wonderful.”

The show saw its world premiere on April 27 at the Nederlander Theatre in New York City. But before hitting Broadway, shows often get a run at an out-of-state venue like Barrington Stage.

“Billy wanted to see how funny it was,” she said, adding that the show’s director John Rando is a friend of hers and helped bring the production to Pittsfield. “There’s minimal sets and costumes, but it’s a great opportunity to hear what works and what doesn’t — whether the jokes are landing.”

Boyd, who cofounded Barrington Stage and is set to retire in September, said the Tony nomination felt like a good way to cap off almost 30 years with the theater.

“It’s also great to move towards a full season in my final year,” Boyd said, touching on how Barrington Stage saw abbreviated seasons over the last two years because of the pandemic. “We’re so hospitable to new shows. Our audiences love to see this.”

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“Mr. Saturday Night” was among six titles nominated in the category of best musical, including “Girl from the North Country,” “MJ,” “Paradise Square,” “Six: The Musical,” and “A Strange Loop.” Crystal was also nominated as best lead actor in a musical. Winners will be announced June 12 on CBS.




Brittany Bowker can be reached at brittany.bowker@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @brittbowker and on Instagram @brittbowker.