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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Billy Crystal, William Shatner and the one-man show

We saw a Fathom event tonight, one of their "one night only" shows presented in a movie theater, a pseudo-theatrical experience.  We won the tickets, didn't pay for them.  The show was a bit disappointing, but you can't complain too much if it's free. . .

Two years ago, Drew and I spent a delightful evening on Broadway, we saw "Shatner's World:We Just Live In It", William Shatner's one-man autobiographical show.  He's had an interesting life - business student at McGill in his native Montreal, Shakespearean actor in Toronto's premier company, fairly successful in movies and on a Broadway before becoming a TV icon . . .he's a good storyteller, and the stories he told took us from laughter to tears and back again.  Afterwards we stood at the stage door  to cheer for him and to try and capture a photo.

So when we heard Shatner planned to film the show and present it as a Fathom event, we were definitely interested.  And when Drew won a pair of tickets . . .

"700 Sundays".  That's the name of Billy Crystal's one-man show.   It's all about his life growing up onLong island and his relationship with his family,  I really wanted to see it when it first ran on Broadway in 2004, but never got the chance.  He brought the show back to Broadway last year, but again . . .

He taped it for HBO, and it's been running every day since it premiered last weekend.  And I've been living it.  Not just the stand up comedy ( which is hysterical), but also the sad parts, the stories about his father dying . . . The parts that made me cry.

Which is why Shatner's Fathom event was so disappointing.

He changed this show a bit since we saw it two years ago.  He still tells funny stories about his career, still gets laughs, still entertains.  There's some new material, he's promoting a new album he recorded after his Broadway run . . .

But he cut some material, too.  On Broadway he told two very sad stories, one about a horse and another about his wife who died.  In tonight's performance, he told part of the horse story, but left out the heartbreaking ending.  And while he alluded to his late wife, he didn't tell that story.

In other words, he ripped the heart out of the show.  All the funny stories feed Shatner's ego.  The sad stories made him seem more human.

I don't suppose I would have been so disappointed if I hadn't seen the stage production.  Or if I hadn't seen Billy Crystal's show so recently.

I mean, I enjoyed the show, but I really wanted more . . .

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