Billy Crystal play is coming to the Wilshire Theatre

Billy Crystal will bring his one-man memory play, “700 Sundays,” to the Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills from Jan. 6 to Feb. 18.

The show, written by Crystal with additional material by his friend Alan Zweibel, centers on his family, recounting memories of growing up on Long Island and mixing with jazz notables.

Taking its title from the number of free days Crystal had with his hardworking dad, who died when he was 15, “700 Sundays” set box-office records during a seven-month limited run on Broadway that ended in June. It won this year’s Tony Award for best special theatrical event.

“I prefer doing this to almost anything,” Crystal said by phone Thursday from Toronto, where he had just begun a tour of “700 Sundays” that proceeds to Boston, Chicago and San Francisco before reaching L.A. The play originated in a series of 2004 rehearsals in a small theater at Pepperdine University, as Crystal, who lives in Pacific Palisades, shaped his material with director Des McAnuff. “I play 35 characters, everybody from my parents and grandparents to Mickey Mantle and Billie Holiday. It’s the best part I’ve had in my whole life.”


He says he knew from the first public workshop performances last year at the La Jolla Playhouse, where McAnuff is artistic director, that the story of a jazz- and baseball-loving Long Island Jewish kid would translate wherever he might take it: “Family is family. It’s universal in its themes.”

Tickets cost $40 to $95.

-- Mike Boehm