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Crystal Blue Persuasion

Billy Crystal’s book “Still Foolin’ ’Em” — a collection of autobiographical riffs on aging, growing up on Long Island in the ’50s, establishing friendships with Muhammad Ali and Mickey Mantle and getting punched in the stomach by Joe DiMaggio — hit the best-seller list immediately when it came out in September. Yet it hasn’t eclipsed his earlier memoir “700 Sundays,” which was based on the Tony-winning one-man show, a look back at his childhood and in particular his father, who died when Crystal was 15. (The title refers to the number of Sundays Billy spent with his dad.) And now that show is returning to Broadway. Previews begin this week, to be followed by a limited run, through January 5. As the title suggests, “700 Sundays” is unabashedly sentimental — back in 2004, New York Times critic Ben Brantley wrote something to the effect that Crystal made Neil Simon look like Eugene O’Neill. Still, it’s a safe bet that the revival will be funny as well as heartfelt, peppered with the comic timing and showbiz bounce that made Crystal such a crowd-pleaser back when he hosted the Oscars. — John Birmingham

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