Back to Central Plaza: Dancing in Jack Crystal Theater – A Celebration for the Father of Billy Crystal

Today was beyond surreal honoring Joel, Rip, and Billy Crystal‘s father in the naming of the Jack Crystal Theater at 111 Second Avenue. This theater holds great importance and incredible history… It was Samantha’s home theater while she studied at New York University/Tisch Dance and it was the first “School of the Arts” at NYU (before it became “Tisch-ed”, as Billy put it) where Billy studied acting starting in ’68. Most importantly before all of this, it was the Central Plaza where Billy’s father, Jack Crystal, led swing dance and music evenings from 1948-1963. Learning more about Jack, we wish we could have met him. He was an established jazz promoter and producer at the time and was friends with the greats. He was a forerunner in integrating musicians during a very tough and segregated America. Jack was widely respected and seemed like a wonderful man. It was an honor to dance to the band assembled by Wynton Marsalis to take the guests back to that time when it was Jack’s club. We are so grateful to have received the opportunity to share what we love to do for such a sentimental and important occasion.

Watch Billy Crystal’s segment on the Today Show below and watch for our literal two seconds of fame at 2:35!

>> Click here to be directed to our post recalling the last time our world collided with Billy Crystal honoring his father Jack. Billy was the host and we were dancers at the Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala 2014!

Links to additional press regarding this special occasion (more to come):
NYU Press | NYU Tisch Renames Theater in Memory of Beloved Jazz Figure Jack Crystal, Father of Billy Crystal

Samantha and Brian Lawton - NYC Swing and Lindy Hop Dancers - Billy Crystal Honors Father Jack Crystal - Today Show - 111 Second Ave