January 27, 2016
Wendy Thompson, Editor
Aaron Donofrio, Writer/Assistant Editor
In the Spotlight with Wendy Thompson
From portraying Captain Kirk in “Star Trek” sitcoms and movies to portraying Denny Crane in “Boston Legal”, William Shatner has always been a showman of entertainment for the public at large, regardless of their tastes. Now, Shatner is back stronger than ever, but this time with a hit Broadway show: “Shatner’s World”. He explains his one-man show as, “very funny, amusing; it’ll bring a tear to your eyes, but mostly it’s entertaining.” Shatner sat down with “In the Spotlight” host Wendy Thompson to talk about his latest adventure.
Wendy Thompson: What made you want to go to Broadway?
William Shatner: “I started off in the theatre for years. I did Shakespeare, and then I went to Broadway, and then went into movies. As time went by, I closed a Broadway show at the Music Box and people would ask me if I would be in a play, but it required six months. I didn’t have six months. So with time, I thought I would never do Broadway again. Where upon, I got an offer to take this one-man show to the Music Box. So there I was opening up on Broadway as I thought I never would. So it’s am apposition of ‘never say never.’”
Thompson: How is it that you always end up in situations like those [I Love Lucy moments]?
Shatner: “Maybe it happens to everybody, and they just don’t realize it. Or maybe it’s just happening to me and I’m required to tell them. I mean, things are happening all the time, like if I did I would include a new story like being hugged by a monkey, you know. The various things that happen, I say to the person next to me, ‘Do you realize what just happened?’ So I call that the aspects of my life. I’ve made a two-hour show out of it, and as you say, we’ll laugh a lot and cry, and we’ll just have a good time.”
Thompson: Where did you get your humor?
Shatner: “I don’t know. I do know that I look at the world at a [different]stance. We’re all participants of the giant joke… We all think we will live forever and we’re going to die momentarily, and our life is meaningful, where it really isn’t. We have our self importance [in places]when we’re not. It’s a joke coming on that you can only be aware of every so often, because if you live with it, you’ll go insane. So I think that twisted aspect is a part of my personality.”
Thompson: You’re an actor, a producer, singer, an equestrian. What haven’t you done that you want to do?
Shatner: “Well I’ve never talked to you about this show. So I’ve filled that bucket list. But I don’t know what I’m going to do next. There’s so much life is filled with: mystery and enterprise, and things to do, and things to discover, and there isn’t enough time. I’m so sorry for people that feel that life is dull and boring. I’ve written books to encourage them not to feel that way, to find ways of doing something else to make their lives more meaningful to them. And one of the ways is to come to the Warner Theater on February 4th and see “Shatner’s World”. It’ll encourage you.”
Thompson: Leonard Nimoy (Spock from “Star Trek”) recently died. What was your fondest memory of him?
Shatner: “He was my dearest friend, and I’ve written a book, which is coming out in a couple of weeks, which is called “Leonard: My 50-year Friendship with a Remarkable Man”. My thesis is that men have trouble making friends…the kind of deep, deep friendship we’re talking about than women do. I don’t know whether that’s cultural or a nature [thing]. Now I’m not sure. For me at least, it’s the difficulty of making that heartfelt friend. And when he died, I had all the memories and sensations [that]died with him. I have no one to validate for what we did. There’s no response since he passed…I talk about what a wonderful and lovely man he was [in the book], and I miss him everyday.”
Thompson: Every child wanted to be Captain Kirk or Mr. Spock growing up, but what did you want to be when you were growing up?
Shatner: “I never not wanted to be an actor. I started when I was a really young child, and I did children’s plays. I’ve never done anything. Never driven a cab. I’ve never waited tables. I’ve never dropped a check for unemployment. All I’ve done is something about making somebody laugh or cry…In the early years just my parents [laughed or cried].”
Thompson: You’re probably the happiest man I have ever met or known.
Shatner: “Well picture yourself. I’m an old man, and I feel thirty. I’ve got my health. I’ve got love around me. I’ve got work, creative work. I’m more creative now than I’ve ever been, and I just make each day kind of ‘I can’t wait to do something.’ Whether it’s ride a horse or tell a joke. And how awful it would be to regret anything. I’m lucky, and I don’t know how lucky I am, because health is the genesis of everything. My health is good. Health is something you can take care of, but it’s also a matter of luck. If you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, you can get a germ, or something worse. So I’m grateful for that singular fact of my health.”
Thompson: Years from now, when you’re getting to the end of your life, what do you want your friends and colleagues to say about you?
Shatner: “I want them to say, ‘I can’t believe he’s still alive.’”
Embarking on a new journey, Shatner looks forward to doing his shows over the next year. He’ll be performing in major cities including: San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and many others. Shatner will be appearing at the Warner Theater on February 4, at 8pm in Washington, D.C. His future show times can be found at Shatnersworld.com.