Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It, William Shatner’s new one-man show, is not the most challenging piece of theater you’re likely to see this year. You’ve probably also seen more inspired one-person shows. But it does make for a fun evening of personal reminiscing, trivia, video clips and old-fashioned humor along with one of his strange musical performances.
The show, which has been previously performed in Australia and Canada, is on Broadway for a bit more than two weeks prior to the launch of a national tour.
The 80-year-old, Canadian-born actor, who has become a pop-culture icon thanks to playing Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek television series (which, amazingly enough, lasted only three seasons) and Denny Crane on Boston Legal, began his career doing Shakespeare and even understudied Christopher Plummer in Henry V. He also claims to have turned a Broadway flop into a hit simply by yelling his lines.
Wearing a navy jacket and light blue jeans, Shatner makes for a congenial presence and is very expressive throughout. He did seem a bit jittery at first, mumbling some of his lines and fiddling with the microphone packet in his back pocket, but grew more relaxed as the 90-minute evening wore on.
Onstage he is joined by a few chairs (one of which he uses to simulate riding a horse) and a giant moon, on which short clips are shown from Star Trek (Captain Kirk dying), his Comedy Central roast (George Takei cursing him off) and presenting the AFI Life Achievement Award to George Lucas (part of a joke that he didn’t realize it was a Star Wars and not Star Trek event). For better or worse, Priceline was not included.
Shatner does not shy away from discussing some of the more serious incidents in his life, including the drowning of his wife, and he treats his medical issues with humor, noting that his kidney stone was purchased for no less than $75,000, which was then donated to Habitat for Humanity.
To cap off the evening, he performs a selection from Has Been, his latest album of spoken word and song, reiterating that he is a man who is not afraid of trying anything. Even doing Broadway after a 50-year absence.