‘Shatner’s World’ coming to WVU Creative Arts Center in Morgantown

January 9 2014


“This is Bill Shatner. I’m delighted to speak with you.”
William Shatner’s mellifluous voice could have lent itself to a sterling career as a Shakespearean actor in Canada, where the Montreal native got his start in plays such as “Henry V.”
Instead, his chiseled looks and dulcet tones helped land him the seat in the captain’s chair aboard the Starship Enterprise, catapulting him into an occupational orbit that allowed him to boldly go where few have gone before.
From pop cultural icon thanks to his role as Capt. James T. Kirk to crooner with his own unique taken on songs such as Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” from Priceline pitchman to Twitter commentator, nobody has achieved fame and carved out a career in quite the same way as Shatner.
He will bring his experiences and perspective to a one-man show, “Shatner’s World,” that he will perform at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15 at the West Virginia University Creative Arts Center in Morgantown.
“It will make you laugh and it will make you cry, sometimes both at the same time,” Shatner promised in a telephone interview from Los Angeles.
The show also will feature Shatner singing a different type of tune, one called “Real,” written by West Virginia native and Shatner buddy Brad Paisley. Shatner had humorous appearances in Paisley’s music videos for “Celebrity” and “Online.”
“I met him on a western country radio show doing publicity,” Shatner said. “We met and remained friends. The families see each other fairly often.”
He was in Australia when he got the idea for the “Shatner’s World” after he was asked to perform for an audience.
“I didn’t think I had enough material to spend an hour and a half being fascinating, but I gave it a shot,” he said.
He ended up touring Australia and Canada, “rewriting as I went along,” and opened on Broadway in 2012 for a brief run before going on tour this year.
A review in the Huffington Post said Shatner “flits between self and self-parody,” tracing his life “from growing up in Canada to acting alongside Christopher Plummer to ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Boston Legal’ to his musical career.”
Shatner famously mocked obsessive “Star Trek” fans in a 1986 “Saturday Night Live” skit, telling them to “Get a life!” and then writing a book with the same title.
But he holds no ill will toward the fame he gained as the captain of the Starship Enterprise.
“I’m talking to you today because of ‘Star Trek,'” he said. “Everything I have achieved since then has flowed from that and I’m very grateful.”
As for the reviews of his 1970s spoken-word rendition of “Rocket Man,” Shatner professes not to have seen “Family Guy” animated character Stewie Griffin’s spot-on interpretation, viewable on YouTube, although he references the TV show’s creator, who also voices Stewie.
“Seth MacFarlane and I have a nodding acquaintance, so I’m sure he’s up to no good,” he said with a laugh.
And his assessment for turning from the universe to the Twitterverse — which he has used to carry on a “Star Trek” vs. “Star Wars” battle with Carrie Fisher — sounds similar to the reason for putting on a show such as “Shatner’s World.”
“It’s part of keeping in touch with the audience,” he said. “I try to find things we’re all interested in. I’m dealt a sizable audience there and my hope is to maintain and increase it and keep in touch with people and find out what people are looking for.”
William Shatner will perform “Shatner’s World,” (shatnersworld.com) at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at the WVU Creative Arts Center in Morgantown. Tickets $153 to $46. Call (304) 293-SHOW or www.events.wvu.edu.