Shatner Kills at “Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It,” One Night Only Engagement at The Pantages Theater

Shatner-mania outside the Pantages.

Some Saturdays are certainly better than others, and this was one of them. Tonight, I had tickets to see William Shatner’s one-man show at the Pantages. I had been excited about it all week, so when the night finally arrived I actually hot rollered my hair and wore a short black dress. My boyfriend told me not to openly “nerd out,” so as my secret and personal concession to Star TrekI wore my black knee-high Starfleet-style boots, and accessorized with a sparkly beaded necklace that I imagined looked like planets that exist in strange new worlds, where no one had gone before. I was ready.

I don’t know what I expected when I got to the crowd gathering outside of the theater, but I suppose I was looking for at least a few old-fashioned Star Trek convention die-hards, garbed in their own innocently inaccurate versions of Starfleet attire. The only person I spotted that looked remotely un-theater-like was one guy wearing a Shatner t-shirt, and it wasn’t even Shatner as Captain Kirk, just Shatner’s face on a white background, which was a bit disappointing. There were a few celebrities out for the occasion: actor Christian Slater and an attractive brunette (who loudly complained that she was cold), Joe Walsh, former guitarist of The Eagles and a lovely older woman that I assumed was his wife, and, as the highlight of the evening, David Hasselhoff and a sexy blonde woman. Hasselhoff was wearing a fabulously loud purple suit, and while taking his seat at the front of the theater looked incredibly thin for someone so tall. The Hoff’s still got it, because when he finally smiled he looked like a million bucks, and you could hear people all around us whispering his name. At 8:15 the lights went down and the stage background, which resembled a star field, lit up completely. Then he walked in.

I haven’t been to many theater shows, but I’m pretty sure that most actors do not receive a standing ovation just for showing up. By the time Shatner strolled to center stage the excitement of the crowd was overflowing, and even the smarmy industry guys at my left who had been debating their five favorite foreign films joined in and stood. Shatner benevolently accepted his tribute, then began the show. In the style of one-man shows, Shatner’s was full of reminiscences about his childhood. This included the moment he decided to become an actor, and stories of ill-advised teenage adventures, like hitchhiking across America. There was a large video screen behind him, and occasionally an image would appear, to support his storytelling. When Shatner was speaking about his first role in Canadian Shakespearian theater, an early photo came up that made the entire crowd gasp: there on the screen in glorious black and white was a young, hungry and breathtakingly handsome William Shatner, throwing the photographer what can only be described as one of the sexiest smirks the world has ever known. Seriously, people applauded for the picture. The man is an institution.

By the middle of the show, Shatner had the crowd firmly in the palm of his hand. There weren’t many often-repeated anecdotes, as most Trek fans are used to hearing. The observations were fresh, self-depreciating, and delivered with great power and ebullient humor. One reminiscence was about a stallion that Shatner named Busephalus, after Alexander the Great’s horse. He talked about owning him for many years, up until the day that he had to have him put down. The story, with its half-whispered and tender delivery, made at least half of the audience cry. You could hear a pin drop. Five minutes later, Shatner had everyone laughing again. It really makes one believe that seeing young Shatner do Henry V in the 1950’s must have been absolutely electrifying. Seeing him on television is one thing, but in person, he’s something else entirely. The force of his personality is something to behold.

At the end of the show, Shatner discussed his superb album Has-Been, and, in the only singing portion of the evening, voiced a short verse of a song entitled: “Real.” It was a poignant choice, because it’s all about the fact that although Shatner frequently plays larger-than-life characters on TV and in films, he’s a real person, an “average Joe.” At almost exactly 10:00 p.m. the show was over, and Shatner gracefully accepted yet another standing ovation before leaving the stage. He was to remain at the Pantages, signing autographs and taking photos with VIP ticket holders for probably another few hours. Meanwhile, I was totally exhausted, and as soon as I got to my car abandoned any dinner plans and drove straight to Taco Bell. Now I’m at home and I’m completely wiped out…and I’m in my 30’s. Shatner is 81. Shatner may be many things, but he is not an “average Joe.” He’s amazing. What a treat.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Shatner Kills at “Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It,” One Night Only Engagement at The Pantages Theater”

  1. Salvador Presto says:

    More STAR TREK posts please, this is great!

  2. Dayna says:

    Hi Miss Smith,

    Just read your review of ‘Shatner’s World’ and enjoyed it very much. I totally agree with thethings your said about Mr. Shatner and his show. I was there, front row on Broadway watching an icon almost spittle on me and would have pointed to the spot and never would have washed my blazer again.

    I too enjoyed the show immensley, he’s amazing and his stage presence didn’t surprise me but thought he should’ve done more plays in his career, summer stock notwithstanding.

    Yes he is no average Joe for sure.

    All the best,

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress