The full title of the rather genial 90-minute solo show that has just touched down at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre is Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It. William Shatner, the writer and performer, is Star Trek’s original Captain Kirk. An admirably hale 80, the actor reveals that in the summer of 1969, after spending three seasons injecting frontier spirit into the galactic void, he was so broke he had to do summer stock theatre on Long Island. He remembers lying with a telly on his belly, staring at Neil Armstrong’s Moon walk and musing: “In some small, tiny way, I’d added to this moment.”
Shatner’s show, which tours the US after its Music Box run ends on March 4, also, in some small, tiny way, doses the current Broadway season with something for all the nerds among us. One would think that the command centre of over-amped show tunes would offer never-ending stimulation to nerds, but Broadway generally provides sustenance more for devotees of Glee than for those transfixed by the Syfy channel.
Shatner supplies some fun facts about his life: childhood in Montreal, commerce degree from McGill, a bustling early movie and TV career. The actor, whose later small-screen activity includes Boston Legal and a show proving that hit Twitter feeds don’t necessarily translate to prime time ($#*! My Dad Says), is selective about Star Trek. He thinks George Takei – aka Mr Sulu – hates him, and omits mention of Leonard Nimoy. He acknowledges some of the endless warping (six TV shows, 11 feature films) that the franchise has undergone, going so far as to project on the Broadway set’s huge globe an interview he did with the later captain played by Patrick Stewart.
Directed by Scott Faris, Shatner’s World does not furnish a very coherent structure for autobiography. Dressed in jeans, grey waistcoat and dark jacket, the actor free associates about his life in a way more appropriate to a convention of rapt Trekkies than to an audience of Broadway tourists, some of whom may have never heard of the Vulcan mating drive known as pon farr. No matter: they will come away knowing what Shatner, an avid equestrian and generally companionable fellow, thinks about the details of putting a stallion to stud. Horse semen, anyone?