Entertainment and TV icon Cindy Williams of “Laverne & Shirley” fame (she portrayed Shirley Feeney to Penny Marshall’s Laverne DeFazio) loves Las Vegas.
“I love Las Vegas. I always think of the city as running faster than me, and it made me slow down to a normal pace because I am always running and busy,” Williams said over the phone May 24 while her dog, Eddie, barked in the background.
“I love the city and all of its entertainment and the energy that it has. I love the people. They’re very friendly and fun and fun loving. I really do love the city.”
The charming, friendly and chatty Williams, who is in her second run performing in “Menopause the Musical” at Harrah’s Cabaret — it also is her fifth time in a “Menopause” production — also talked about the brilliant production, television and life in vibrant Las Vegas.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me this morning — I sincerely appreciate it.
It is my absolute pleasure, Don.
You’re about to mark one year with “Menopause the Musical” on the Las Vegas Strip. Tell me about your time here in Las Vegas.
I love Las Vegas. I always think of the city as running faster than me, and it made me slow down to a normal pace because I am always running and busy. I love the city and all of its entertainment and the energy that it has. I love the people. They’re very friendly and fun and fun loving. I really do love the city.
I believe that your current run is your fifth time performing in “Menopause the Musical” after stints in Tampa, Florida; Laguna Beach, California; and New Haven, Connecticut. What draws you to the production?
Don, it’s a whole lotta fun. I never get tired of it. I never get tired of watching the girls perform the show. They do all the heavy lifting — I have a small part that has been added for me. I have so much fun performing it. I watch the show every night, and I never get tired of it.
It’s funny, it’s lighthearted, and it’s totally entertaining. On a musical level, it satisfies on all levels. Audiences leave happier than when they arrived, with smiles on their faces. There is laughter throughout the entire show. It’s really great to be a part of this production.
How does the Las Vegas production compare to the other productions?
All the casts are seasoned professionals. They are singers and entertainers and professionals. None are less than superb. The cast here is brilliant — I can’t say enough about them. They are just wonderful. Male, female, young or old, the language of comedy transcends all categories.
The subject matter in “Menopause the Musical” is presented in a way that there is a commonality. This makes you laugh. You go away feeling great about yourself. It’s common human foibles. Everybody understands breaking out in a sweat, having a mood swing. Men, they understand their wives having a mood swing, breaking out in a sweat.
It becomes a common thing that comedy is put to, and the music parodies are fabulous. The execution is brilliant. Whether I’m up onstage or in the audience, I have a great time. It’s laugh-out-loud entertainment.
You recently extended your run in “Menopause the Musical” through Labor Day Weekend. Are you certain that you want to be here in the summer heat again?
Oh, heck, I’m here in the heat right now. I live in Palms Springs, so I’m used to it. Los Angeles and Southern California have heat, so I’m used to it. It was cool in Las Vegas when I first arrived. Even last night, there was a nice breeze while I was walking the dogs. I do love it here.
People have taken me around. It’s thrilling! The city is amazing, and so are the people. Everyone comes here, and they want to come here. You really do live in an iconic city. So is L.A., but Las Vegas is international.
Have you seen any shows in Las Vegas? Any favorites?
I’ve seen David Copperfield’s show — it’s fantastic. I’m still trying to contemplate one of the illusions, but it’s like trying to contemplate infinity. I love “Composers Showcase.” We’re only off Sundays. I think that I’ve seen Cher — at least I’ve imagined it in my mind! I am ashamed that I haven’t seen more shows, but it’s tough when you have only Sundays off.
I wanted to ask you two television-related questions, as you’re an entertainment and television legend: Are there any programs on television that are on your must-watch list?
(Pauses) I watch “Mindhorn,” a Netflix original. It’s so funny — so fabulous. I love Jimmy Fallon — I love that kind of humor. I used to watch “King of Queens” — I loved the cast and the comedy in it, the rhythm of it. “Modern Family” is funny.
You’re probably asked about this all the time, but how about another “Laverne & Shirley” reunion?
Oh, Don, where would it take place now, a convalescent home?! We did reunion shows, and I suggested a movie of the week, but nobody listened to me. We shot on Tuesday nights, and the show aired Tuesday nights, so on the occasions that Penny and I would watch the shows together, during reunions, there are some episodes that we’ve never seen. Looking at them as an audience member rather than in them is very strange.
It has been such a pleasure talking with you this morning. Final question: What do you do for fun in Las Vegas when you’re not working?
I have great plans every week for Sunday when I’m off, but I can’t move because I’m so tired from the other six days. I want to write more. I wrote this little book called “Shirley, I Jest! A Storied Life.” It is anecdotes, nothing salacious or kiss and tell. I should be awake early on Sundays walking the dogs, going to church, then coming home and writing, where I can express myself in a correct rhythm and edit myself.
I have to say that with the entertainers in Las Vegas, it’s a mutual admiration society here versus L.A., where it’s a foot race to the finish line. It is very competitive in L.A. versus the brotherhood, the sisterhood, the family here. Everyone encourages everybody. Las Vegas is not without competition, but the people here are who and what entertainment should be — an ensemble.
“Menopause the Musical” is at Harrah’s Cabaret from Mondays through Saturdays, dark Sundays. Go to Caesars.com for show times.