James T. Kirk has been voyaging through my head since I was about ten years old, ambassador for a Technicolor, offbeat, promising, and very American future that caught my very British imagination in about 1968 and has never quite let go. But the only time I had ever seen William Shatner — the real McCoy, so not to speak — in the flesh was in a New York City steakhouse a few years back. It was a brush with nostalgia and a certain askew greatness, and it was not enough.
Under the circumstances, the hundred-minute one-man show that Shatner launched on Broadway this February (his first appearance there for half a century), and which traveled the country for the next couple of months, was not to be missed. An Away Team was assembled in midtown Manhattan. Only one of its members (no, not this writer) was wearing a Starfleet shirt. We headed to 45th Street and found the entrance of a theater festooned with Shatnerabilia and filled with carbon-based life forms who had probably made their first contact with Star Trek in the dark era somewhere between the last of the original series and the first of the movies (and no, the cartoons don’t count). For an extra couple of hundred dollars, it would have been possible to meet Shatner in person. But these are hard times, and we were not Ferengi.
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