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Laverne & Shirley star performs in Gainesville for Arts Council series
Cindy William Head Shot Hi-Res
Actress Cindy Williams is best known for her role as Shirley Feeney in the sitcom "Laverne & Shirley" from 1976 to 1982. She will be performing in the musical comedy "Nunset Boulevard" tomorrow night at Brenau’s Pearce Auditorium.

‘Nunset Boulevard’

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Brenau University’s Pearce Auditorium, 500 Washington St., Gainesville

How much: $32 adults, $30 seniors, $27 students and children

More info: 770-534-2787, www.theartscouncil.net

Harris Blackwood: A television icon in Chicken City

Indeed, Cindy Williams had to really think about whether or not she had ever "set foot" in the state of Georgia before this week.

"I’m wondering if I’ve ever been to Georgia. It may be one state I’ve never been to. Wait, I’ve been to Atlanta, to the airport," she said.

Well, maybe the airport doesn’t count: It’s like passing "go" in Monopoly — you have to stop in Atlanta to fly just about anywhere nowadays.

The acclaimed actress spoke with The Times from her tour bus where she was making her way through Ohio last Monday.

Williams, who starred as Shirley Feeney in the sitcom "Laverne & Shirley" from 1976 to 1982, will be performing in the musical comedy "Nunset Boulevard" tomorrow night at Brenau’s Pearce Auditorium.

Her acting career began at home as she and her sister wrote and performed plays for the neighborhood children. She took drama in high school alongside Sally Field and continued with theater in college.

"I thought I’d be a nurse in high school, but I had no academic skills. I got a "C" in physiology. In a way, though, God gave me a nursing career. Shirley is kind of a of a nurse."

But it was her role as Laurie in "American Graffiti" in 1973 that shot Williams to stardom.

In fact, Williams will be attending a 40th anniversary celebration of the George Lucas movie next month in Nebraska.

Asked if she ever wished she could escape the roles of Shirley Feeney or Laurie, she quickly replied "No, why would I?"

"It brought me such blessings to be in that film, I don’t ever wanna escape it. They were well worth it beyond that ... I embrace those roles."

Williams has been in numerous made-for-TV movies over the years and has guest starred in several television series, including "Law & Order."

But stage acting continues to be her passion.

The Golden Globe nominated actress, who also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, maintains that there is a special connection with the audience when she is on stage that brings her immense joy.

"The audience is really like another character. It’s just very satisfying and there is such camaraderie between the audience and the actors. You can hear them laugh or respond to what happens on stage. I love the exchange of energy," she said.

Her role in "Nunset," although polar opposite of Williams’ real self — "I am not as disciplined as this character in my own life" — Reverend Mother Mary Regina has been a blast to perform says Williams.

"She has a real fun streak, and tries to keep everything together with the convent and tenets you have to adhere to. I do like to play that type (of character)."

Asked if she preferred comedic roles, Williams said "I long for funny roles, then every now and then I want to play dramatic parts. Her most challenging dramatic roles?

"‘The Conversation,’ ‘Travels Of My Aunt’ and ‘American Graffiti.’"

And what television shows is Williams a fan of now?

"I do like ‘Sponge Bob,’ ‘Parks and Rec.’ ‘The Good Wife’ and ‘Homeland.’ I also like to follow politics."

Williams is looking forward to Wednesday’s performance and for that audience interaction she so loves.

"There will be great audience participation, excellent singing from an excellent cast and just great entertainment. Just a lot of fun."

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