On "Laverne & Shirley," Penny Marshall's and Cindy Williams' characters were as close as siblings.
With her latest acting gig, Williams has a whole bunch of sisters.
Williams plays the Mother Superior in the touring production of "Nunset Boulevard," which comes to Stambaugh Auditorium for one performance on Saturday.
"Nunset" is the latest sequel to "Nunsense," a musical comedy written by Dan Goggin about the remaining nuns of the Little Sisters of Hoboken, who are staging a fundraising show to cover the burial costs for 52 sisters who were accidentally poisoned. It became the second longest running show in Off-Broadway history and has become a community theater staple. There have been more than 8,000 productions worldwide in 21 languages.
In a telephone interview from the tour bus, Williams said she was happy to sign on for the show, in spite of a grueling road schedule primarily of one-night stands.
"Dan Goggin, who wrote the show, asked me to do it," she said. "I had done 'Nunsense' before, and I loved the idea of it. It's such a fun little piece."
WHAT: "Nunset Boulevard"
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Stambaugh Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Ave., Youngstown
HOW MUCH: Tickets range from $30 to $45 and are available at the Stambaugh box office and by calling 330-259-0555.
"Nunset Boulevard" takes the sisters to California, where they have been invited to perform at the Hollywood Bowl. Turns out the invitation wasn't for the prestigious concert venue but for the Hollywood Bowl-A-Rama, a bowling alley with a lounge.
They get over their initial disappointment, though, when they learn that a movie producer is across the street auditioning actors for a new movie musical about Delores Hart, who starred in such films as "Where the Boys Are" and "King Creole" before leaving acting to become a nun.
"So everybody goes over to audition," Williams said. "What's better than a nun playing a nun?"
The plot hinges on whether the nuns will be seduced by the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and end up following the opposite path of Hart.
Williams thinks the key to the show's success is the joy and humor Goggin finds in the characters
"They're nuns. They have to adhere to a discipline, but within that confine they find great humanity and fun and mirth," Williams said. "Comedy done within the context of innocence is so much more fun to do."
Williams was part of the ensemble cast for "American Graffiti" and has more than 70 film and television credits on her resume, but she is best known for "Laverne & Shirley," a '70s sitcom about two struggling single women in the 1950s.
When asked if there were any plans to revisit those characters, Williams said, "We're leaving that up to 'Two Broke Girls."'
The current CBS sitcom about two waitresses struggling to make it certainly has some similarities to "L&S," but it's far more vulgar the Lucille Ball-inspired comedy Williams and Marshall did.
"We weren't allowed to do that," Williams said. "Comedy works so well when it's based in innocence. When you can't say those things, you can make people laugh harder rather than laughing from nervousness or embarrassment."