The day after Suzanne Somers got eliminated on Dancing With the Stars, her 25th book, Tox-Sick: From Toxic to Not Sick, hit the stands. She flew to New York City for a two-week book tour, then turned around to rehearse her intimate cabaret show, Suzanne Sizzles, which opened May 23 at the Westgate to favorable reviews. The actress, singer, dancer, author, businesswoman and infomercial star seems tireless at age 68. We talked with the Three’s Company alum, whose Suzanne Somers Organic Spa Cafe opens this summer at the Westgate, featuring a menu of her cookbook recipes and her line of organic skin-care products.
Is this a return of your song-and-dance shows? Yes, but in a whole different way. I wanted to bring back the Rat Pack kind of evening, the kind of night you put your arm around your significant other, have a couple cocktails, sit in the dark and let me entertain you. It’s a great band, beautiful lights, lush sound, gorgeous costumes, but I’m off the cuff.
Freestyle? Yes. A friend of mine asked, “Who wrote your act?” But you can’t write an act. If it’s a good act, it’s the person being themselves.
Isn’t that risky? All the years of lecturing, all the years, strangely enough, of being on Home Shopping Network where you speak extemporaneously for 16 hours on the weekend and there is never a script, prepped me for this. Maybe that's why it all feels so perfectly aligned.
Your show features video clips and stories from your long career. Is this a sort of retrospective? I don’t mean it to be that, but I ask the audience, “Have you ever thought about how you got from there to here?” because this is not what I thought would happen with my life, and yet there are things that happened to me that changed the course of my life.
Any examples? A chance meeting in the commissary at NBC, where Johnny Carson walks in and I have a little book of poetry I’ve written and he asked, “What are you doing here?” And I said, “I’m waiting to see if I got a part on this show I just interviewed for,” and I handed him my book of poetry. That was Wednesday. Friday night I was on The Tonight Show—my very first time I was ever on live television.
And you didn’t imagine you’d be where you are now? I come from a very blue-collar, middle-class small town. I’ve written a lot about my father’s alcoholism and what that does to a family. When you start your life hiding in a closet because of the violence to ending up as a headliner on a Vegas stage, it shows the triumph of the human spirit, and I think it gives everybody in the audience food for thought. Bad things happen to all of us. You can let it do you in or you can use it like judo and make it work for you, using forward energy to win.
What launched your organic lifestyle? When I was diagnosed with cancer 14 years ago. I say this with all due respect: Cancer was a major gift for me. It’s such a life-altering event. I’ve had a lot of therapy, and the one thing you learn is what part do you play in the drama of your life. When I got cancer, rather than saying poor me, I asked myself, “What have I done in my diet and lifestyle that I’m playing host to this disease?” That was a turnaround for me. It gave me the courage to not take chemotherapy and not take the after drugs. I decided to eat as though my life depended upon it and embarked upon an organic life.
Were you uncertain at all? I was told by my doctor that if I were to do this, I will most likely die. I had to take a deep breath and said, “With all due respect, I feel like I’ll die if I do what you tell me to do.”
Tox-Sick is another bestseller. Did you expect that? I knew it was going to resonate with the public. Everybody’s walking around going, “I’m not sick, but I’m not well. I can’t get rid of this weight. It doesn’t matter what I eat or how much I exercise.” People complain about their joints hurting or they’ve got kids with ADD or ADHD and everybody’s got food allergies and gluten intolerance. It’s all from chemicals.
Why share this information? Celebrity comes with great opportunities way beyond good seats in restaurants. If you tell the truth and you walk your talk and believe what it is that you’re putting out there, those people who resonate will find you and follow you. Those people who don’t believe it will continue with their GMO foods, their chemicals and age a different way. I feel so good and I want people to see that age is just a number. I celebrate my age because I want people to know the possibilities. It’s about making the right choices. It’s not about how old you are. It’s how young your energy is.
What drives you to get out there and entertain? I love it. I'm a songbird. I need to sing.
Suzanne Sizzles Through May 2016; Tuesday-Saturday, 7 p.m., $79-$99. Westgate, 800-222-5361.