Las Vegas Sun

June 30, 2022

Currently: 102° — Complete forecast

Bravo for Barry: Williams, unapologetic about Brady lineage, appears at Suncoast

But above all, the role has meant opportunity.

"I'm in a career that should have lasted 25 minutes because pop things change so radically and shows come and go and there's the whole child actor syndrome," Williams said in a recent interview from his home in Los Angeles.

"I'm thrilled that people care about it. I'm thrilled that they are interested in it ... it's all about connection as far as I'm concerned. And if people are familiar with the work, then that gives me a platform to start from and take it wherever I want to go. And that's what I do."

Fans can see for themselves when Williams debuts his show, "Barry Williams: The Real Greg Brady, Live in Concert, With Special Guest Pop Icon Johnny Bravo" perhaps the longest show title in Las Vegas history at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Suncoast.

Featuring a 10-piece band, four costume changes, songs, skits and audience participation in which selected members are instructed by Williams on proper Brady choreography the show is the evolution of his other performances.

The 49-year-old Williams has been making the tour circuit for years in colleges, corporate shows and a tour last year with Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones of the Monkees.

He's also a veteran of 60 musicals, including a Broadway production of "Pippin." Many of the songs in "Barry Williams: The Real Greg Brady" are from the musicals and from his CD, which features songs such as "Hip to Be Square," "Celebrate" and "We are the Champions."

"I've borrowed a little of everything ... but this time, I brought in a director, I brought someone in to stage it and I put a full band together," he said. "This is kind of where it's all been leading."

Williams, who has been rehearsing the show for four months, said he is "heavily invested" financially in the production. And if all goes well, Williams said he wouldn't mind if "Barry Williams: The Real Greg Brady" becomes a Las Vegas fixture.

"I'm looking for a home to put it," he said. "I'm in Las Vegas all the time and it would be a great commute or even just to go ahead and move it to the city."

When asked if he and the show have the blessings of "Brady Bunch" creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz, Williams said Schwartz remains the show's biggest supporter.

"I have never apologized for being in 'The Brady Bunch.' I've always spoken well of it, even in the book and the press. In some respects, I am as responsible as anyone, if not more so, for kind of keeping the spirit of what the Bradys are about alive."

Still, William said "it's anybody's guess" as to why the show has been so successful.

"When something has withstood the test of time like this, you have to go the fundamental elements of the show and look at what it's about," Williams said. "Above all, it's about family. It's about communication. It's about getting along. It's about doing the right thing. It's moralistic. All the lessons are of good solid family values.

"That, or the super-groovy fashion statements that we made, that would be the underlying reason."

Growing up Brady

Williams was born Barry William Blenkhorn, the third of three sons, and grew up in Palisades, an affluent suburb of Los Angeles.

After learning that actor Peter Graves lived on his street, a 4-year-old Williams decided he wanted to pursue acting.

The then-young actor made guest appearances on several popular TV shows, "Dragnet," "Adam 12" and "Gomer Pyle, USMC," among them, before he was cast in the role that would change his life.

Three decades later the light-as-air sitcom still defines Williams. But he's not complaining.

" 'The Brady Bunch' is probably one of the easier gigs I've ever had and it pales in comparison to opening night in New York (on Broadway) in terms of discipline, skills, ability, talent and pressure," he said. "But typecasting is part and parcel of the business. Whatever you're known for first, or is the biggest, is usually what sticks. Just try interviewing Sean Connery (without) bringing up James Bond or Sylvester Stallone with Rocky.

"I wouldn't go see Tony Bennett and lay down money and then have him not sing 'I Left My Heart in San Francisco.' "

While Williams' affiliation with "The Brady Bunch" continues to drive his career, he didn't enjoy a lucrative lifestyle until after the show was canceled. And Williams receives no royalties from the show's endless run in syndication.

"I made more money doing 'A Very Brady Christmas' in 1989 than I made in all five years combined doing 'The Brady Bunch,' " he said. Still, "the show's been fine to us financially and I had a No. 1 best-seller with 'Growing Up Brady,' (which) I executive-produced for NBC into a television movie.

"Certainly I get a lot of mileage."

"Growing Up Brady," along with the two movies, 1995's "The Brady Bunch Movie" and 1996's "A Very Brady Sequel," have certainly kept the popularity of the show going.

While Williams' tell-all book provided such juicy gossip as his crush on his TV mom Florence Henderson and their subsequent date (she felt sorry for the star-struck teen), he said there were no hard feelings generated among the cast.

"Really, it was the contrary. I relied heavily on interviews with the cast members, with the producers, with the directors... ," he said. "I'd given them a proposal of what it was about and they contributed substantially to the book.

"I would have been surprised if there were bad feelings about it, even though I didn't pull any punches."