7 p.m. Friday, Colorado Springs Conservatory, 415 S. Sahwatch St., 80903, tickets $35 at coloradospringsconservatory.org
Of all the art she's immersed herself in, Linda Purl considers herself an actress first and foremost. Which makes sense considering where acting took her: to roles in premier television shows, perhaps most notably "Happy Days," in which she played Fonzie's girlfriend. She also starred in "Matlock" and appeared in "Hawaii Five-O" as well as, more recently, "The Office" and "True Blood."
But all throughout her career spanning back to the 1970s, Purl, 60, prided herself as a singer who took her talents to Broadway in between her TV work.
"Not to in any way denigrate television, which I love and have much to be grateful for, but theater is the difference between drums with sticks and the conga, where your hand is on the skin," she said. "That's what live theater feels like."
She's lived in Colorado Springs the past two years, settling down after a busy life in Los Angeles. And now she's dedicating herself to the stage.
On Friday at the Colorado Springs Conservatory, she's performing in a one-night-only cabaret show, singing from the "Great American Songbook," consisting of those most memorable numbers from the early 20th century.
It will be Purl's return to the Conservatory following an emotional 2013 solo performance of "The Year of Magical Thinking," the Broadway play inspired by Joan Didion's book. Purl sang before her terminally ill mother, who died peacefully five days later.
Just over a year ago, Purl's father died in the Springs, a town he and his wife fell in love with in the '60s. They bought a house and settled down after a life of traveling, with years spent in Japan where they raised their two girls.
In the Springs, they were regulars at the Conservatory.
"They were inspired by it," Purl said.
She too has been inspired by the institution that nurtures students and shares their art with the community.
"The stakes have gotten even higher in recent years as art programs get taken out of public school systems," Purl said. "Kids need the tools with which to express themselves, and music is one of the most powerful tools for that."
So it was for Purl, who recalls as a young girl in Japan regularly waking up to find her parents hosting a different artist for breakfast.
"That was part of the incredibly fun home my parents really gifted to me," she said.