Dionne Warwick never has performed at Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace, but she knows what to expect from her audience.
“They are going to be right up on me,” she says. “They’ll be able to see all of me.”
Warwick opens her second Las Vegas Strip residency this year at 8 p.m. Thursday, and performs Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through March 1. Warwick headlined in April at Jubilee Theater at Bally’s.
Her residency continues Caesars Entertainment’s vision to turn the 165-seat room in to a small showroom, with such current headliners as Wayne Newton and “America’s Got Talent” finalist Daniel Emmet, and such past performers as Paul Shaffer and the Shaf-Shifters, CeeLo Green and operatic comic clown Puddles Pity Party.
Now, as then, the entertainment legend plans to deliver a pure, classic Las Vegas performance. Expect a healthy complement of hits, including “Walk on By,” “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” “Message to Michael,” “Promises, Promises,” “A House Is Not a Home,” “Alfie,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “This Girl’s in Love with You,” “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” and “Do You Know the Way to San Jose.”
Warwick also is sampling from her new album, “She’s Back,” produced by her son, Damon Elliott, and released during her Bally’s run in April. Elliott has worked with such recording stars as Beyonce, Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.
All have followed Warwick’s headlining path to Las Vegas, which dates to the days when superstars ruled the Strip.
“I have always been fortunate to have been mentored by the very best in our industry, people like Sarah Vaughan, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra,” Warwick says. “I’m a mixture of all those people who embraced me as a youngster.”
Warwick still is an artistic representations of those stars.
“As far as today’s kids, I’m nobody,” she says. “And their music is not for my ears. It’s for their peers’ ears. But I do feel sincerely pleased for their success, and what they do they do exceptionally well. To see the progress of young entertainers is very exciting for me.”
Warwick continues, saying of classic showmanship, “I think it’s a lost art. I was brought along by the absolute best. When I would go to to see them, I called it going to class, and I watched how they carried themselves, how they sang and what songs they chose to sing. That’s all a part of what we call show business.”
Vegas was in M.J.’s plans
Joe Vogel, author of “Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson,” appeared for a book-signing and Q&A on Thursday at Michael Jackson One Theatre at Mandalay Bay. The afternoon event marked what would have been Jackson’s 61st birthday. Rich and Tone Talauega, choreographers of “Michael Jackson One,” also led a truncated showcase of “Beat It” for fans paying VIP prices for the insiders’ look at the Cirque production.
In its second edition, Vogel’s book is an album-by-album chronicle of Jackson’s music. But it does cover his later years, his ample time recording in Las Vegas (including at Studio at the Palms) and his plans for a possible comeback in the city. This is in line with the reports at the time that Jackson had been spotted in meetings with director Kenny Ortega at Stirling Club at Turnberry Place.
Ortega was the director of “This Is It,” the concert series planned for O2 Arena in London when Jackson died in June 2009. Ortega also directed the documentary about the ill-fated concert comeback series.
“In his later years, Vegas was very much on his mind. He was working in studios here and thinking about how he could make this big comeback,” Vogel said in a quick chat after his Q&A session with fans. “He was a vagabond in a lot of ways, but that part is interesting, how he could do this after all he’d been through. It would have been interesting to see if he could have done that here in Vegas.”
As it is, Jackson’s legacy lives on in “MJ One,” which celebrated its sixth anniversary on the Strip this year.
Cool Hang Alert
The return of Bob and DeLee Lively-Torti’s “Brunch to Broadway” is 2 p.m. Sunday at Suncoast Showroom. The Tortis are joined by a crack cast of Ashley Fuller, Brandon Nix and Nakazi Harris backed by a five-piece band. The “Brunch to Broadway” show ran at Rocks Lounge at Red Rock Resort in 2018, a wonderful hang with Broadway-caliber performers. Get there.
Brunch is at St. Tropez buffet prior to the performance (click on the Suncoast.com website for more info).
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.