Diana Ross shines at Kings Theatre grand re-opening

Written By kom nampuldu on Rabu, 04 Februari 2015 | 20.49

The shirts were buttoned up, the fox pieces were out in force, and the new carpet smell was overpowering. But for the grand re-opening of Brooklyn's Kings Theatre on Tuesday night, it was Diana Ross who brought the real glamour factor.

Although Flatbush legend Barbra Streisand would have been the popular pick, it was Ross who was asked to be the first act to play inside the ornate venue, which has finally been restored to its former glory after being abandoned for decades.

"Tonight, the Kings Theater is as much of a star as Diana Ross," Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz told The Post enthusiastically before the show. Ross must have heard him, because for the duration of her 90-minute set, the Motown star made sure that no building – no matter how lusciously decorated – would steal her spotlight.

She made her entrance from the back of the room, running through the aisles while breathlessly singing "I'm Coming Out" and trying to keep her billowing blue dress together, before launching into a blitz of Supremes songs including "Baby Love" and "You Can't Hurry Love." Despite the odd audible crack, her voice is in good shape after January's Japanese tour, and any shortcomings were papered over by her infectious energy and beaming smile.

The 70-year-old may have a reputation as a diva, but Ross seemed more up for a party than some of the crowd. During a funky mid-show medley that included a striding version of her 1980 disco smash "Upside Down," she pulled an enthusiastic crowd member up on to the stage to dance. With a couple of security guards smelling blood, she waved them away and allowed her super-fan to shake a major tail-feather, before embracing him with genuine warmth.

Her desire to put on a show is still admirable but there were brief moments when the enjoyable, Vegas-style kitsch crossed over to unpleasant, dinner-show schmaltz. "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" in particular, remains unbearably sappy 40 years on and Ross herself seemed to have little time for it, singing a shortened version clumsily and quickly, as if to get it over with.

Ross saved enough energy to power through a version of Gloria Gayner's "I Will Survive" not once, but twice. The second time was extrapolated into a family sing-a-long, as Ross invited her daughter Rhonda (also a gifted vocalist) and actor son Evan on to the stage. Evan was accompanied by new spouse Ashlee Simpson and her 5-year-old son Bronx, who looked amusingly reluctant to join in the fun. Maybe he's more of Donna Summer kind of dude.


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