Dionne Warwick’s glittering career landed in a play that fits that very definition.
Warwick is opening a residency at the Stirling Club in Turnberry Place this week until December 18. “Message to Michael”, “Promises, promises”, “A house is not a house”, “Alfie”, “I say a little prayer”, “This girl is in love with you”, “I will never fall in love of you”, Love Again” and “Do you know the way to San Jose”.
Warwick is nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year, but as Dolly Parton says she is not a true rock ‘n’ roll artist. “I’m not rock ‘n’ roll,” she said this month during an appearance on Bravo’s “What Happens Live” with Andy Cohen. “…The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, as I came to know it many, many years ago, was specifically for rock ‘n’ roll bands.”
Warwick most recently headlined Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace from 2019 until the venue’s COVID shutdown in March 2020. Prior to that, she ran at Bally’s Jubilee Theater. Her latest album, 2019’s “She’s Back,” was produced by her son, Damon Elliott, who has worked with Beyoncé, Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, among other recording stars.
By signing her to an exclusive residency deal, the Stirling Club is making a bold attempt to step onto the Las Vegas entertainment scene. The club remained silent from May 2012 until March 2018, when it was bought by majority shareholder Richard Ditton of Incredible Technologies (which makes casino and leisure games, such as Golden Tee). Industry vet Debra Kelleher of DK Hospitality manages the Stirling Club.
On April 5, Warwick will be inducted into the UNLV College of Fine Arts Hall of Fame, alongside fellow entertainment legend Paul Anka, ballet great Cynthia Gregory and the late actor Michael Tylo (“The Guiding Light” and “The Young and the Restless” among his TV titles). Wayne Newton is set to present Warwick at the Las Vegas gala at the school’s Student Union Ballroom.
We recently spoke with Warwick about her next royal residence. The strong points:
Johnny Kats: This is such a unique booking, a first for the Stirling Club. What appealed to you about this deal above the other options you were looking at?
Dionne Warwick: It boiled down to the fact that they wanted to build a showroom for me. How much better could it be (laughs)?
Did you test the room at all, to see how it feels from the stage?
Not yet, but my people are gathering what I need to be there, so we’ll see how it goes when I get there. But I feel good about it.
For the bedroom, aesthetically, what should be put in place for you? What are the required items?
Really, that’s all that’s required in any showroom. Lights, sound and a stage. That’s all you really need.
Is it worrying that the Stirling Club isn’t as well-known a venue as, say, Caesars Palace or Bally’s? People know these hotels, and they know Dionne Warwick, but they may not know where you are performing.
This is primarily the concern of the promoter, and of the Stirling Club. I think people generally know Dionne Warwick, or at least I hope so (laughs), and that will lead them to the Stirling Club.
You have become a force on Twitter over the past two years. You are very active on this platform. How did it all start?
A while ago my nieces and nephews were doing this thing called Twitter, laughing and going. I wanted to know why they were laughing, and my niece Brittani showed it to me, and I didn’t like the craziness I saw. So I asked him, “Show me how to do this.” She took my phone, showed me what to do. When I walked into it, they realized there was now an adult in their presence and all the craziness they were getting into had to stop (laughs).
You mix pretty well.
I open it. My message is that I will ask questions and wait for answers. You can ask me questions; I will give you answers. However, those things you tell yourself are not the way you should approach yourself. Now let’s start smiling a little instead of frowning.
It’s like with your music: you bring a positive message.
That’s wonderful. Jack Dorsey, the CEO at the time, called me and thanked me. He said I changed Twitter, and I wanted to. It was stupid for these babies to say some of the things they said to each other. It made no sense.
Are you expanding to TikTok with a similar presence there?
May be. But right now, I’m what you call a “Twitter-ee”. I’m there when I feel the need.
I was talking to a friend of mine, who is also an artist and has lived in Vegas for a long time. He mentioned that there aren’t many singers who cover Dionne Warwick songs effectively because you’re such a vocal acrobat.
Haha, wonderful. I like to hear that.
What are you planning to sing at the Stirling Club?
You must come to see and hear. It’s the market. But if you listen to music, listen to the new recording, okay? Because I’m proud of it.
Shows are at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Doors are at 6:30 p.m., with cocktails and light menus available before and after the show. Tickets cost between $89 and $199 (excluding fees); go to dionnewarwick.friendlysky.com for more information.
John Katsilometes’ column airs daily in Section A. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at [email protected] To follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.