By Caroline Fontein
For seasoned soul songstress Gladys Knight performing at the Tropicana is a perfect fit. Her new show opens April 5 and she’ll be performing in the newly-named Gladys Knight Theater, formerly the Tiffany Theater.
“I’m so very proud of [the Tropicana for] hanging in there. That’s the way I’ve had to be with my music,” said Knight at a press conference held today at the new Nikki Beach Cafe at the Tropicana to announce her new show.
With 64 years in the music business the seven-time Grammy Award-winner has seen plenty of changes in her industry. Knight has always maintained her distinction as a ballad singer, but she’s also had to change her music in some ways to stay contemporary, much like the the newly renovated Tropicana.
“I’m a balladeer. I’m a love song girl. I can put them in different packages and make you feel like it’s new, but the love song never dies. That’s what I feel that the Tropicana is. It’s a love song. It will never ever die, and we can make it all of those things. We can add to it all of those things that are happening today… but we still have our mainstay, and that’s what I love about the Tropicana,” said Knight.
The 54-year-old hotel is undergoing a $180-million renovation set to be complete sometime in spring of 2011. Almost everything in the hotel has been transformed to fit a new Miami Beach vibe. But there’s more to this new look than just a change in decor.
“We’re also transforming our entertainment, and that’s an important component to what we believe is what’s needed to have a successful casino hotel in Las Vegas,” said Tropicana President and Chief Operating Officer Tom McCartney, who was also at the press conference.
He described Knight as the “the brightest star to our constellation.”
“We’re very excited to have [Gladys Knight] join our family, and the point of difference that we believe for Tropicana is to provide quality and best in class, and [she] certainly fits the bill as the Empress of Soul and the best in class,” said McCartney.
Knight’s new show will feature her repertoire of hit songs both old and new. She’ll be joined by four singers and dancers and an 11-piece band. Knight described her show as getting back to basics when the focus was on the performer and not all the production elements.
“Our theme is Gladys Knight, a mic and a light. You’ll get more than that I’m sure, but that’s what the idea is,” said Knight.
Her brother and one of the original Pips, Merald “Bubba” Knight will also be featured as part of the show.
“It’s not going to be a whole lot of fluff, but hopefully, you’re going to get entertained like you’ve never been entertained before,” said Knight.