The curtains rose at the Kings Theatre for the first time in more than 40 years on Tuesday, January 3 as the legendary Diana Ross kicked off the newly renovated Flatbush venue’s inaugural year.
“Opening night was great,” said Matthew Wolf, executive director of the Kings Theatre of An Evening with Diana Ross. “It was exciting after so many months to see the theatre lit, to see people having such a good time and to see what it looks like when it comes alive.”
As an internationally acclaimed performer whose career spans five decades, Ross, recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award and dubbed “Most Successful Female Vocalist of All Time” by the Guinness Book of Records, was truly the perfect fit for the grand celebration years in the making.
Ross’ performance was just the beginning.
Originally constructed in 1929, the Kings Theatre – the largest of its kind in Brooklyn, and one of New York’s five “Wonder Theaters” – will seat more than 3,000 people at more than 200 annual performances, serving not only as a fixture in the city’s cultural landscape but also as an economic engine for the Flatbush area.
“[Opening night] was really a culmination of years of work,” Wolf went on. “It’s an incredibly rewarding experience seeing the whole staff there, actively troubleshooting and serving the guests – just trying to create the best experience.”
All of that, he said, makes his job that much more exciting.
“Even more exciting, was watching people walking down Flatbush yesterday afternoon,” Wolf said. “Everybody was so excited about the theatre coming back.”
Even First Lady Chirlane McCray was excited. Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife were a part of the sold-out opening night crowd, and McCray couldn’t help but blog about the experience.
“What a dazzling show Diana put on last night at the newly restored Kings Theatre,” New York’s First Lady wrote on her website, flo.nyc. “Bill and I couldn’t stop dancing!”
That energy, Ridgeite Phillipa Morrish said, resonated throughout the entire room.
“It was phenomenal,” said Morrish, calling the show “classic Diana Ross.”
According to Morrish – who had seats right behind de Blasio and McCray – the 70-year-old singer had frequent outfit changes, “each more gorgeous than the one before,” and she carried every single note with grace.
“People were on their feet from the first song to the last,” she said. “It was a really great time.”
“It was an incredibly rewarding experience for the neighborhood, and for all of Brooklyn,” said Wolf.
For information on or tickets to any of Kings’ upcoming performances, visit www.kingstheatre.com.