So there she was, just last week, Tina Turner standing on the red carpet outside the Aldwych Theatre in London, basking in the spotlight as “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” had its debut.
It’s almost inevitable the show will head to Broadway. It’s been received well by the critics and the public, it’s about one of the most fiery and talented singers in history, and New York has shown a fondness for these personality-centered shows, most recently including some featured on Carole King, Jimmy Buffett, Donna Summer, and certainly Frankie Valli.
Turner in 2000 announced her “semi-retirement.” She was going to stop doing concerts.
Her tumultuous life had been almost exhaustively chronicled, including in the film “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” she had published “I Tina, My Life Story,” she had managed to master the arena stages like few others, and she had received the Kennedy Center Honors.
Turner is set to receive a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and she has a second volume of memoirs, “Tina Turner: My Love Story,” set to come out later this year. She is also one of the performers who has the most tributes, along with Elvis and Michael and Frank.
Her songs are not easy – they are rarely mellow and they have to be sung full-bore. They take a lot out of a woman.
Harrah’s Reno, though, currently has someone who can handle it and more. In a showroom woefully underutilized the past few years, Turner has returned in the person of single-named Stephanaya, who is able to embody Turner like Meryl Streep does her various characters – totally and believably.
Sight is as important in this case as sound and Stephanaya has got the strut and the shimmy down perfectly.
Backed by a terrific little band, she goes through almost all the expected numbers, “We Don’t Need Another Hero” to “Knee Deep Mountain High,” “Proud Mary” to “Simply the Best,” that last being the title of the show.
Occasionally, she takes a break (one can imagine that with all that physicality she has to) and the show is turned over to another impersonator, this one of Rod Stewart, making the whole evening a rasp-fest. “Simply the Best” plays through June 30. (Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; $29.50-$40.50; Ticketmaster)
Elsewhere this week: Very sharp Whitney Cummings plays Thunder Valley on Saturday. (7:30 p.m.; $49.95-$59.95; thundervalleyresort.com)
The singer of one of the biggest earworm hits of the 1980s, Rick Springfield, brings “Jessie’s Girl” to Cache Creek on Saturday. (8 p.m.; $55-$85; cachecreek.com)
And even though Kenny Rogers has been able to extend his “Gambler’s Last Tour” for a long time, it may have finally come to an end; he has canceled his Silver Legacy date Saturday in an announcement that for health reasons he will probably not perform the rest of this year.