Seeing Dionne Warwick sing is always a good idea, but the reasons to catch her intimate, cabaret-style show on Saturday, Dec. 15 at the famed Fontainebleau Miami Beach (4441 Collins Ave.) recently got more compelling.
The concert by the American treasure – whose pure, angelic voice has graced timeless tunes by the legendary songwriting duo of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, including “Walk On By,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” “Alfie” and “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” – started out as a birthday celebration(Warwick turned 72 on Wednesday, Dec. 12). But in the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast, Warwick – who’s also a United Nations Global Ambassador – decided to make the show a bit more meaningful.
Dionne Warwick’s “50 Years of Entertaining” (part of the resort’s BleauLive series) is now a benefit for the United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund. In addition to the concert featuring several surprise guests, fans will be able to bid on live-auction items including dinner for 20 by the Fontainebleau’s Scott Conant, signature chef of Scarpetta.
Warwick talked to Miami.com about the show, her philanthropic motives and why she changed her name.
What drew you to this event?
Well, it was originally going to be a wonderful birthday dinner, but we decided what better way to let people from New Jersey – since I’m from New Jersey – know that people care wherever they are. And so we figured we’d do a fundraiser for those who were devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
So you gave up quite a bit of money to do this?
Yep. It’s OK – I’m a Jersey girl, so … a lot of people have been displaced, so it’s the least I can do.
You’ve always been driven to give back and help people in many ways, starting with participating in “We Are the World.” Where does that come from in you – where did you develop that sense of empathy?
I guess not only was I born with it, but my grandfather was a minister, and he always told us as we were growing up that we are here for a purpose. And that’s to take care of each other. I mean, we’re human beings, and if we can’t take care of each other, what’s the point?
Were you personally affected by the storm?
No property damage, but I was without power for two weeks.
What can we expect from the show?
Oh, it’s gonna be a lot of fun, and a lot of my friends will be here. It’ll just be an easy evening, and the wonderful thing is that the United Way has partnered with me on this, and we’ve got quite a response from tables being sold, and hopefully we’ll raise a lot of money and everybody’s gonna have a giggle and enjoy some great music.
Will we hear all the great Bacharach/David tunes?
Yeah, of course you will – that’s who I am [laughs]. Gotta do those!
About how long will you perform?
Well, as long as people wanna look at me [laughs].
So you’ll be there all night, then.
Not quite [laughs]. But it’ll be a pretty good musical show, and we’ll have a good time.
Any hints on who any of the special guests might be?
No, you have to be here to see.
Early in your career, your name was misspelled. What made you decide to stick with Warwick instead of Warrick?
Well, it was a little bit too late to pull the record and take me back off the charts [laughs]. On my first recording ["Don’t Make Me Over, ironically] they made a label-copy error and replaced one of the R’s with a W. So I became a “Wick” instead of a “Rick.”
Did you grow to like it?
No, I was very disturbed about it, because that’s not my name. But the recording was a hit.