There are very few musicians appropriate enough to take the stage as the first performance at a restored, grand theater palace in Brooklyn, New York, previously closed for nearly four decades.
On Tuesday night, Diana Ross, the Beyonce of disco and Motown, made her entrance from the rear of the Loews Kings Theater, belting "I'm Coming Out," a catchy hit that climbed the charts only a few years before the grand venue closed down.
There were five wardrobe changes, four of which featured layers of voluminous tulle -- turquoise then red then canary yellow then gold. Each time, Ross removed the outer layer with a flourish to reveal matching sparking Studio 54-worthy dresses.
Before the show, the audience couldn't help but stare up at the newly-renovated gilded intricate mile-high ceiling, crystal chandeliers and replicas of the original regal carpeting and red velvet drapery. But when Ross entered the theater all eyes were on her.
The Loews Kings Theater on Flatbush Avenue first opened in 1929, modeled after a Paris Opera House and the Palace of Versailles. It was one of five magnificent show houses built by Loews in the U.S. during that era and the first theater to accommodate talking films. The Kings initially opened September 7, 1929 with "Evangeline," starring Dolores del Rio, a Mexican actress from the start Hollywood's Golden Age.
But by the early 1970s the Kings had deteriorated and faced competition of towering multiplexes, struggling to fill its more than 3,000 seats. Management resorted to showing kung-fu and B-list horror films, which was not enough to financially sustain the theater.
The Kings closed on August 30, 1977 with a final showing of "Island in the Stream," an adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway novel that starred George C. Scott.
Before ticket holders took their seats and the curtains rose, people milled about the regal lobby. Former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz looked up at the ornate ceiling grinning. "You can't make a theater like this anymore," he told CBS News. "It makes me feel young again."
Starting in 1996, while still borough president, Markowitz helped initiate the $95 million restoration project, a promise he said he made to the community. "Brooklyn now has its Beacon and Apollo all in one," he said referring to two of Manhattan's most iconic and prized theater spaces.
The Kings has already lined up a top billing for 2015 that includes Sarah McLachlan, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Sufjan Stevens, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Gladys Knight.
But Ross may be a tough act to follow.
At the end of the sold-out show, the songstress happily returned for an encore wearing a new dress -- black and glittering with a lime green feather jacket, her "going home" outfit, she told the audience. Before the band started playing "Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Hand," Ross took a moment to admire the view.
"This palace. This is beautiful," she said to the audience. "I feel like a queen. Turn the lights up so we can look up."