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The empress is about to conquer Queens.

The Kupferberg Center of the Arts presents An Evening with Gladys Knight at Colden Auditorium in Flushing on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 8 p.m. Ticket prices run from $39 to $115.

A seven-time Grammy winner who has enjoyed number one hits in the pop, gospel, R&B and adult contemporary categories, Knight has been in the music and entertainment business for seven decades. Her current concerts combine nostalgia with modern hits. She might cover an Ella Fitzgerald or Marvin Gaye song and then follow it with something by Bruno Mars or Alicia Keys.

But attendees can expect many of her own classics, such as “Midnight Train to Georgia,” “Neither One of Us [Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye]” and “If I Were Your Woman.” They can also expect to sing out loud to some ditties while the star twirls, dips or maybe even does a cha, cha, cha.

Though energetic, Knight has an informal stage presence. She likes to engage audiences between tunes, often telling funny stories about her personal life and the band. And then there’s her eye-catching dressing style. She often goes with full-length sequin gowns and dangling gold earrings that shine brightly in the stage lights. At other times, she favors a beaded dress or print blouse.

Referred to as the “Empress of Soul,” Knight began performing at age 4 at the Mount Mariah Baptist Church in Georgia in 1948. Three years later, she created a national sensation by taking the grand prize on Ted Mack’s TV show “The Original Amateur Hour.” Soon thereafter, she joined some family members (brother Bubba, sister Brenda and cousins William and Elenor Guest) to form the Pips, which later became Gladys Knight and the Pips after some personnel changes in 1962. Their hits include “I Heard It through the Grapevine” and “Friendship Train.”

In 1991, she went solo with the album “Good Woman.” Four years later, she won a Grammy with her second solo work, “Just For You.” In 2013, she reinvented herself by collaborating with Lenny Kravitz to record “You and I Ain’t Nothin’ No More” for the soundtrack of the Lee Daniels film “The Butler.” Then in 2015, she released a dance record, “Just A Little.”

The Colden Auditorium is located on the Queens College campus in the vicinity of Kissena Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway. Known for its state-of-the-art acoustics, the handicap-accessible venue has more than 2,000 seats with free parking.

Images: Gladys Knight


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