ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Disco Queen: Maxine Nightingale

Going back where she started from, Maxine Nightingale continues her acclaimed ‘Disco Lady’ show at Resorts through April 27

By Lori Hoffman
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Mar. 12, 2014

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Maxine Nightingale has been atop the musical world and seen it come crashing down without warning. But no matter what the circumstances, she kept a cheery outlook and remained optimistic. That is how the 1970s disco queen from England, best known for her hit songs “Lead Me On” and “Right Back Where We Started From,” managed to survive the ups and downs of being a disco star.

It was an era that was embraced by many for its upbeat vibe, fueled by the soundtrack from Saturday Night Fever and the disco divas of the era, led by Donna Summer.

It was also a period that came crashing down a few years later. However, as happens for so many musical styles, dance music is once again leading the pop charts.

As part of that current wave, Nightingale has settled into a nice groove as the star of a show she designed called Disco Lady Starring Maxine Nightingale, now playing at Resorts.

Even before the show officially opened in late February, it was extended twice with additional shows, showing that audiences were anxious to relive their disco dreams.

Disco Lady is a simple show with pre-recorded music, four dancers, a video screen and Nightingale in the middle. There is nothing extravagant about it except for Nightingale’s musical talent and her joy in sharing her love of life with the audience. It is that palpable joy that makes Disco Lady a fun night out as Nightingale presents such disco era classics as her own hits plus “I Love the Nightlife,” a Miami Sound Machine medley that includes “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” and “Turn the Beat Around” and a tribute to Donna Summer that features “On the Radio,” “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls.”

And, while most of us have hated this snow-filled winter, it has provided a nice change of pace for Ms. Nightingale as she disclosed in a chat with Atlantic City Weekly.

“I’m enjoying it,” admits Nightingale with a laugh. “I live in L.A. and when it is 80 degrees at Christmas you get a little annoyed. Walking the Boardwalk is fun for me. I know you guys didn’t like it, but I enjoyed walking the Boardwalk in the snow. That’s right up there with experiences. Growing up in Wembley [an area of Northwest London] I could never have imagined spending a winter walking the beach in Atlantic City with crunchy snow.”

Nightingale had the concept for Disco Lady brewing for some time but when she broached the subject with potential investors they weren’t interested. “I do loads of one-nighters around the country and I’ve seen a lot of the disco stars come out and do a couple of songs and I thought, ‘Surely we can do something a bit more exciting than this.’ I did a few shows with Nile Rodgers and Chic and it came to me that we could do a show with the best music of the era.

“I wanted to do a show that incorporated the best hits of the era and my own hit songs and began shopping it around” with, she admits, “No reaction. ‘Yeah. Sounds nice.’”

However, moving the timeline a few years forward to a one-night gig with Thelma Houston and Evelyn Champagne King in Atlantic City in 2012, and with the help of a booking agent, Nightingale put in motion the show that is now bringing out disco fans dancing in the aisles at Resorts’ Superstar Theater.

“So I have my dancers and my sequined costumes. My husband created all the musical tracks. Sometimes it amazes me because it turned out just the way I wanted it to. It’s working very well and audiences love it.

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