Dionne Warwick, '80 for Brady’ producer son to bring music review to New Haven

Dionne Warwick, along with her son Damon Elliott, of ‘Moulin Rouge’ and '80 for Brady’ fame, and Titus O'Neil are bringing Hits! The Musical to the Elm City.

Photo of Daniel Figueroa IV

To some, Dionne Warwick is known for the deeply smooth, velvety voice that brought the works of songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David to life with “Don’t Make me Over,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” and more. 

To a younger generation, she’s known as the matter-of-fact internet “auntie”  recently dubbed the “Queen of Twitter” for wholesome social commentary like the time she asked Chance the Rapper about his name, tweeting, “Hi, @chancetherapper. If you are very obviously a rapper why did you put it in your stage name? I cannot stop thinking about this.” And following it with, “I am now Dionne the Singer.”

This March, Warwick, 82, along with her son, music producer Damon Elliott, and the WWE’s Titus O’Neil are bringing a show to another new audience with a family-friendly review, Hits! The Musical.

“It’s a performance that takes you through the decades from the ‘60s to the 2000s,” Warwick told Hearst Media. “With all the music you and I and everyone else grew up loving and dancing and singing. It’s something everybody should see. It’s a family affair.”

The show is a review featuring hit music from the last 60 years performed by 29 young performers aged 10 through 22 singing songs like "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," "Respect," "Come Sail Away," "My Heart Will Go On," "Hero," "Tomorrow," "Satisfaction," "Uptown Funk" and "Livin' La Vida Loca." Hits! The Musical stops in New Haven March 7. 

“What really impressed me the most was the songs they were singing,” Elliott said. “Half of them weren't even born when these songs were created, but they gave so much love and passion in their performance. It was something that moved mom and I. We literally were jumping in our seats. Literally.”

Warwick and Elliott are no strangers to seat-jumping performances. Warwick is one of the most charted vocalist of all times. During the 60s, her collaborations with Bacharach and David helped American music survive the British Invasion. Elliott, a Grammy winner and Oscar nominee in his own right, has worked with artists from Beyoncé and Mya to Dolly Parton and Gloria Estefan. He produced the Diane Warren-penned song “Gonna be You” with Dolly Parton, Belinda Carlisle, Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Estefan and Debbie Harry.

Warwick also recently released the single “Peace Like a River” with Dolly Parton and Elliott producing.

But before Warwick was rising to stardom as one of the first Black pop stars in America, she was a student at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music. In 1986, Hartt honored Warwick with an honorary doctorate in music from the school. She said coming back to Connecticut is still like a homecoming.

“It’s always wonderful coming back,” she said. “It’s a pleasure to see the growth. I’m treated like it’s my home away from home after spending so many years here.”

Hits! The Musical comes to New Haven’s Shubert Theater March 7. Tickets are available online and range from $51.20 to $63.10.