Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Ben Vereen, who opened a six night engagement Tuesday night at Shady Grove Music Theater, is a bundle of dazzling energy - singing, dancing, pantomiming and delivering sparkling patter.
The performer sang Broadway show tunes, Tin Pan Alley ditties and offered a medley from the musicals in which he as appeared.
At one point, while performing "There's a New World Coming," he plunged deep into the audience, still singing and shaking hands in evangelical style. Best of all, however, was the polgnant tribute he offered to Bert Williams, the first black to appear in the Ziegfield follies. Vereen applied blackface makeup, donned an old hat and coat and sang "Waiting for the Robert E. Lee" and a touching rendition of "Nobody," the self-effacing musical trademark of Williams.
Appearing with Vereen was Tina Turner, making her first Washington area appearance since the breakup of her marriage and loss of her artistic partner, Ike Turner. At first, her newly developed act seemed like an updated - and corny - version of Vaudeville, with a little country and western material thrown in. Still gyrating with bountiful bumps and grinds, Tina warmed to her task - and the audience lost its initial reserve - as she launched into old Turner favorites such as "Proud Mary" and "I Want to Take You Higher."