Part one of two
Question: What do Frank Sinatra, Bonnie Raitt, Jay-Z, and Liza Minelli all have in common?
No, it's not that they're incredibly talented, though that's a fact.
Answer: Each one of them has a bronze star on the Warner Theatre's Walk of Fame which commemorates people who have performed there. The Warner Walk lets you do some stargazing and take a bit of a nostalgia trip all at the same time.
Warner is one of the oldest theaters in DC but even native Washingtonians are surprised to learn about this hidden gem and bit of local pop culture. Even lesser known is that this is actually just one of two Walks of Fame in the city, but that's another story .for another blog post!
The Warner has a very rich history. Originally called Earle Theatre, it opened in 1924 and featured vaudeville acts and silent movies. It was renamed Warner Theatre in the 1940s after owner Harry Warner, one of the founders of Warner Bros film studio, insisted his name be on the marquee since he owned the theatre. Who says no to the boss, right?
Over time, the theater fell into disrepair. It was closed in 1989 but reopened in 1992 after undergoing a $10 million restoration. with Shirley MacLaine and Frank Sinatra performing at the gala. Both signed their names in wet cement, but for whatever reason. their slabs, as well as those of 26 other performers, were warehoused until 2001 when Warner decided to create its very own walk of fame to honor entertainers who have performed there since it reopened in 1992. They were officially dedicated on May 16.
This was the start of a long-standing Warner tradition. Instead of celebs kneeling on the sidewalk to sign their name in concrete, stars at the Warner sign concrete pavers backstage which are later inserted into the sidewalk. Some added an extra touch: John Steward drew a stick picture and Bonnie Raitt wrote "No Nukes" on her paver.
Warner's walk has approximately 40-odd celebrity names enshrined on it, compared to the 2,500+ on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but it makes up in quality for what it doesn't have in quantity. It includes local stars like Sweet Honey in the Rock and the Washington Ballet's Mary Day and ones that are exclusively ours like Prince (ha, take that Hollywood!), Tyler Perry of "Madea" fame and comedian Dave Chappelle.
Not too shabby!
Personally, we can't wait to see Ali Wong's star joining the others following her recent sold out "Milk and Money" show!
DC might not be the first place you think of as a celebrity hot spot, but from Hollywood legends to stars of today, the names displayed at Warner beg to differ.
Stargazing is usually best done at night, but in this case, it's better to see the stars on the Warner Walk during the day and in off-hours to avoid people crowding the sidewalk, especially on show days.
Next up: DC's other Walk of Fame!
Curious? There's more!
Look up, down, and all around. Adventures can be found everywhere -- if you're curious enough to look. k for it