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‘Just’ a Legend: Gwen Stefani’s Zappos Theater residency allows for intimate performances

‘Just’ a Legend: Gwen Stefani’s Zappos Theater residency allows for intimate performances
Gwen Stefani's residency at Zappos Theater debuts this June. (Yu Tsai)

The endearingly down-to-earth Gwen Stefani – who's always proudly presented herself as "just a girl" from Orange County — seems both excited and humbled to find herself headlining a Las Vegas residency.

"I've never done anything in my entire career that I wasn't passionate about," said Stefani. "[The residency] feels really right; it feels very creative. It feels like the right challenge, and it feels like an honor," she said.

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Humility aside, if her dynamic live performances over a 30-year career are any indication, Stefani will deliver. Her first-ever Las Vegas residency promises to be a nostalgic romp through a years long, hit-strewn discography with her band and as a solo artist. A single performance location dovetails neatly into her current life as a devoted mom, unable to tour to all corners of the Earth.

The 25-show run at Zappos Theater in Planet Hollwood Las Vegas Resort and Casino, dubbed "Gwen Stefani – Just a Girl," opens on June 27, with select dates through March 2019.

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"Creatively, I'm at a place where … [I] have enough hits now to really put on the kind of show that I think Vegas requires," said the former "The Voice" judge, who is also a successful fashion designer. "You can't really have a lot of filler – you have to have songs that people recognize." Stefani's residency will offer a rare chance to see the chart-topping chanteuse in refreshingly intimate surroundings. Expect radio-staple singles such as "Hollaback Girl," "The Sweet Escape," "Cool" and "What You Waiting For?" all delivered in Stefani's instantly recognizable voice and with her paranormally-energized, immaculately-choreographed charisma.

The 4,600-seat Zappos Theater, renamed and updated in February, boasts 60 ultra-high-definition projectors and LED walls, allowing for an adaptable, malleable stage show that can connect artists and their fans.

"Production-wise, you can do a lot more in Vegas than when you're traveling [on tour], and so I think that it will be really fun to be able to indulge costumes and … theater in a way that I never have before," she explained.

Famed for her intimate and confessional lyrics, Stefani promises her Vegas show continues the emotional journey  she's shared with fans since forming No Doubt in her hometown of Anaheim.

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Fans should expect her residency to follow the emotional peaks and valleys of Gwen's life. "Music is so nostalgic. So I really wanted the [Vegas] show to have that feeling," said Stefani. "So the way I laid the show out, it's kind of in five different sections, where I think you'll be able to clearly see that journey and have that nostalgic feeling." Stefani remained tight-lipped about visual specifics of her Zappos production during her interview, but revealed that she had just cast dancers from around 500 hopefuls. There will almost certainly be multiple costume changes from the L.A.M.B. fashion line founder. She's very aware that, unlike at a typical tour stop where the audience will be almost entirely hardcore fans, in Vegas she'll also be performing in front of a wider audience, including folks who are just looking for world-class entertainment while visiting Sin City.

Zappos Theater, an intimate venue that attracts all manner of visitors from the U.S. and beyond, represents what Stefani imagines will be a "new, fresh thing," compared to large stadium crowds.

Crucially for Stefani, her residency and its proximity to home allows her to continue prioritizing motherhood while still expressing herself on stage and bringing her fans a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"This is just an amazing way to be able to kinda indulge that creative … music, my job, who I am, part of me — but also to be there for the boys," she said. "I can fly out [to Vegas] on a Wednesday, I can come back and be in bed by midnight and still wake up for the kids in the morning."

-Paul Rogers, Custom Publishing Writer