Tribute artist Tierney Allen widens her range for a new show at the Space in Las Vegas

Tribute artist Tierney Allen widens her range for a new show at the Space in Las Vegas

Tierney Allen’s favorite case of mistaken identity happened early in her career, at the MGM Grand during the iHeartRadio Music Festival weekend.

“I left the bar and suddenly someone asked for a photo,” she recalls. “Then one person becomes five, turns into 20, turns into hundreds of people in the casino. People standing on top of vending machines. People on each other’s shoulders. It was an absolute blast.”

Security came inside. “They took me and my husband … to the back of the house and said, ‘Which suite are you in, Miss Gaga?’ And I say, “I’m not Lady Gaga.”

It was then that Allen, early in her role as Lady Gaga’s featured artist, realized that her likeness was enough. For the past seven years, the San Jose native has faithfully portrayed the award-winning artist through each iconic era on Legends in Concert.

“I’m very interested in her jazz age,” says Allen, a trained singer, pianist and violinist. “We know how talented she is from her pop stuff, but when she does her jazz shows in Vegas, man, she wails and she’s like Elvis and Liberace in one.”

Allen didn’t think much of honoring the performance until actress Kate Beckinsale walked into Fred Segal’s where she used to work. Beckinsale, buoyed by Allen’s resemblance to Gaga, encouraged Allen to turn the resemblance into a career.

On stage, Allen is a vocal powerhouse; offstage, she’s a diligent student who constantly studies Gaga’s mannerisms, “how she holds her hands, or how she shapes her mouth,” she explains. And Allen makes 99% of her Gaga replica outfits herself, with the exception of the diva’s beaded Versace Super Bowl outfit, which required a collaboration with a seamstress.

Allen says she has developed a new appreciation for her work since the pandemic. Along with shutting down entertainment, she was battling Stage 3 breast cancer. While undergoing chemotherapy and waiting to return to work, Allen and her husband – a well-known Elvis impersonator – invited other revered artists to performed for Stars in Quarantine, a Facebook Live show they produced and broadcast.

“I would get up every now and then and perform like Lady Gaga,” Allen says. “I was bald, but I put on a wig and made it work. Her music helped me get through it.”

Today, Allen is two years into remission and ready to take on another legend. Lady Winehouse, her new tribute show at Space on January 6, will pay tribute to Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse, two musicians she believes are strikingly similar.

“I want it to be an experience,” she says. “I want people to feel like Amy was alive and was here for Gaga’s Jazz Age, and they were sharing the same stage?”

The tribute marks a turning point for Allen, who up until this point had always relied on joining other people’s productions. Lady Winehouse is “something of mine”, she says, “something that I can create and take on the road when I want to go to casinos or different places around the world”.

While Allen has what it takes to carve her own path as an artist, her role as Gaga remains a priority and a passion. “It’s Halloween every day,” she says. “I can sing these incredible pop songs and jazz songs, and it still goes on. Why would I ever leave that?”

Tierney Allen: Lady Winehouse Jan. 6, 7 p.m., $30-$40. The Space,

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