Last week, “Motown: The Musical” premiered on Broadway, with musical legends like Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross and Gladys Knight among the stars on the red carpet to get a first look at the story of Berry Gordy Jr.’s Detroit record label. It’s sure to be a hit but you don’t need to see actors play the musicians with the Empress of Soul herself coming to Washington this week. Miss Knight rose to stardom in the 1960s and 1970s with her group Gladys Knight and the Pips, and went on to win seven Grammy awards, including one for the 1986 AIDS benefit song “That’s What Friends Are For” with Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder and Elton John. For two nights only, starting Thursday, Miss Knight will appear at Bethesda’s Music Center at Strathmore to perform her Motown favorites as well as newer songs. April 25-26 at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda. 301/581-5100. Web: strathmore.org.