News Column

Casino Scene: A guide to this weekend's entertainment [Press of Atlantic City (NJ)]

July 24, 2013

YellowBrix

New Kids on the Block with 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men at Trump Taj Mahal

WHO ARE THEY: Producer Maurice Starr put together New Kids on the Block after already achieving success with another Boston-area teenage group, New Edition. Pre-teen and teenage girls were enthralled with New Kids on the Block and the group began racking up hits in the late 1980s, including "Hangin' Tough," "I'll Be Loving You Forever" "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" "Step By Step" and "Please Don't Go Girl." Eventually, the group's popularity began to wane and the January 1994 release "Face the Music" was a major flop. The band cut its tour short and broke up in June 1994. Fourteen years later, New Kids on the Block finally reunited with the album "The Block" being released in September 2008.

Following in the footsteps of successful boy bands including Backstreet Boys, Hanson and 'N Sync, 98 Degrees emerged with its debut single "Invisible Man" in 1997 and the song made it to No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was a promising start for sure, but paled in comparison to the success of its 1998 album "98 Degrees and Rising," which went platinum four times over. It contained the hit songs "Because of You" and "The Hardest Thing." In January 2000, the group was featured on the chart-topping Mariah Carey single "Thank God I Found You" and later that year 98 Degrees scored a No. 2 single with "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)." The album "Revelation" went double platinum.

In the 1990s, this Philadelphia-based quartet became the most commercially successful R&B group of all time. It exploded out of the gates in 1991 with the hit single "Motownphilly" off of its debut "Cooleyhighharmony" album. In 1992, the single "End of the Road" from the "Boomerang" soundtrack spent a record-breaking 13 weeks at the top of the pop charts. Amazingly, the group was actually able to top themselves with the success of the single "I'll Make Love to You" from its album "II," which spent 14 weeks at No. 1. Its next single "On Bended Knee" replaced "I'll Make Love to You" on the top of the charts, a feat only previously accomplished by Elvis Presley and The Beatles.

WHAT TO EXPECT: "The Package Tour," featuring New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees and Boys II Men comes to the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort Friday night, much to the delight of screaming women everywhere. All three groups experienced massive success during the height of their careers and the combination of all three of them on the same bill will guarantee a packed house of rabid fans. New Kids on the Block fans can expect to hear hits such as "Hangin' Tough," "Step by Step" and "You Got It (The Right Stuff)," while 98 Degrees entertains the crowd with "Because of You," "The Hardest Thing" and "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)." Both groups will also be playing cuts from their respective new albums. Boys II Men will dazzle the crowd with its amazing harmonies and hit songs such as "Motown Philly," "I'll Make Love To You," "On Bended Knee" and "End of the Road."

WHAT'S NEW: 98 Degrees' new album is titled "2.0" and was released in May. New Kids on the Block released "10" back in April and debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200.

WEBSITE: NKOTB.com;

BoysIIMen.com;

98Degrees.com

SHOW INFO: Tickets are $95 and the show begins 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 26, at the Taj Mahal's Mark G. Etess Arena.

Beatlemania Now at Trump Plaza

WHO ARE THEY: Beatlemania Now has performed its tribute to The Beatles before hundreds of thousands of people during its career. With multiple costume changes, authentic instruments, a big-screen video presentation and more than 35 songs, the group chronologically traces the Beatles' career from their 1964 U.S. debut up until the swan song of "Let it Be." Beatlemania Now has performed internationally at everything from intimate club performances to gigantic outdoor gatherings of more than 20,000 people and has become the premier multi-media Beatles show in the process.

SHOW INFO: Tickets are $48. The show begins at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and runs through Aug. 31.

Plain White T's

at Revel

WHO ARE THEY: High school buddies Tom Higgenson, Dave Tirio and Ken Fletcher formed Plain White T's in 1997 while in high school in Chicago, performing in local venues and people's basements. The band's debut album, "Come on Over," was released in 2000. Lineup changes and several more releases followed before the indie rock band achieved mainstream success with the hit single "Hey There Delilah." The song not only reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, but also earned two Grammy nominations. In 2008, Plain White T's released the album "Big Bad World" which contained the hits "1, 2, 3, 4" and "Natural Disaster." Two years later, the band was back with "The Wonders of the Younger," which included the single "Rhythm of Love."

WHAT TO EXPECT: Indie pop punk rockers Plain White T's come to Revel on Friday for an intimate show at the Social. The Chicago-based band caught the attention of the mainstream with their smash single "Hey There Delilah" and it is sure to be played Friday night along with other hits such as "Natural Disaster," "1, 2, 3, 4" and "Rhythm of Love." The show will also feature cuts from the new EP "Should've Gone to Bed."

WHAT'S NEW: Plain White T's new EP "Should've Gone to Bed" was released in April.

WEBSITE:

PlainWhiteTs.com

SHOW INFO: Tickets are $10.61 and the show begins 8 p.m. Friday, July 26, at Revel's The Social.

Dark Star

Orchestra at HOB

WHO ARE THEY: Dark Star Orchestra is a critically acclaimed Chicago-based Grateful Dead tribute band. It has been praised in publications such as Rolling Stone, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News and The Denver Post. The Associated Press said that DSO "takes its act to a level of detail that benefits a rock band famous for its fanatical following." The band has even had the privilege of being joined onstage by members of the Grateful Dead themselves, including Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann. Dark Star Orchestra has performed close to 1,300 shows and has released three CDs.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Since the 1995 death of legendary Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia ended the touring legacy of America's premier jam band, Deadheads have had to look elsewhere to get their fix. Well fans, look no further than Dark Star Orchestra. This Chicago-based band has left no stone unturned in its attempt to recreate the most authentic Grateful Dead tribute show imaginable. Each show is a replication of a classic Dead show featuring the original setlist, phrasing, vocal arrangements, instruments and even stage plot. At the end of each performance the band announces the date and venue of the concert they just re-created.

SHOW INFO: Tickets are $25 and the show begins 7 p.m. Friday, July 26, at the House of Blues.

David Cassidy

at Tropicana

WHO IS HE: David Cassidy became a teen idol in the early 1970s in large part due to his role as Keith Partridge on "The Partridge Family" television show. Unlike other members of the cast, Cassidy was permitted to sing on recordings and the group scored a No. 1 hit with "I Think I Love You" in November 1970. Cassidy then scored a hit of his own with "Cherish" and he was off and running on tours around the globe. As his popularity began to wane, Cassidy began working more as an actor in theater productions. In the mid-1990s, Cassidy experienced a career resurgence and became a fixture at Las Vegas casinos.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Despite dealing with the ups and downs of pop stardom and the mayhem associated with being a teen idol, David Cassidy has remained true to himself and his audience. "I've never gone out and changed my style to suit the times," said Cassidy on his official website. "I have always stayed true to myself by trying to sing about the human experience. It's important to reveal your own fragility, faults and mistakes. Bringing that human element to my work is the most important thing I can do as an entertainer." Fans will get an opportunity to see the former Partridge Family star perform at Tropicana on Friday.

SHOW INFO: Tickets are $30 and $50. The show begins 9 p.m. Friday, July 26, at the Tropicana Casino and Resort Showroom.

Bill Maher at Revel

WHO IS HE: Comedian Bill Maher began doing standup shortly after his graduation from Cornell in 1978, but it wasn't until the launch of his television show, "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher" in 1993 that he became known to the masses. The show, which Maher described as "The McLaughlin Group on acid," featured actors, politicians, musicians, authors, comedians and writers debating the hot topics of the day with Maher serving as both moderator and host. The show was abruptly pulled from the air in 2002, following controversial statements Maher made regarding terrorists, but he was back in 2003 with a new HBO show "Real Time With Bill Maher," which was less formal and just as engaging. Throughout the years, Maher has had small roles in many feature films and television shows, while continuing to perform stand-up comedy on a regular basis.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Bill Maher's brutal honesty and sharp political wit have endeared him to millions. In fact, Maher's political observations and commentary are so astute that it's easy to forget that he's technically a comedian by trade. Regardless of what administration is in office, there is always plenty for Maher to poke fun at. A Bill Maher performance is one that will make you both laugh and think and you'll definitely have something to talk about when the show is over.

WEBSITE:

BillMaher.com

SHOW INFO: Tickets are $50.50, $70.50 and $90.50. The show begins 9 p.m. Saturday, July 27, at Revel's Ovation Hall.

Sugar Hill Gang

at Bally's Bikini Beach Bar

WHO ARE THEY: Michael "Wonder Mike" Wright, Henry "Big Bank Hank" Jackson and Guy "Master Gee" O'Brien all hailed from Englewood and formed the Sugarhill Gang with the help of producer Sylvia Robinson in the mid-1970s. The group became famous for ushering in recorded hip-hop music in 1979 with its multi-platinum-selling Top 40 hit single "Rapper's Delight." Although the group was never able to equal the success of "Rapper's Delight," it did have minor hits with "Apache," "Eighth Wonder," "Rapper's Reprise" and "Showdown."

WHAT TO EXPECT: Although The Sugar Hill Gang didn't invent rap music, it can take credit for putting it on the map and exposing it to a mass audience with its 1979 hit single "Rapper's Delight." The opening lyric "I said a hip hop, the hippie, the hippie to the hip-hip hop and you don't stop" is about as famous as any in rap music and fans at Bally's Atlantic City can look forward to hearing it Saturday night when The Sugar Hill Gang performs a free concert at the Bikini Beach Bar. The group also will be performing songs such as "Apache" and "Eighth Wonder."

SHOW INFO: Tickets are FREE. The show begins 10 p.m. Saturday, July 27, at Bally's Bikini Beach Bar.

Soja

at House of Blues

WHO ARE THEY: Soja is a reggae band from Arlington, Va., that has been performing since 1997. The band's debut independent album "Soldiers of Jah Army" was released in 2000 and its first full-length "Peace in a Time of War" came two years later. In January 2006, Soja released "Get Wiser," which debuted in the Top 10 of reggae albums on iTunes. A live DVD titled "Get Wiser Live" was released in November 2007 and featured a set full of classic songs plus the entire "Get Wiser" album.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Reggae band Soja comes to the House of Blues Saturday night ready to capitalize on those sweet summer vibes. For the past 16 years, Soja has been touring the world and spreading good vibes through its music and has built up a sizeable following along the way. Concert-goers can expect to hear songs from throughout their career including a decent amount from the 2012 album "Strength to Survive."

WHAT'S NEW: SOJA's latest album "Strength to Survive" topped the Billboard Reggae Album Chart upon its release in January 2012.

WEBSITE:

SojaMusic.com

SHOW INFO: Tickets are $19.99 and $29.99. The show begins 8 p.m. Saturday, July 27, at the House of Blues.

Divas Do AC at Resorts Casino Hotel

WHO ARE THEY: Divas Do AC is a female and celebrity impersonator show which features a rotating cast of characters including Dolly Parton, Prince, Patti Labelle, Liza Minelli, Marilyn Monroe and Madonna. Joan Rivers serves as the show's impersonator host.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Everywhere you look these days it seems like somebody is doing A.C., and apparently the divas are no exception. The female and celebrity impersonator show Divas Do AC is back at Resorts Casino Hotel with a revamped show that is sure to have concertgoers laughing out loud and singing along. Host Joan Rivers kicks things off and keeps things lively and entertaining as other legendary stars from past and present make their appearances. Elaborate costumes and makeup along with accurate impersonations make audience members feel like they're seeing the real stars all on one stage.

MINI?REVIEW: If there's a star of this show, it's Joan Rivers, played by Gary Dee. As MC , Dee warms up the crowd between numbers and delivers the crude humor everyone is used to seeing on E!'s 'Fashion Police,'" says At The Shore critic Lauren Kohout. "Dolly Parton also was a crowd-pleaser for all the country lovers in the audience. Dancing along to hits such as '9 to 5,' Jason Cosmo certainly looked the part in bright pink dresses and Dolly's famous big hair. Prince is one of the crowd's favorites during the show. Yes, it's true, Prince is a man and doesn't quite fit into the drag queen genre, but he certainly is a diva. And Frank Moore shows he belongs by doing an epic job of portraying the artist. He also may have the best robot moves in all of Atlantic City. When it's time for Moore's dance break, you'll understand why this is a show worth seeing."

SHOW INFO: Tickets are $25, and the shows begins 8 p.m. Mondays, 9 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays, and 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at Resorts Casino Hotel's Screening Room.

Legends in Concert at Bally's

WHO ARE THEY: Legends in Concert began in Las Vegas in the 1980s and has been running strong ever since as the world's most successful tribute show. The show has been so successful that Bally's renovated the Palace Theater and renamed it Legends in Concert Theater in order to host the show on an ongoing basis. It features new seats, more booths and cocktail tables and walls of memorabilia. The show will present five different lineups of entertainers throughout the year.

WHAT'S NEW: Legends in Concert features a brand-new lineup including tributes to Katy Perry, Michael Buble, Elvis Presley, Tina Turner and Tom Jones.

SHOW INFO: Tickets are $32.50. The shows begin 3, 7:30, 8 and 10 p.m. Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at the Legends Theater at Bally's.

Joe Holiday's

Family Friendly

Magic Show

at Comedy Stop

WHO IS HE: Joe Holiday is a magician who takes a family-friendly approach to magic and entertainment. The Atlantic City native has performed around the world on cruise ships, at amusement parks and corporate events and has even performed for the U.S. military overseas.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Those looking for a show that the whole family can enjoy will want to check out Joe Holiday at the Comedy Stop. Holiday amazes audiences with sleight of hand and stage magic tricks and creates a fun-filled atmosphere that engages children and lets them participate in the show. The magician, who is an Atlantic City native and South Jersey resident, is excited about the opportunity to perform in his hometown after years on the road.

WEBSITE:

JoeHoliday.com

SHOW INFO: Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children. Add dinner to your show at 5:30 p.m. for $10 per adult, $5 per child. The show begins 6:30 p.m. Thursdays through Tuesdays at The Comedy Stop Cafe and Cabaret inside Tropicana Casino and Resort.

The Burlesque Show at Borgata

WHAT IS IT: The Burlesque Show is a new production at Borgata that offers a tribute to the burlesque style of the 1940s. The show features entertainers from around the globe in vaudeville skits and provocative dances.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Those looking to transport themselves back in time to the 1940s, when burlesque shows featured beautiful women in rhinestone trimming and tassels, will want to check out "The Burlesque Show" at Borgata's Music Box. "Borgata has always been committed to introducing our customers to the most diverse and innovative entertainment in Atlantic City," says Borgata Senior Vice President of Operations Joe Lupo in a press release. "With the commencement of 'The Burlesque Show' every Thursday throughout the summer, we look forward to presenting yet another exciting, unique entertainment option for our clientele to enjoy."

SHOW INFO: Tickets are $25, and the shows begin 9 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 29, at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa's Music Box.

Magique Grand

Illusionists

at Tropicana

WHO ARE THEY: "Magique" is a new family-friendly production which stars Kevin & Caruso and is directed by renowned choreographer Mistinguett. The show includes amazing illusions as well as comedy and cirque and runs for six weeks at Tropicana Casino and Resort.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Those looking for a fun, lively, entertaining show that the whole family can enjoy will want to check out "Magique" at Tropicana. Audience members will be amazed as showgirls appear and then disappear just as easily from a puff of smoke and somehow pass through a maze of spinning blades and Lord Caruso will levitate right before everyone's eyes. Director Mistinguett brings her distinctive style to the show which includes a spectacular soundtrack, video screens and amazing special effects.

SHOW INFO: Tickets are $25 and $10 (for children 16 and under), and the shows begin 3:30 and 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The show runs Saturday, July 20, through Aug. 30, at the Tropicana Showroom.

I Love Lucy

at Harrah's

WHAT TO EXPECT: Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel will come to life on stage at Harrah's Resort during "I Love Lucy: Live on Stage." Audience members will be transported back in time to the innocence of the 1950s as they follow the hilarious domestic adventures of the zany Lucy and her beloved hot-tempered husband Ricky. The television show was a major hit during its initial run, and managed to sustain its legacy for years afterwards thanks to its success in syndication.

SHOW INFO: Tickets are $29, $49 and $59, and the show begins 3 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays, 8 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, and 5 and 9 p.m. Saturdays. The show runs through Aug. 4 at Harrah's.

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