These 6 AC casino shows are shore bets for summer fun

"The Burlesque Show" returns to the Borgata with new material and flesh uncovered by material.
"The Burlesque Show" returns to the Borgata with new material and flesh uncovered by material.
Posted: July 22, 2014

ONCE UPON a time, Atlantic City's casino showrooms hummed and buzzed year-round. Classic gaming-hall venues like the Claridge's Palace Theater and the Trump Plaza showroom were dark only when one midweek presentation had ended and another was preparing to open.

Today, extended-run presentations, much like the city itself, are pretty much warm-weather attractions - somewhat odd when you consider that summertime is AyCee's peak season and thus less-dependent on such attendance-growing lures. But this is the way things are done now in the beleaguered seaside gaming capital, and we should be grateful that such diversions are part of the summertime entertainment mix.

Six productions are here through the end of August or later, five at casinos and one at the Claridge, recently reopened as a hotel. These relatively low-budget - and affordable - offerings deal in magic, celebrity mimics, old-fashioned burlesque and even a tribute to the Beatles. Overall, they are excellent additions to the fun-in-AyCee menu.

'Beatlemania Now'

Unless something dramatic happens quickly, this salute to the Fab Four will stand as the finale in the storied, 30-year history of the Trump Plaza theater, as the casino is set to shut its doors in mid-September. But at least the room, which has hosted the likes of Tom Jones, Tony Bennett and Penn & Teller, is going out in style: "Beatlemania Now" ranks among the best musical salutes to the Liverpool lads, whose influence on pop music and culture shows no signs of diminishing.

Utilizing time-appropriate costumes and video, the revue surveys the band's career, from start ("She Loves You") to finish ("Let It Be"), with astonishing precision, including the all-important left-handed "Paul McCartney.

That we are in the midst of celebrating the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania only adds to this superb show's value this summer.

Trump Plaza, Boardwalk at Mississippi Avenue, 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays and Saturdays through Aug. 27, $30-$48. 800-736-1420, ticketmaster.com.

'The Burlesque Show'

The surprise hit of 2013 returns with new material and the same naughty, bawdy format. This fairly faithful recreation of 20th-century burlesque offers plenty of female flesh (striptease is a major element) and R-, if not X-rated, laughs from hilarious blackout sketches and comic Jeff Pirrami, whose gags about sex, his weight issues and more are delivered in a fun, high-energy manner.

Borgata, 1 Borgata Way, 9 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 9, $25, 866-900-4849, theborgata.com.

The Cat's Pajamas

This archaic handle belongs to a quintet of Branson, Mo.-based young men who have ridden the ongoing vocal-group revival to significant heights, including this summer-long AyCee gig.

The PJs do a cappella renditions of mostly baby-boomer-era pop hits - from '50s and '60s totems, like "Duke of Earl" and "Love Potion No. 9," to such '70s touchstones as "Your Song," by Elton John, and the Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Running."

Between songs, there's goofy interplay with the audience and somewhat amusing, scripted banter. Expect a pleasant, if a little bland, hour or so of family entertainment.

Resorts, Boardwalk at North Carolina Avenue, 8 p.m. Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30 and 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 30, $25, 800-736-1420, ticketmaster.com.

The Edwards Twins

This cabaret show at the Claridge could be the most unusual celebrity mimic-fest ever to hit town. Twins Eddie and Anthony Edwards not only dress convincingly like Bette Midler, Elton John, Cher and Barbra Streisand, they also sing just like them.

Although the duo has a distracting habit of asking (begging?) for applause too often, it's hard not to have fun at this kitschy little revue.

Incidentally, kudos are in order for the spectacular restoration that the Claridge's new owners have done on what is now called the Celebrity Theater. They've brought the old-school nightclub back to its casino-era sheen and can honestly boast that they have the coolest show-biz spot in town.

Claridge, Boardwalk at Park Place, 8 p.m. Saturday-Monday and Aug. 11, 18 and 25, also 7 p.m. Aug. 4, $40-$75, 800-736-1420, ticketmaster.com.

'The Magic of Rob Lake'

Lake, in his late 20s, is a performer with a lot of promise. He is technically strong and has a winning onstage manner - quick-witted, warm and engaging.

As with any magician, the key isn't what he does but how he does it, and Lake serves up enough new wrinkles to succeed with such vintage tricks as prognostication/mind reading and ostensibly separating his female assistant's head from her body.

Trump Taj Mahal, 8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday-Sunday through Aug. 31, no show this Saturday, $29, $24 ages 12 and under, 800-736-1420, ticketmaster.com.

'Magique Encore'

Mistinguett, this show's mono-monikered, veteran producer-director, has done choreography for several ultrashlocky production shows in Atlantic City through the decades, but "Magique Encore," a reworking of last year's "Magique," is an across-the-board winner.

Led by the illusion-conjuring duo of Kevin & Caruso, the show boasts plenty of old-fashioned casino-revue razzle-dazzle and commotion, not to mention some pretty sound wizardry and a heaping helping of sex.

Mistinguett retains her penchant for dressing dancers in bondage gear, but this is still a family-friendly affair. And it's all set to an EDM-infused, recorded score that gives it a modern sheen.

Tropicana, Boardwalk at Brighton Avenue, through Aug. 29, show times vary, $25 and $35 (children's discount available), 800-736-1420, ticketmaster.com.


On Twitter: @chuckdarrow

Blog: philly.com/Casinotes

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