) Kind of a Drag: Divas at Resorts | Curtain Call | Arts & Entertainment | Atlantic City Weekly

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Kind of a Drag: Divas at Resorts

By David J. Spatz
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Apr. 12, 2011

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The Screening Room was formerly known as the Viking Theatre when the original building opened as the Haddon Hall in the 1920s, the decade for which the casino is themed.

Over the years, the intimate, fully-rigged theater has been used fitfully. In 1979, Resorts’ original owners staged two summer plays in the room, Mary Mary (which starred the late Don Ameche and The Mind With the Dirty Man, which featured the late Joey Bishop.

In 1980, the Viking Theater even became an ersatz synagogue and hosted the bar mitzvah of comedian Henny Youngman when the comedian was 73.

But Resorts’ various owners struggled trying to attract guests to the upper floor showroom, and the room was relegated mostly to lecture-hall status for conventions.

Merv Griffin rechristened the Viking Theatre the Screening Room during his tenure, but it was rarely used beyond occasional public and high-roller events.

From 2004 through 2006, the casino’s previous owner tried a variety of shows in the room, mostly revues and plays like Defending the Caveman, Menopause: The Musical, the burlesque-style The Love Kittens and musical comedian Tony Pace.

Divas is another indication that Gomes and his marketing team are trying to expand the appeal of the casino to a broader demographic. Although so-called drag shows have crossed over to become mainstream casino entertainment, they still tend to attract members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities, and Resorts has made no secret that’s a market of great interest to the property.

The casino even hired the casino industry’s first marketing director devoted strictly to GLBT guests.
Meanwhile, the night before Divas makes its debut, Resorts will launch a more traditional showroom offering. The Broadway-style musical 42nd Street will begin an eight-week run in the Superstar Theatre.

Idol Gossip: Congratulations to celebrated Philadelphia-based chef Georges Perrier, who was honored in Philadelphia last week with the Culinary Vision Award in recognition of his 40 years of tasty contributions to the Delaware Valley dining scene. Perrier has honored Atlantic City with his talents too; he and his business partner, chef Chris Scarduzzio, continue to set dining trends at Mia, their upscale Mediterranean-influenced restaurant at Caesars Atlantic City.

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