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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Plus, the Trail of Two Cities, Diva Bingo and the Album of the Week
The entrepreneurial drive and outside-the-box disposition that Resorts’ late CEO Dennis Gomes was so well known for manifested itself in the Pro Bar — the first in-casino gay nightclub in Atlantic City’s history that opened a year ago in tandem with the celebrity- and female-impersonation revue show Believe: Divas in a Man’s World.
“I wish I could say I did it dancing, but the truth is that I tripped over my dog."
Turns out, 'Believe' is a bridge of understanding and acceptance too — between worlds that might otherwise not meet.
Resorts has provided AC Weekly with terrific time-lapse video showing the raising of the new Resorts Event Pavilion, where the circuses will be performed through Sept. 11, 2011.
Female impersonators are nothing new in the Atlantic City landscape. Bally’s hosted An Evening at La Cage for 11 years and the town has hosted the Miss’d America Pageant, a spoof of the Miss America Pageant featuring cross-dressing gentlemen. However, the town has never hosted a show as enticing and hilarious as 'Believe - Divas In A Man’s World.'
'Everything we do as a society is based on love. I want to welcome everyone. Our arms are open to all aspects of our culture.'
This GLBT population consistently frequents areas/genres that cater to multiple orientations. They are not limited to the old definition, but are more so driven to openly enjoy themselves in environments that are mutually sensitive — and not offensive.
Definition of a drag queen? A man who likes to eat, drink, and be Mary! It may sound funny to some and it’s easy to crack a joke here and there, but until you get to an event such as this past weekend’s Miss’d America Pageant, you cannot imagine the talent, sincerity, and camaraderie that fills the room.
The show was created in the early 1990s by former Atlantic City Councilman John Schultz and his partner, Gary Hill, and held at their old Studio Six nightclub, once considered the epicenter for gay life in Atlantic City.
The openly gay comic takes the reigns of the city's newest tradition, Miss'd America, which takes place at Boardwalk Hall Sunday, Jan. 16.
So last week, there was Hitchen, head to toe decked out as “Knockers Johnson,” filming the opening skit for this year’s pageant on the beach. Other characters were Lucy Luckyano and Ally Capone, possibly the first time some of America’s most famous gangsters ....
“I’m very much looking forward to visiting Atlantic City,” says de Medici, who will also be in attendance during Saturday night’s post party at the Pro Bar at Resorts.
Girls Night: The Musical provides a basic female bonding plot involving four female friends — and a fifth who is there in “spirit” only — letting down their hair and enjoying ’80s music, gossip and belting out female empowerment songs at a Karaoke bar.
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