The seductive Almost Angels were an instant hit when they debuted at Ego Lounge in 2008, and frequent fine-tuning has kept them at the top of A.C.’s lounge acts.
The Almost Angels might counter the cliché “don’t fix it if it ain’t broken” with “nothing ventured, nothing gained,” as the sexy Ego Lounge act has, if anything, gained popularity since it arrived in 2008 by frequently tweaking its original product.
No act is exempt from losing some luster over time, but much of the Angels’ growing success and longevity is credited to vocalist/choreographer Gina Cannuscio’s meticulous drive to perfect existing numbers and create new ones. “Gina C” leads the six-female singing/dancing group that performs every Thursday through Saturday night at the Taj Mahal, backed by a DJ, guitarist/vocalist Dan Jost and percussionist/rapper Ron Segers.
Last Thursday, April 12, the Taj debuted its amped-up Almost Angels act in a media event, along with several other amenities new to Ego Lounge including burlesque-style dancers performing on mini-stages during and in-between the Angels’ 50-minute sets, and “dealer-tainers” running blackjack tables in Ego’s club-like setting. A typical Angels’ set list might span the gamut of old school dance, hip hop, pop music or R&B.
“I think the hotel did a great job incorporating the freestyle dancers, and trying to bring the energy to all areas, and not just on the stage,” says Angels’ co-producer Dan Mulhern. “When the Angels finish their set we have a whole crew of dancers who come into this room and keep the energy going. So it’s really about not letting the energy levels drop.”
The 24-hour lounge also makes for an excellent place to take in a ballgame or sporting event with about a dozen flat-screen TVs, comfortable couches and lounge chairs with a bottle-service option, a state-of-the-art sound system, signature cocktails and a bar embedded with slot machines that offers weekday drink specials. But the Angels remain, of course, the main attraction.
“Obviously we have just a great chemistry of people right now,” says Mulhern. “We’re also kind of honing material and incorporating new material so we’re right on top of the charts. Costuming-wise we’ve got a whole new look and we have two other new ones coming in the course of the next month.”
While Cannuscio, Jost and Segers might be labeled the Angels’ foundation, each of the six female performers plays a vital role in the overall act, with each alternating as the lead or co-lead singer during the set. Last Thursday the set list included “I Got A Feeling” (by the Black Eyed Peas), “U Make Me Feel” (Cobra Starship), “We Found Love” (Rihanna) “Beep” (Pussycat Dolls), “Only Girl” (Rihanna), a rap medley, “Hold It Against Me” (Britney Spears), “ET” (Katy Perry), “Ass Back Home” (Gym Class Heroes), “Give Me Everything” (Pitbull) and a Janet Jackson medley.
“As producers we look at what everyone’s strengths are and we always want to highlight them,” says Mulhern. “The selection of material is really adapted to the talent and the styles that they’re most comfortable with. All the material you see is really a good fit for those who are the lead vocalists for those songs.
“Where they are now is to the point of almost knowing each other’s thoughts,” he adds. “Gina’s a tremendous choreographer, she’s meticulous in her craft, and the choreography you’re seeing is the same thing you’re going to see on the stages with Britney [Spears], with Rihanna, or with any other pop artist right now. So I think that the appeal to this room is that you’re kind of in your living room, and this concert is right in front of you. You’ve got your bottle and your cocktail and your friends, and there’s no better feeling.
“They’ve really got a cool thing going here.”
Where: Trump Taj Mahal casino floor
When: Lounge open 24/7. The Almost Angels perform Thurs. 9:30pm-2am, Fri. & Sat. 10:30pm-3am.
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