I COULD HAVE sworn that it's only been a matter of days since I was writing about Atlantic City's upcoming summer entertainment schedule. But the cold (and this week, I do mean
), hard fact is that New Year's Eve is but three weeks away. Which means if you're thinking about welcoming 2011 in Vegas-by-the-Sea, now's the time to consider your options.
Despite another absolutely miserable year, financially speaking, the casinos are ready to party hearty with a diverse and somewhat star-studded talent roster. And, this year's bacchanal will be twice as long because New Year's Day falls on a Saturday.
As far as headliners go, the New Year's Eve lineup is led by blues deity B.B. King. The 85-year-old guitar god will ring in '11 at Harrah's Resort Atlantic City.
Perhaps the most interesting booking is that of Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencer, who comprised the original cast of the Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons-inspired Broadway smash, "Jersey Boys." The quartet will be re-creating the sounds of the '60s superstar quartet, and performing a variety of other musical styles, at Tropicana Casino and Resort.
Elsewhere in town on New Year's Eve, "Polish Prince" Bobby Vinton will have the privilege of being the first headliner to work for the new owners of Resorts Atlantic City, while Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan hits the Circus Maximus stage at Caesars Atlantic City. If you're looking for laughs, TV's Joel McHale ("Community," "The Soup") is at Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa. And for the younger crowd, Maroon 5 will rock in the new year at House of Blues inside Showboat.
The hits keep coming New Year's Day with country chart-topper Carrie Underwood performing at Borgata's Event Center, while the real "Jersey Boy," Frankie Valli, is downstairs at the Big B's Music Box. House of Blues keeps the party going with a set by Third Eye Blind, and Tropicana's celebrates with "Sound of Philadelphia" titans, the O'Jays.
Younger revelers looking for something a little more participatory will find all of AyCee's hottest danceterias staging bashes under the auspices of big-time DJs (and, in the case of Dusk inside Caesars, actress Leighton Meester of "Gossip Girl" fame). But the AARP set needn't fret, as Jerry "The Geator With the Heater" Blavat will be leading the baby-boomer revelry at a Trump Taj Mahal soiree.
Listed below is the basic event info. All casinos are offering special New Year's Eve packages including room and/or dinner.
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, 1 Borgata Way, 609-317-1000, theborgata.com.
Joel McHale, 7 and 10:30 p.m. Dec. 31 (Music Box), $65 (early show), $75 and $65 (late show). Carrie Underwood, 8 p.m. Jan. 1 (Event Center), $185, $155, $135 and $95. Frankie Valli, 9 p.m. Jan. 1 (Music Box), $65.
Grape Street Riot, 7 p.m. Dec. 31 (Gypsy Bar), $25. 3AM, formerly known as Full Effect, 11 p.m. Dec. 31 (Gypsy Bar), $25. Music by DJ Spider, 9 p.m. Dec. 31 (MIXX), $80 (includes premium cocktail bar 9 to 11 p.m.). Music by D-Nice, 9 p.m. Dec. 31 (mur.mur), $100 (includes premium cocktail bar 9 to 11 p.m.).
Caesars Atlantic City, Boardwalk at Arkansas Avenue, 609-348-4411, caesarsac.com.
Sarah McLachlan, 9 p.m. Dec. 31, $115, $90 and $70. Leighton Meester (host)/music by Devin Lucien and DJ Royale, 10 p.m. Dec. 31 (Dusk), $100 (includes open bar 10 p.m. to midnight).
Harrah's Resort Atlantic City, 777 Harrah's Blvd., 800-342-7724, harrahs.com.
B.B. King, 10 p.m. Dec. 31, $75, $55 and $45.
Atlantic City Hilton, Boardwalk at Boston Avenue, 609-347-7111, hiltonac.com.
The O'Jays, 8 p.m. Jan. 1, $50.
Resorts Atlantic City, Boardwalk at North Carolina Avenue, 800-336-6378, resortsac.com.
Bobby Vinton, 10:30 p.m. Dec. 31, 8 p.m. Jan. 1, $55, $45 and $35 (Dec. 31), $35 and $25 (Jan. 1).
House of Blues at Showboat, 609-236-2583, hob.com/atlantic
Maroon 5, 9 p.m. Dec. 31, $75 and $65. Third Eye Blind, 8 p.m. Jan. 1, $45 and $37.50.
Tropicana Casino & Resort, Boardwalk at South Brighton Avenue, 609-340-4000, tropicana.net.
Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and J. Robert Spencer (original "Jersey Boys" cast), 10:30 p.m. Dec. 31, $115, $75, $65 and $45.
Beth Tinon, 10 p.m. Dec. 31 (Top of the Trop), $70 (includes premium bar, hors d'oeuvres and a champagne toast).
Trump Marina, Huron Avenue and Brigantine Boulevard, 609-441-2000, trumpmarina.com.
New Year's Eve Party at The Disco, music by DJ Puley Day, 9 p.m. Dec. 31, $50 (includes open bar 9 to 11 p.m.), $250 per couple for VIP seating plus bottle of champagne).
Trump Plaza, Boardwalk and Mississippi Avenue, 609-441-6000, trumpplaza.com.
B Street Band, 10 p.m. Dec. 31, $25.
Taj Mahal, Boardwalk and Virginia Avenue, 609-449-1000, trumptaj.com.
Jerry Blavat dance party, 9 p.m. Dec. 31, $125 (includes buffet dinner with carving station, open bar, champagne toast). New Year's Eve Party at Casbah, music by Eddie Edge, Yan and Tom Colontonio, 9 p.m., $95 (includes open bar until midnight and champagne toast), bottle service packages start at $1,000.
Chuck Darrow has been covering Atlantic City and casinos for over 20 years. Read
Saturdays at 1:45 a.m. with Steve Trevelise on WIP (610-AM) and 3:05 p.m.