Caesars’ show producer is ‘Hook’ed on Atlantic City; Delaware Park improvement project complete

Also, seasonal saloon pops up again at Resorts; new shop at Ocean AC.

As noted in our 2023 wrap-up column, the biggest casino-entertainment happening of 2023 was the early-summer debut of The Hook at Caesars Atlantic City.

The adults-only revue that blends raunchy humor with top-shelf “cirque”-style specialty acts is the first “permanent” AyCee presentation and the first ever staged in a venue built exclusively to house it. Given its special status, we figured it would be a good time to check in with creator-producer Ross Mollison to see how his groundbreaking baby is doing and get an update on what, if any changes have been-or might be—made.

Overall, offered Mollison during a recent phone chat, he is more than pleased with how the past six months have gone, both with the show itself and with Superfrico, the “psychedelic-Italian” eatery that is an integral part of the “Hook” experience. We were especially interested in how things were going during this, the slowest time of the year for AyCee tourism.

“We’ve way exceeded our expectations,” he proclaimed in the accent of his native Melbourne, Australia.

“I just came back from Japan, where I was for a few weeks, and I went to see the show and went to Superfrico. I wanted to see the kind of crowd we’d have on what I thought would be the toughest day of the year—a mid-week day in early January after a storm--and, we still had a fantastic vibe in the restaurant and a fantastic vibe in the theater, and that's so exciting to see.

“And really, we are just learning the market, learning what makes sense on a monthly and yearly basis for a seasonal regional market like Atlantic City and we’re making adjustments. For instance, we've launched a [Sunday] brunch service that actually had its [debut the first weekend of the year] and it was a really big success; I think that will grow over time.”

As for the show, Mollison isn’t predicting any major changes, but, he does expect it to evolve over time as has his Las Vegas productions, including the raucously hilarious, Caesars Palace-based Absinthe.

“If you could have a house of a hundred people laughing and loving it in there on a Wednesday night in early January, then you're on the road to success,” he reasoned. “It's [comic] Dick Marlin's show, but we continue to work on the comedy and I think the comedy just gets stronger and stronger.

“I believe the show has really found its feet and I think it's got a great position within the market. People are just loving it, and the fact is the audience numbers continue to grow. We had an enormous week--I think it may have even been our biggest week ever--the week after Christmas. And I think that bodes very well for what we're gonna do in summer of this year.”

Nonetheless, he added, there could be some cast changes.

“We're doing [contract] renewals now because we planned this a long time in advance and everyone was contracted for a year. [Cast members] are loving living in this area, and I think we're gonna see more people who want to come and live and work here. We've got a few artists from Vegas who've expressed interest in being here. And I think that will lead to more opportunities for us to mix it up a little bit.

“Just as in Vegas, which continues to grow year to year, and we continue to work on new ideas that go in there, we will do that with 'The Hook,' and we will continue to see Dick Marlin's show evolve over time.

“One of our biggest assets in our Vegas shows is repeat visitation. We have one guy who comes back to Atomic Saloon [at the Venetian] so regularly, he's nearly about to have seen it a hundred times. And I think that's because we do constantly evolve the shows, and we will be doing that in Atlantic City. But, it'll still be fundamentally the same property with new artists coming in to supplement that.”

For tickets, click here.

Delaware Park bets on upgrades

January 25 saw the official unveiling of some $10 million worth of improvements at Delaware Park Casino & Racing in Wilmington, Del.

The reno project includes The new custom chandeliers and other lighting fixtures, casino-table furniture, custom carpeting, vaulted ceilings and wall murals. There are also a new high-end midi-baccarat and blackjack pit; state-of-the-art slot machine themes; expansion of the VIP bar that includes video poker machines and a Foo Noodle, a noodle bar located in the high-limit table-games area.

XO Bar back at Resorts

Also currently doing business under a gaming-hall roof is XO Bar, the popular pop-up that Resorts Casino-Hotel has revived for the Valentine’s Day season.

The temporary saloon, which will shut down on Feb. 29, is located at Bar One and boasts a number of Valentine’s-themed drinks with names like The Love Bug, The Red Velvet Flirtini and The Spicy Hot Shot. A daily happy hour runs from 4 to 8 p.m.

On Feb. 6, XO will celebrate “Galentines Day” with an appearance by popular AyCee drag performer Brittany Lynn. She’ll be joined by Brittany Marie, Billy Cavallo, Miss Redd, and DJ Da Boo Boo.

The free event starts with a 5 p.m. happy hour with show time at 6.

For more, click here.

New retail outlet at Ocean

Ocean Casino Resort recently cut the ribbon on its latest shopping outpost. 

Located next to the Starbucks on the casino level, NectarLife – the first East Coast operation for the Las Vegas-based outfit – is described as a “handmade, sustainable dessert-inspired bath and body outlet” featuring such offerings as hand scrubs, body washes, bubble baths and body-polish scrubs. 

All of NectarLife’s products are manufactured in the U.S, and are 100-percent vegan, ethically sourced, free of all parabens (chemical preservatives), sulfates and phthalates (used to make plastic durable) and never tested on animals.

For more, click here.

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