For the first time in years, it’s really beginning to look a lot like the holiday season judging just from the list of entertainers bringing their seasonal shows to Atlantic City’s casinos.
With a few exceptions, the gaming halls used to stick by their own holiday rule about booking headliners between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve: unless you’re bringing back Elvis for one final concert, never try to compete with Santa Claus.
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Fluctuations in the economy often played a role in the entertainment slow down during the holidays. But this year, in a sign that the economy is on the rebound, not only are the gaming halls stocking their showrooms with holiday programs, but venues throughout the region are offering a potpourri of productions.
Here’s a list of shows that have caught our attention during this most wonderful time of the year:
In the casinos…
“98 Degrees at Christmas,” featuring the popular boy band 98 Degrees, 9 p.m. Nov. 25, in Borgata’s Music Box. Tickets are $69 and $79.
The Atlantic City Ballet dances “It’s A Shore Holiday” at Caesars Atlantic City, 4 p.m. Nov. 26. Tickets are $45, available through Ticketmaster.com.
“Smoky Mountain Christmas — A Holiday Tribute to Kenny & Dolly,” a tribute to the holiday music of Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton at Caesars Atlantic City, 3:30 p.m. Nov. 30. Tickets are $35, available through Ticketmaster.com.
“Christmas Queens,” a show featuring popular drag queens in Borgata’s Music Box, 9 p.m. Dec. 2. Tickets are $25, available at TheBorgata.com.
“My Big Gay Italian Christmas” at the Golden Nugget, 8 p.m. Dec. 2, and 7 p.m. Dec. 3. Tickets are $79.50 and $99, available through Ticketmaster.com.
“Mannheim Steamroller Christmas” by Chip Davis at Harrah’s Resort, 9 p.m. Dec. 9 Tickets are $45, $59 and $75, available through Ticketmaster.com.
Kenny Rogers, a longtime holiday headliner in Atlantic City, brings the holiday version of his final world tour, “The Gambler’s Last Deal,” to Golden Nugget 9 p.m. Dec. 9. Tickets range from $102 to $228, available through Ticketmaster.com.
“Holiday Jubilee,” Tropicana’s long-running holiday production show, will be presented on select dates and times now through Dec. 22. Tickets are $10 for children under 16 and $25 for adults, available through Ticketmaster.com.
“We Three Kings,” presented by The Irish Tenors at Resorts Casino Hotel, 8 p.m. Dec. 9. Tickets are $55, $75 and $85, available through Ticketmaster.com.
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Andrea McArdle, Broadway’s original “Annie,” is featured in The Bay Atlantic Symphony’s holiday show in Borgata’s Music Box 8 p.m. Dec. 16. Tickets are $25 and $35, available at TheBorgata.com.
The Atlantic City Ballet dances “The Nutcracker” at Caesars Atlantic City 7 p.m. Dec. 16, and 4 p.m. Dec. 17. Tickets are $40 and $45, available through Ticketmaster.com.
Naughty? Nice? Or both? The holiday edition of The Burlesque Show returns to Borgata’s Music Box 9 p.m. Dec. 26 to 31. Tickets are $30, available at TheBorgata.com.
The Pointer Sisters ring in a New Year at Resorts Casino Hotel 10:30 p.m. Dec. 31. Tickets are $55 and $75, available through Ticketmaster.com.
Sister Sledge gets the honor of welcoming a New Year at the Tropicana 9:30 p.m. Dec. 31. Tickets are $55, $65 and $75, available through Ticketmaster.com.
Solve the murder of Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Dickens of a Murder” at The Palm in Tropicana, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10. Tickets are $85 and include dinner. Call 609-344-0483 to reserve your seat.
Cape May Stage presents the holiday comedy “The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged),” starring a trio of Broadway actors. At Congress Hall they will present “A Christmas Carol: The Radio Show,” Nov. 25 to Dec. 30. For show times and ticket information, go to CapeMayStage.org.
“Season’s Greetings Holiday Show” at the Eagle Theatre in Hammonton features four performers, a live band and a multi-cultural musical journey around the world. Various times from Dec. 13 to 23. For show times and ticket information, go to EagleTheatre.com.
“The Wizards of Winter” comes to the Landis Theater in Vineland, 8 p.m. Nov. 24. Tickets are $30, $35 and $40. For tickets, go to LandisTheater.com.
The Landis Theater will also present its holiday concert 8 p.m. Dec. 9. Tickets are $33 and available at LandisTheater.com.
The Ocean City Theatre Company presents Madison Square Garden’s version of “A Christmas Carol — The Broadway Musical,” at the Ocean City Music Pier 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8, 9, 15 and 16, with matinees at 2 p.m. Dec. 10 and Dec. 16. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $15 for children, available by calling 609-399-6111 or at OceanCityVacation.com
“Scrooge: The Musical” at Elaine’s Dinner Theater is a comedic improv show based on the Christmas classic. Opens Nov. 24 and runs nearly every day through New Years. Tickets are $49.95 for adults, $39.95 for teens 13 to 17, and $29.95 for kids under 12. Go to ElainesCapeMay.com for more info.