You can warm up your season instantly by attending "Holiday Cirque Polynesian," running through Friday, Dec. 30, at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.

The show features the unusual sight of Santa paired with a cast of fire eaters, aerial artists and tropically clad dancers.

The performance is the perfect antidote for "when it's cold outside and you think about landing on a Polynesian island surrounded by dancers and warriors," says producer Tuffy Nicholas.

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If you're looking to turn up the heat a notch - and you're over 21 - you might want to check out Resorts' companion show, "Holiday Cirque Risque," which also runs through Dec. 30.

The adults-only production features much of the same cast as its Polynesian counterpart, including singer Robert Hatcher of "America's Got Talent" and "American Idol" fame, but boasts a very different vibe.

"It's a grown-up circus," Nicholas says. "Santa's sexy little helpers are doing all kinds of cirque routines to impress Santa Claus."

Meanwhile, "Legends in Concert," the long-running celebrity impressionist show at Bally's Atlantic City, has added holiday numbers to its performances through Jan. 1, as has Resorts' "Believe: Divas in a Man's World," through Dec. 30.

"Holiday Cirque Polynesian" combines Nicholas' fondness for things island-related - he lived and worked in Hawaii for seven years - with his personal connection to the circus.

The Atlantic City-based Nicholas was born in Sarasota, Fla., where Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus used to train in the offseason.

"My dad was the ringmaster and coined the phrase, 'Children of all ages,' and my mom was the polar-bear trainer," he says.

But his Resorts productions are very much modern-day cirques.

The cast includes a contortionist who performs with Cirque du Soleil's "Zumanity" and a champion juggler from the Ukraine whose skills range from keeping 11 hoops in the air to throwing up five clubs while standing on a 10-foot-high pole with a soccer ball on his head.

For the Polynesian edition, Santa arrives on a surfboard and gives performers presents that magically transform them into cirque performers. In "Risque," Santa's female elves show a bit more skin - they're clad in pasties and G-strings.

But there's male eye candy, too.

"One of our Polynesian warriors has a super-buff body, and does a bit of a burlesque number," Nicholas says.

Both shows feature live singing over tracks, supplemented by one musician who performs 11 instruments, including electric guitar, cello and ukulele, and a second who handles percussion, keyboards and trumpet.

Tunes range from an Elvis-like take of "Here Comes Santa Claus" to a French version of "The Christmas Song."

The holidays are also celebrated with productions of "Believe" and "Legends."

The former sports new costumes for its cast of "divas," who have added Dolly Parton's "I'll Be Home With Bells On" and Cher's "Baby Please Come Home," among other holiday numbers, to their repertoires.

Legends similarly has bolstered its program with seasonal material. The show's Celine Dion will do "So This Is Christmas," for example, while its Aretha Franklin performs "O Holy Night" and its Elvis warbles through "Blue Christmas."

"When people come to see a Legends show, they love to hear the music that made these folks famous, and we blend a holiday classic along with it," says Chris Beattie, Legends' regional general manager. "They're getting both things they expect to see."



Cirque offers Ultra Lounge for New Year's Eve

The cast of Resorts Atlantic City's "Holiday Cirque Polynesian" and "Holiday Cirque Risque" will end the year on a festive note with a burlesque-themed party on Dec. 31 on the first floor of the Ocean Tower.

"Cirque Ultra Lounge" promises to bring a modern sensibility to traditional burlesque made famous by Gypsy Rose Lee. The event will feature "vignettes" performed every 30 minutes by the dancers and specialty acts from the cirque productions.

There also will be a DJ, champagne toast at midnight and an appearance by singer Robert Hatcher, a former competitor on "America's Got Talent" and "American Idol."

Admission is $50 until midnight, $25 after midnight and $75 for a reserved table, plus a one-bottle minimum.

"It's a fun party for our last day at Resorts," says Cirque producer Tuffy Nicholas, who created the "Ultra Lounge" concept. "It will definitely be one-of-a-kind."

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