Monday, September 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Don Who? Exactly

One of the casualties of the ongoing financial crisis facing Atlantic City's casinos is the holiday-season production show. Even "Spirit of Christmas," Tropicana Atlantic City's annual, low-budget revusical is a no-show this Yuletide.

Don Who? Exactly

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Entertainer Don Who? is celebrating the holidays at Resorts Casino-Hotel. Photo: www.donwho.com

 

One of the casualties of the ongoing financial crisis facing Atlantic City’s casinos is the holiday-season production show. Even “Spirit of Christmas,” Tropicana Atlantic City’s annual, low-budget revusical is a no-show this Yuletide.

But there is one gaming hall that is at least trying to give visitors a little bit of that old-time showroom holiday fare. Through Dec. 20, Resorts Casino-Hotel is presenting “Christmas From the White Mountains,” a one-man show starring Don Who?

And before we go any further, let it be known that question mark isn’t a typo, but the actual stage name of the show’s star (his real name is Don Columbe).  

The New Hampshire native (hence the show's title) is another in a series of lounge-level acts that have played extended engagements at Resorts’ venerable Superstar Theater. He is, however, at the head of this class. Who? is a retro-style variety entertainer who adds comedy and instrumental bits to his primarily musical program. He is a competent and facile singer whose delivery and phrasing owe much to several pop icons including Dean Martin, whose visage graces the recreation-room stage set.

Who?’s set list emphasizes seasonal tunes, primarily of the pop variety (“Blue Christmas,” “The Christmas Song” and even “Gramdma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”), which gives “Christmas From White Mountain” an inoffensive sheen (meaning those who do not celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ will not be inundated with non-secular odes and hymns). But despite its title, the presentation is not exclusive to the holiday. Because this is AyCee and it’s apparently the law, Who? includes an Elvis Presley tribute that provides one of the show’s weaker musical interludes. There are also renditions of such non-holiday numbers as “Mack the Knife” and “The Impossible Dream.”

“Christmas From the White Mountains” also contains a couple of moments that can best be described as “weird.” One comes in the form of the lampooning of the late Alfred Hitchcock (which Who? accomplishes with some not-particularly convincing costuming). In this case, the question isn’t “Who?” but “Why?” although I guess the bit is now au courant thanks to the new Hitch biopic starring Anthony Hopkins.

In another segment, Who?, who performs to recorded instrumental tracks, plays drums to—I kid you not—a disco version of “White Christmas.” That’s creepy enough, but he takes it to another level by doing so dressed in a snowman costume (the joke being that he’s introduced as “Frosty the Drummer Boy”).

Still, Who? is a likeable performer who, as it turns out, has the  xtended-run holiday-themed show field to himself this year. It’s a program which may not rate a full “Ho-ho-ho!” but certainly merits a solid “Ho-ho!”

Show times (through Dec. 20) are 8 p.m. Tuesdays (7 p.m. Dec. 18), 3:30 and 8 p.m. Wednesdays and 3:30 p.m. Thursdays and Dec. 9. Admission is $25. For tickets, call (800) 736-1420, or go to www.ticketmaster.com.

Hall & Oates lend helping hands

AyCee is (rightly so) agog over the Dec. 6 Hurricane Sandy benefit concert at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa headlined by rock icons Neil Young & Crazy Horse. But this weekend, a couple other pop stalwarts are pitching in for the same cause at the Big B.

 Philly-bred Daryll Hall and John Oates have earmarked all of the proceeds from Saturday’s sold-out performance for Sandy relief. “This really means a lot to me,” said Hall in a statement. “These are my people that got hurt.  This is my neighborhood.”

As for Neil and the boys, tix go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. Admission is $150-$75. To get ‘em, call 866-900-4849, or go to www.theborgata.com. All proceeds will go directly to the American Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort.

More good deeds

The victims of Hurricane Sandy aren’t the only ones who will benefit from a casino fundraiser. Friday, Valley Forge Casino Resort will host an event on behalf of the children of Plymouth Township police officer Brad Fox, who was recently murdered in the line of duty.

Headlining the gig is Philly-born funnyman Joe DeRosa, whose resume includes a recent stint on HBO’s cult comedy, “Bored to Death.” Also on the bill is “Mad Dog” Mattern.

Admission for the 8 p.m. show is $25 and can be had by calling 908-296-6278, or at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/279259.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About this blog
Philly native Chuck Darrow has literally covered Atlantic City’s casino scene since Day One: He was there on assignment the night in November 1976 when voters approved legalized casinos.

Since then, Chuck has covered the town and its gaming industry for several area newspapers -- which is why, in some circles, he’s known as “Boardwalk Charlie.”

You can reach Chuck at darrowc@phillynews.com. Reach Chuck at darrowc@phillynews.com.

Chuck Darrow