Band of the Week: Beth Tinnon - Nightlife - Press of Atlantic City

 Band of the Week: Beth Tinnon

 

By SCOTT SEMET, At The Shore | December 12th, 2013

Although Beth Tinnon has been performing in and around the Atlantic City casino scene for more than a decade, even longtime fans will find something new in her recent performances. The Nashville native has returned to her roots, fully embracing the sounds of her Southern home.

 

“Every Thursday, I’ll be at LB1 doing country nights,” explains Tinnon.

She describes her sets as a ‘conversation with the audience,’ and will run the gamut of country music’s rich history.

“It’s a total mix — I’ll do some Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton, all the way up to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood,” she says.

Interwoven throughout the evening will be facts and historical anecdotes about the artists themselves.

“It’s more about the songs, and who wrote them,” Tinnon says. “I try to make it interactive, so it’s educational as well as musical.”

Although the popular lounge performer has always included some country songs, her appearances at LB1 (located at the former Library III restaurant on the Black Horse Pike) will not vary from the genre.

“This is the first time in a long time that I’ve been able to do a night of pure country,” she adds excitedly.

Tinnon is also rereleasing her full length debut CD, “All Wound Up.” The title track, which was co-written by Tinnon, is backed by several classic tunes. “Blackbird,” “I’m in the Mood for Love,” and “Let’s Stay Together” are included along with several other songs, but the real draw are the new bonus cuts. Tinnon draws from her experience as a backup singer for Kenny Roger’s Christmas show, presenting four newly recorded holiday tunes as bonus tracks.

“Originally I was only going to do two,” she explains. “But I had a hard time narrowing them down.”

Although “All Wound Up” is available for download on Tinnon’s website, the Christmas bonus tracks are only found on physical copies of the CD.

The Christmas songs aren’t the only reason to trade in your worn out copy of “All Wound Up,” though. The flip side of the CD will be a DVD presentation of Tinnon’s recent performance at Dante Hall. Titled “A Night at the Speakeasy,” the video bares more resemblance to her lounge acts than her recent country performances. Subtitled “A Musical and Educational Journey from the 1920s to Prohibition,” the show features the music and personalities of the bootlegging era.

Presented chronologically, Tinnon says “I talk about what was going on at the time, with slides interwoven with the dialogue.”

Bing Crosby, Mickey Mouse, the Oscars and others spotlight what the singer refers to as “a classic decade, with lots of neat things happening at the time.”

Coming Up: See her live 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, at LB1 in Egg Harbor Township.

 

Beth Tinnon: 'A Night at the Speakeasy'

Sassy singer/songwriter Beth Tinnon brings back to Dante Hall her classy musical retrospective on the decade known 
as the Roaring ’20s.

By Ray Schweibert
Add CommentAdd Comment|Comments: 0|Posted Jan. 9, 2013

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Beth Tinnon

Unlike such variables as song selection, expertise of contributing musicians, commitment to authenticating video backdrops, wardrobe, stage settings and other components, timing is not always something Beth Tinnon, or anyone else, can control.

But when the popular local singer/songwriter first debuted her many-sided show called A Night at the Speakeasy: A Musical Journey through the ’20s, her timing was impeccable in one regard, a bit less so in another.

Tinnon premiered the production to an appreciative audience at Dante Hall in June 2009, right around the same time the pilot episode for another retrospective on Prohibition-era America was picked up by HBO.Boardwalk Empire has since won 12 Emmy awards and counting, in addition to other international awards and nominations. (Volumne One of the show'ssoundtrack also racked up a Grammy Award.)

In the latter case, Tinnon’s one-night production was seen on the same night a Grammy-winning jazz vocalist/pianist headlined in Atlantic City.

“I story-booked it and put everything together, and only then did I notice: ‘Oh my goodness, Diana Krall is in town on the exact same night,'” says Tinnon.

Regardless, A Night at the Speakeasy was extremely well received — so much so that Tinnon tweaked it a bit and strategically brought it back as a unique entertainment option for those who enjoy the resort town during the off-peak seasons. It was originally scheduled for November but pushed to Saturday, Jan. 12, at Dante Hall (8pm) by Hurricane Sandy.

“There’s a lot of change going on in Atlantic City, and I thought why not provide something for the folks who are still here?” says Tinnon.

“There are still quite a few people coming to Atlantic City this time of year who are not just here to gamble, and for some it may be the only time of year they can afford to go away on vacation. I understand there’s a smaller percentage of people coming this time of year, but I’d like to think we could still try to offer something to them that’s educational, culturally relevant and entertaining at the same time.”

Tinnon never goes away during the summer months herself since that is when resort-town entertainers make most of their money. It was when she used to do a jazz gig at the former Top of the Trop that she was inspired to write and produce A Night at the Speakeasy, as she began delving, more out of curiosity than anything, into the history of some of the jazz numbers she was covering and the artists who originally performed them.

“I tweaked it this time around — I added a couple of things and changed a couple of songs,” she says.

“The arrangements are a little tighter, which I’m pretty excited about. There’s dialogue that goes along with every song, usually in the beginning but sometimes in the middle. The songs progress in chronological order through the ’20s and I’ll talk about what was going on at the time as far as the architecture, gangsters, crime and the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, women voting for the first time in the national election, the Great Depression. But the whole thing that ties everything together is Prohibition.

“[The dialogue] helps the audience establish a relationship between some of the people who wrote many of the songs they’re likely familiar with, but maybe not always with the artists themselves,” she adds. “[The format] works especially well in a small, intimate theater like Dante Hall, which is my favorite kind of venue to play. It’s just big enough [seating about 240] where you can get a nice-sized audience and also get that buzz, that vibe that’s such a part of the room.”

And once again, Tinnon has surrounded herself with a quartet of musicians who are not only among the best the Atlantic City area has to offer, but anywhere. Their collective pedigrees, based on formal training and those they have toured with or backed up in recording studios, reads like a who’s who among musical legends of modern times. They include Andy Lalasis on upright bass, Jeff Turner on piano, Harry Himles on drums, and John Guida on tenor sax, clarinet and flute.

“They are all sensational,” says Tinnon. “We do a four-song Duke Ellington tribute and those guys are just cooking [on the first three], and I’ll come in and join them on the fourth.”

The production includes three costume changes. Among the period-appropriate dresses Tinnon wears is one she traveled up to a New York City vintage shop to purchase. An aficionado of antiques, Tinnon adorned the stage set with some of her own memorabilia, including an authentic [although not functional] 1920s radio.

“I love antiques. When I was moving out on my own my mom would always find things and say ‘oh look what I found for you to put in your music room.’ I have an upright piano my father purchased — an old player piano from the 1920s that someone had gutted and shellacked — it was awful. When I moved up here and started getting steady work I had it refurbished, and now it looks like it just came out of the factory.”

Among the genres of music A Night at the Speakeasy embodies are country (catapulted into popularity in the mid-1920s by the Grand Ole Opry radio broadcast, which originates from Tinnon’s home town of Nashville, Tennessee) and gospel, also made widely popular by radio in the 1920s.

“In the country section I wanted to touch more on the recording industry and bringing country music to the airways, and the Carter Family was synonymous with that,” says Tinnon. “So this time we decided to do ‘Circle Be Unbroken,’ which is actually a song that I grew up singing and know like the back of my hand.”

The final song is a gospel number for which Tinnon enlisted the help of high school children from the Charter Tech School for the Performing Arts in Somers Point.

“It’s a number that is designed to lift people’s spirits after the Great Depression,” says Tinnon, “and one that sort of captures the essence of our coming together as a nation by trusting in one another, and leaning on our faith.”

 

EVENT INFO

Saturday, Jan. 12, 8pm

Stockton’s Dante Hall Theater, 14 N. Mississippi Ave., Atlantic City

$20 adults, $18 seniors and 
Stockton students (with ID)

For tickets visit stockton.edu/dante 
or call 347-2162

 

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A.C. singer Beth Tinnon puts the 1920s back in style with show at Dante Hall Saturday

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Posted: Monday, January 7, 2013 2:22 pm

From flappers to Prohibition, from the opening of the Grand Ole Opry to the first Walt Disney cartoons and the stock market crash of 1929, the 1920s were a decade of decadence and history.

For singer/songwriter Beth Tinnon, it was a decade ripe with material for a new, original stage show. For Atlantic City, basking in the spotlight of the “Boardwalk Empire” craze, the timing couldn’t be better.

“I had a lot of experience from working in Nashville,” recalls Tinnon, well known in the area for her popular headlining act at the former Top of the Trop lounge inside Tropicana Casino and Resort. “I was involved in a show at Opryland … doing four shows a day, all year long. You tend to learn a lot of things doing that … how a show comes together, how the crowd responds. You have a certain formula, you know? And I thought, ‘You know, I can do this. I can write my own show.’”

So, Tinnon did just that.

“A Night at the Speakeasy” first premiered at Atlantic City’s Dante Hall Theater in June 2009. The show — rescheduled from an October date following Hurricane Sandy — will return to Dante Hall 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12. The show runs about 75 minutes.

Tinnon, who describes her sound as a soulful mix of country and jazz, has toured with country greats such as Kenny Rogers and worked alongside stars such as John Rich of Big & Rich and Lonestar. She also appeared in the off-Broadway version of “Always, Patsy Cline.”

Now, as Tinnon, who also directed “A Night at the Speakeasy,” prepares to take the Dante Hall stage yet again, she is reflective on what brought her to this point.

“I did the show at Dante Hall about three years ago, and I loved the music of the ’20s,” Tinnon says. “Being from Nashville, I already knew about the Grand Ole Opry opening in the 1920s. So, that kind of spiked my interest (in creating a stage show). When I recorded my CD, I did a couple of Cole Porter tunes. It all inspired me ... and then after ‘Boardwalk Empire’ on HBO, people began getting more interested in that era. It was really weird how it all fell into place.”

“A Night at the Speakeasy,” Tinnon says, is a chronological journey through the decade, touching on each major event while weaving in what was happening in the country musically. The show walks the audience through a bit of a 1920s history lesson — in an entertaining way — touching on everything from the introduction of Mickey Mouse, the first films with sound (known as “talkies”), the first Ford Model T and the fashion styles and dance crazes of the era, including the Charleston. The show also includes a tribute to Duke Ellington, performed by Tinnon’s live, four-piece band. Throughout the show, a 74-photo slideshow can be seen in the background, with images Tinnon researched and put together.

“It just wrote itself, really,” Tinnon says of the show. “I did a lot of research. I went back and went online and found slides that go along with what I was writing about.”

The show, Tinnon says, is fun and fast-paced. The best part, she says, is that audiences will walk away not just entertained, but learning something.

“And here’s the great thing too — it’s family friendly,” Tinnon says. “Yes, I do touch on Prohibition briefly … but yet, in between, it’s a very educational show.”

 

Exploring the '20s A musical retrospective written and produced by Beth Tinnon visits Dante Hall this Saturday evening By Ray Schweibert Add Comment|Comments: 1 |Posted Jun. 18, 2009 Beth Tinnon The musical birthplace of Beth Tinnon's versatile vocal talent was Nashville, Tenn., home of the renowned country radio program Grand Ole Opry, which first hit the airwaves in the middle of what was arguably the most exhilarating, influential and tumultuous decade of the 20th century -- the 1920s. Tinnon expanded her country-music roots to include jazz and contemporary classics, singing with various ensembles in and around Atlantic City since relocating here from Nashville in September 2000. Recently she started delving deeper into the history of some of the jazz numbers she'd perform at the former Top of the Trop, and currently every Wednesday evening at Cape May's Congress Hall Brown Room. "Before The Quarter opened [at the Tropicana, where she presently performs a variety of styles at the Tango Lounge most Monday nights] I did a lot of jazz at the Top of the Trop," says Tinnon. "It came to my attention that many of the songs I loved to play then, and many of the artists whose songs I perform today, originated in the 1920s. That sparked my interest in exploring and researching more about the songs and who wrote them, and what was going on in the nation at that time." The "roaring '20s," as they were called, inspired Tinnon to write and produce a show called A Night at the Speakeasy -- a Musical Journey Through the 1920s, which will be presented this Saturday, June 20, starting 8pm at Dante Hall Theater of the Arts. "The '20s was such a neat decade, from the flappers age to art deco to what was happening in architecture -- so many interesting things took place back then," she says. "Prohibition was a noble experiment that we all know didn't work, and while it was in effect [1920-'33] there were over 100,000 speakeasies in New York City alone. Then came the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, [in Chicago] which was followed by a conference of mob bosses held in Atlantic City in 1929." A Night at the Speakeasy Where: Dante Hall, 14 North Mississippi Ave., A.C. When: Saturday, June 20, 8pm (doors open 7:15pm) How Much: $20 Details: The show revisits historical aspects of 1920s through music, costume changes, stage design and a video backdrop. On the Web: dantehall.org or bethtinnon.com Backing up Tinnon's vocals during A Night at the Speakeasy will be Lisa Tee on piano, Andy Lalasis on bass, Harry Himles on drums, and Steve Lombardelli on tenor sax, clarinet and flute. Tee is also the show's musical director. There will be three costume changes during the production that reflect the whirlwind fashion trends of the era, and an authentic stage set and video backdrop produced by Ryan Long of the Riddlesbrood Theater Company. Prior to Tinnon's final costume change, a choir directed by Drew Harvey will perform a Duke Ellington medley that will include songs that helped spawn "The Charleston" dance craze among others in the '20s. The first part of the show kicks off with the famous "Foxtrot" number "Ain't We Got Fun?" and will lead into a tribute to legendary blues pioneer Bessie Smith. It will include the songs "My Man" (popularized by Fannie Brice in the Ziegfield Follies, and later made famous by Barbra Streisand in the film Funny Girl), "Lovesick Blues" (later covered by Hank Williams), and two '20s songs popularized by Al Jolson -- "Blue Skies" and "April Showers." The show will include the 1927 Gene Austin hit "My Blue Heaven" and the Cole Porter sensation "Let's Do It, Let's Fall In Love." A song that Mickey Mouse (created in 1928 by Walt Disney) helped popularize when he crooned it to sweetheart Minnie, called "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby," will be part of the set list, as will a blues standard written by Jimmy Cox in 1923 and covered by Eric Clapton, among others, called "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out." That rather melancholy ballad will precede an upbeat gospel hit from the '20s, says Tinnon, which will conclude the show. "We'll come out of that rather sad moment into a nice gospel number that will lift people's spirits, which is sort of indicative of the times," she says. "The hardships of the Depression left most people down and out, but we pulled together as a nation by leaning on one another and trusting in our faith."

Seascape & Song


A clone of the classic supper-club vibe, the Beth Tinnon Piano Duo provides dining entertainment with a panoramic view at Blue Water Grille.

By Ray Schweibert
Add Comment Add Comment|Comments: 0|Posted Jun. 19, 2014

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ATLANTIC CITY — Like other artists in high demand during the summer months, Nashville-born singer/songwriter Beth Tinnon never takes a vacation when the pickings for prime gigs are at their peak.

Her plate was already pretty full when she got word of an idea the recently renovated Blue Water Grille wanted to try out on the seventh floor of the Flagship Resort, overlooking the Absecon Inlet and Brigantine island. Fashioned around a Saturday night supper-club format, it was similar to a jazz gig Tinnon used to do at the former Top of the Trop — a sort of throwback format that later inspired Tinnon to write her multi-faceted musical called A Night at the Speakeasy that, thus far, has made two successful runs at A.C.’s Dante Hall.

Teaming with pianist Jeff Turner — part of the talented quartet that backed her up in Speakeasy — the Beth Tinnon Piano Duo plays a free gig every Saturday night (7-10pm) through September at Blue Water Grille. Their repertoire covers artists like Sinatra, Michael Buble, Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Billy Joel, Elton John, Lionel Richie, and sees romantic numbers from a compilation CD Tinnon made occasionally tossed in.

“Sometimes I’ll mix in some adult-contemporary and pick it up with a Michael Jackson, George Benson or a Quincy Jones kind of arrangement, the kind of music you might hear on light-rock stations,” says Tinnon, a five-time "Casino Lounge Act of the Year" winner in AC Weekly’s annual Reader’s Choice Nightlife Awards. “We start at 7 so it’s before the sun goes down, and you can see all the boats coming back in. It’s just like the Top of the Trop but not so high up, so you really get a nice view of everything going on down below.

“They made it a bit more upscale and brought in a wonderful chef with a great menu — it’s like a dinner theater-type show you might see at the Rainbow Room in New York [a supper club on Rockefeller Center’s 64th floor that opened after the repeal of Prohibition in 1934].  It’s the only thing like it in Atlantic City, and I think Atlantic City needs a room like that — a place where concierges can send people who might be looking for a nice sunset with a dinner show-type atmosphere.” 

Beth Tinnon Piano Duo 

Blue Water Grille, Flagship Resort
60 N. Maine Ave., Atlantic City
Saturdays, 7-10pm. No cover, free parking.

 

When Beth Tinnon first arrived on the Atlantic City lounge scene 16 years ago, she found a Vegas-like atmosphere.

"There were a lot more lounges with full, seven-days-a-week entertainment. But it was a different style of entertaining in the early part of the 2000s," says the singer-songwriter who has won the Best Casino Lounge Act in Atlantic City award for seven out of nine years.

They Were the Light Of A.C.'s Lounge Era 

The first 25 years of legal gaming in Atlantic City are considered a "golden age" of casino lounges. It was a time when acts that played such long-gone venues as the Celebrity Cabaret at the old Claridge casino and the Rendezvous Lounge, at what was then Resorts International, were actual draws, rather than background music, for drinkers and talkers. Here are some of the acts that made Atlantic City a destination back in the day.

Dane Anthony 
For years, Anthony, whose stock-in-trade was high-energy pop and rock, was a go-to-act for casinos needing not only a sure-fire lounge performer, but one for high-roller parties and even production shows. On May 17, 2001, he appeared as the wedding singer/bandleader on the episode of "Friends" in which Chandler and Monica are married. 

Sonny Averona
For a 10-year period, beginning in 1982, South Philadelphia native Averona was, arguably the superstar of the casino bar scene. Clad in a tux, Averona would belt out Frank Sinatra standards in a voice that almost cloned that of Ol' Blue Eyes. But what made his story something out of Hollywood is that the auto graveyard owner never sang a note professionally until, at age 45, he was booked into the no-longer-standing Playboy casino. On the morning of July 4, 1992, hours after finishing a performance at Caesars Atlantic City, he died of a heart attack -- just weeks before a lengthy profile of him, ultimately titled "The Life and Death of A Lounge Singer," was published in the New York Times.

Buddy Greco 
He was perhaps the biggest name to ever have a regular casino-lounge gig in Atlantic City. Greco -- who died earlier this year at age 90 -- was booked on the advice of then-Press of Atlantic City casino entertainment columnist (and current radio news guy) David Spatz. Greco performed at the old Golden Nugget (the original, Steve Wynn-built property on the Boardwalk, not the re-badged Trump's Castle currently doing business as the Golden Nugget in the marina area). Although, according to Spatz, Greco originally found the idea of gigging in a gambling den saloon distasteful and demeaning, he was soon playing to overflow crowds at Steve's Lounge on the casino floor.

Sam Butera & The Witnesses 
After the 1978 death of his boss, legendary entertainer Louis Prima, sax player Butera carried on Prima's tradition of raucous, anything-goes "show band" shtick that combined virtuoso jazz musicianship with a heaping helping of cornball (and now politically incorrect) humor. He died in 2009. 

The Treniers
Usually credited with pioneering the casino lounge act (e.g., "show band") genre in Las Vegas in the 1950s, The Treniers were a popular and dependable attraction in the early decades of Atlantic City's casino era.

"There were more 'show bands.' Everybody dressed really sharp, in the same colors, very flashy. I wouldn't say formal, but theatrical."

Many of the bands played classic, pre-rock pop and, Tinnon notes, though many of them were based in Las Vegas, they found ample work in the oceanside casino bars of Atlantic City.

However, like so much else in this beleaguered seaside gambling center,  the lounge scene has morphed over time. Now, patrons are far more likely to see locally or regionally based singers and bands performing pop and rock covers of music from the '60s through today, with DJs also a part of the entertainment workforce.

Nonetheless, the casino lounge remains a vital element of the casino business, now Atlantic City's only real industry. Just as they have since the dice began rolling 39 years ago this summer, lounges -- and the acts that sustain them -- play a key role in luring and keeping visitors at the seven operating gambling dens.

"It's all about creating entertainment and excitement, so when you're on the casino floor and you want to take a break from the action, there's a place to go and listen to live music," says Mark Giannantonio, president and CEO of Resorts Casino Hotel, which, during its current renaissance, has placed a premium on entertainment that can often be enjoyed for free, or at least for the price of a cocktail or two.

The main venue at Resorts is the Margaritaville restaurant, part of the nationwide hospitality empire created by singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett. Year-round, the sprawling eatery hosts ensembles that feature from two to five members.

One popular attraction is The Pickles, a Manahawkin-based band with a set list that runs the gamut -- from The Rolling Stones and Bob Marley to Johnny Cash and the Goo Goo Dolls. Another is Five Times Famous, which covers such artists as The Beatles, Metallica, Van Morrison and Young MC.

Also operating through the year is Bar One, a more traditional casino boite that programs both DJs and singers, including Tinnon, who, in her act, pays tribute to a variety of pop artists, from The Temptations, Steely Dan and Stevie Nicks to Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars and Pharrell Williams.

During the warm-weather months, Buffett's Landshark Bar & Grill -- the only outlet in the chain actually located on a beach -- adds to the mix, with a lineup of mostly acoustic acts playing similar repertoires.

Beyond providing gamblers a respite from their action, lounge entertainment is also a key marketing tool. An example is Gypsy Bar at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, which is the property's sole, year-round, non-headliner live-music venue.

"I think the great thing about Gypsy Bar is that, over the years, it has become the main driver of someone's trip," says Michael Woodside, Borgata's vice president of marketing. "Guests may come down for a headliner or dinner, but Gypsy Bar is a place where they always like to end up. We have players who go to Gypsy Bar every single time they come down. It's become a main reason for them being at Borgata."

Woodside adds that the same is true for the alfresco Beer Garden, which is beginning its second summer of operation.

It's clear that regularly scheduled performers are traffic-drivers. "Acts and lounges do move some business," says Resorts' chief Giannantonio. "There's no question. We see that with Margaritaville, we see that in Bar One and certainly in the summer at Landshark.

"I can give you a thousand examples of a customer coming to me and asking for a particular entertainer they've seen somewhere else, or they've heard that an entertainer they've seen elsewhere is at Resorts and they come here."

Borgata recently signed the combo Gypsy Wisdom, which performs Top 40, R&B, classic rock, modern rock and oldies. It's the first band at Borgata to have a standing weekly gig at Gypsy Bar.

Tinnon, a longtime attraction at both Resorts' Bar One and Tango's Lounge at Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City, could easily find all the work she could handle in other gambling jurisdictions. But the native of tiny Goodlettsville, Tenn., says she has no intentions of leaving her adopted home.

"What's special about singing in the casinos are the gamblers who drive past two or three casinos (in the city) to come and see people they've developed relationships with. For me, they are like family." 

Lounging Around

In its gambling heyday, Atlantic City's casinos offered Vegas-style acts. Today, there are more cover bands and DJs. But the lounge scene remains a vital part of the casino experience.

By 

CHUCK

DARROW

    Arts + Events

James J. Connolly

Former Cape May resident, A.C. performer to put on interactive production

When Ryan Long’s parents owned Elaine’s Dinner Theater in Cape May, he would help out in high school with lighting and even acting.

He spent plenty of time working with his father, who directed and produced the nightly shows.

“That’s how I really learned the craft,” Long said.

Those early experiences with the theater helped shape Long’s career and led him to becoming his own show director. Now, Long, along with an Atlantic City performer, will be putting on an interactive play through Sunday at the Dennis Flyer Theater at Camden County College.

The play, called “Harken: A Game of Phones,” is an original fantasy that combines 3-D scenery behind the actors and active participation from the audience to direct the actors from scene to scene, almost like a live-action choose-your-own adventure. Certain characters are voted off the shows throughout the performance, and the background of the show morphs depending on where the audience plans to go next.

The evolution of smartphones finally helped Long put his dream onto the stage, and with help from programmers, he’s finally seeing it all come to life — with viewers able to guide the action from their devices.

“No one has ever done anything like it. The audience controls the show, so the audience is the director and they decide how the show progresses,” Long said.

But before his custom show premiered this weekend, Long, who now lives in Collingswood, had a history of performing here in South Jersey.

Besides his parents owning the dinner theater in Cape May, Long started his own acting company, the Riddlesbrood Touring Theatre Company, in 2000, where he traveled to different venues including the Renault Winery in Egg Harbor City before arriving at the Showbarn in historic Smithville, where Long put on productions between 2001 and 2004.

“That’s where (my) company got its start. We were full time there,” Long said.

It’s also where he began to work consistently with Beth Tinnon.

Tinnon is an Atlantic City casino lounge act and frequently performs at the Ram’s Head Inn in Galloway.

When she was not performing the casino circuit, she would work in different shows with Long at the Showbarn. One of the first shows they did was a comedic version of “A Christmas Carol.”

“We became good friends ever since,” said Tinnon, of Galloway.

So when Long began to put together the production for “Harken,” he went to Tinnon to be included.

“He asked me if I had availability to be in the show. I told him I’m currently performing in and around Atlantic City, but I was interested,” Tinnon said.

Instead, Long asked her to be the musical director and she accepted. Tinnon said it was an opportunity to help young actors aspiring to break into theater.

“I was able to pass along some of the things I’ve learned,” she said.

So how did she deal with a musical production for a play that could change from scene to scene? Tinnon said the music was broken up into specific songs for each character, so if one character made it to a scene over another, their music would follow. Other specific songs would stay the same, like “Awaken,” which is played toward the end as a character is resurrected. That means whichever character is chosen needs to know the lyrics to the song.

After close to 48 total hours of practice with the actors and Long, Tinnon said she was excited for the show to be revealed this weekend.

“Everything from the sword-fighting to a graphic background, there’s so much talent here. We’re working with some future superstars, and I’m looking forward to seeing them put it into motion,” she said.

 
 

 

Celebrate the 2017 Atlantic City Nightlife Awards at Boogie Nights

  • By RYAN LOUGHLIN
  •  
  • Jan 19, 2017
ACW/AC Weekly Nightlife Awards

On January 21, 2016 In Atlantic City at the Boogie Nights club in the Tropicana Casino, the Atlantic City Weekly Nightlife Awards are held. The Red Hotts, a dance group performs.

MATTHEW STRABUK
 2017 A.C. Weekly Nightlife Awards celebration 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, at Boogie Nights at Tropicana Atlantic City.

For those who have attended in past years, you know the drill — a great club with great performances packed with the folks who make nightlife great in Atlantic City. There will be Stoli, Heineken, Red Bull and Gallo Wine specials to keep everything flowing smoothly. A.C. Weekly will honor everything from best dance floor to best locals’ bar — with a whole lot of categories in between — more than 50 awards in total will be handed out.

Just to add even more unexpected fun, the evening will kick off with a live performance from none other than Randy Jones, the original cowboy from the classic ‘70s disco group the Village PeopLe. "It’s gonna be great — I’ll open the show with a nonstop, 6-minute medley of Village People hits,” Jones says. “I’ll keep a CPR revival kit on one side of the stage and an oxygen tank on the other!”

 

ENTERTAINMENT

(PRESENTED BY A.C. WEEKLY EDITOR PAMELA DOLLAK, PRESS OF A.C. METEOROLOGIST DAN SKELDON AND BOOGIE NIGHTS’ DAVE PENA)

Best casino lounge act: Readers’ Choice: Beth Tinnon; Critics’ Choice: Nancy Malcun

Best casino lounge/bar for live entertainment:Reader’s Choice: Margaritaville; Critics’ Choice: Hard Rock Café

Best club dancers: Readers’ Choice: Boogie Nights; Critics’ Choice: Ivan Kane’s Kiss Kiss Nightclub

Best comedian: Readers’ Choice: Michelle Tomko; Critics’ Choice: Dena Blizzard

Best concert venue: Readers’ Choice: The Boneyard; Critics’ Choice: Tropicana Showroom

Best cover band: Readers’ Choice: Seven Stone; Critics’ Choice: SensaMotion

Best dance floor: Readers’ Choice: Boogie Nights; Critics’ Choice: Premier

Best festival: Readers’ Choice: Elephants for Autism; Critics’ Choice: Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival

Best karaoke/open mic nightspot: Readers’ Choice: Planet Rose; Critics’ Choice: Black Cat Bar and Grill

Best original band: Readers’ Choice: The Dan Burke Band; Critics’ Choice: Ken Shiles and CiBon

Best place to listen to original music: Readers’ Choice: The Boneyard; Critics’ Choice: Ventnor Coffee

Best bar for live entertainment: Readers’ Choice: Ram’s Head Inn; Critics’ Choice: The Crab Trap

Best cougar club: Readers’ Choice: Memories; Critics’ Choice: Martorano’s

Best DJ: Readers’ Choice: Jerry Blavat

FOOD AND BEVERAGE

(PRESENTED BY MEDIA PERSONALITIES MARC BERMAN, CHUCK DARROW AND V.P. OF FOOD AND BEVERAGE AT HARRAH’S LEE SANCHEZ)

Best bartender: Readers’ Choice: Kyra Messinger (The Iron Room); Critics’ Choice: Stepahnie Troiano (Maynard’s)

Best beer list (casino): Readers’ Choice: Firewaters; Critics’ Choice: Chickie’s and Pete’s

Best beer list (non-casino): Readers’ Choice: The Iron Room; Critics’ Choice: Wingcraft and Tun Tavern (Tie)

Best cocktail bar (casino): Readers’ Choice: Chart House; Critics’ Choice:

#barwithnoname

Best cocktail bar (non-casino): Readers’ Choice: The Iron Room; Critics’ Choice: Dock’s Oyster House and Knife and Fork Inn (Tie)

Best happy hour (casino): Readers’ Choice: Chart House; Critics’ Choice: Vic & Anthony’s

Best happy hour (non-casino): Readers’ Choice: The Iron Room; Critics’ Choice: Assaggio!

Best late night munchies: Readers’ Choice: Pic-A-Lilli Pub; Critics’ Choice: Tony’s Baltimore Grill

Best tequila/rum bar: Readers’ Choice: Dos Caminos; Critics’ Choice: Casa Taco & Tequila Bar

Best wine list (casino): Readers’ choice: Vic & Anthony’s; Critics’ Choice: The Palm

Best wine list (non-casino): Readers’ Choice: The Iron Room; Critics’ Choice: Angeloni’s II Restaurant and Lounge

GUY/GIRL STUFF

(PRESENTED BY LONGPORT MEDIA NEWS DIRECTOR DAVID SPATZ, THE NEW JERSEY MEDIUM LINDA SHIELDS AND PAMELA DOLLAK)

Best girls’ night out (casino): Readers’ Choice: Boogie Nights; Critics’ Choice: Izakaya

Best girls’ night out (non-casino): Readers’ Choice: The Iron Room; Critics’ Choice: Tomatoe’s

Best guys’ night out (casino): Readers’ Choice: Hooters; Critics’ Choice: Gypsy Bar

Best guys’ night out (non casino): Readers’ Choice: Yesterday’s; Critics’ Choice: Gregory’s Restaurant and Bar

Best hook-up bar (casino): Readers’ Choice: Boogie Nights; Critics’ Choice: The Pool After Dark

Best hook-up bar (non-casino): Readers’ Choice: Pic-A-Lilli Pub; Critics’ Choice: Tavern on the Bay

Best place to pop the question: Readers’ Choice: Ram’s Head Inn; Critics’ Choice: Sofia Restaurant

Best sports bar (casino): Readers’ Choice: 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar; Critics’ Choice: Chickie’s and Pete’s

Best sports bar (non-casino): Readers’ Choice: Yesterday’s; Critics’ Choice: Ducktown Tavern

BARS/NIGHTCLUBS

(PRESENTED BY GOOD TIME TRICYCLE’S JON HENDERSON AND NEAR DARK ENTERTAINMENT’S JASON GOLDFARB)

Best beach/pool bar: Readers’ Choice: Landshark Bar & Grill; Critics’ Choice: Laguna Grill & Rum Bar

Best bottle service: Readers’ Choice: Boogie Nights; Critics’ Choice: Haven

Best daylife scene: Readers’ Choice: Landshark Bar & Grill

Best dive bar: Readers’ Choice: Pic-A-Lilli Pub; Critics’ Choice: Maynard’s

Best Irish Bar: Readers’ Choice: Irish Pub; Critics’ Choice: Dubliner

Best LGBT Spot: Readers’ Choice: The Iron Room; Critics’ Choice: The Rainbow Room

Best locals’ bar: Readers’ Choice: Riverside Tavern

Best outdoor/deck bar: Readers’ Choice: Back Bay Ale House; Critics’ Choice: Wonder Bar

Best strip club: Readers’ Choice: Centerfolds; Critics’ Choice: Bare Exposure

Best swanky bar/lounge: Readers’ Choice: Ram’s Head Inn; Critics’ Choice: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse

Best after hours spot (casino): Readers’ Choice: Margaritaville; Critics’ Choice: Anthem

Best after hours spot (non-casino): Readers’ Choice: Pic-A-Lilli Pub; Critics’ Choice: Hi Point Pub

Best bar you’ve never heard of: Readers’ Choice: Riverside Tavern; Critics’ Choice: Blue Water Grille

Best industry night: Readers’ Choice: The Pool After Dark; Critics’ Choice: Haven

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

(PRESENTED BY LONGPORT MEDIA’S DAVE COSKEY)

Jerry Blavat, the Geator with the Heater

BEST OF THE BEST CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDS

To be announced at the event on Thursday

(PRESENTED BY ATLANTIC CITY MAYOR DON GUARDIAN, TROPICANA GENERAL MANAGER STEVE CALLENDER, PRESS OF A.C. PUBLISHER MARK BLUM AND PRESS OF A.C. DIRECTOR OF ENTERTAINMENT PUBLICATIONS SCOTT CRONICK)

NIGHTCLUB OF THE YEAR

Haven

The Pool After Dark

Premier

Boogie Nights

Ivan Kane’s Kiss Kiss Nightclub

BAR OF THE YEAR

The Iron Room

The Boneyard

Chickie’s & Pete’s

Gypsy Bar

Mountain Bar/Boardwalk Saloon

BEST DJ

Jason E

Aiden Scott

Chris Devine

Gabor

Jerry Blavat

BEST DAYLIFE SCENE

H20 Pool

Borgata Pool

Laguna Grill and Rum Bar

The Deck at Golden Nugget

Landshark Bar & Grill

BEST LOCALS’ BAR

Charlie’s

Gregory’s

Ducktown Tavern

Fred & Ethel’s

Vagabond Kitchen & Tap House

 THE 2017 ATLANTIC CITY WEEKLY NIGHTLIFE AWARDS

Bar of the Week: Warmth and elegance found at The Ram’s Head Inn

Ram's Head Inn

Apparently Virginia is no longer the only place for lovers. For those looking for a bit of a romantic twist to their traditional night out, there really is only one obvious choice in South Jersey. And that is The Ram’s Head Inn.

What to expect:

Converted from an old Dutch Barn in 1976, The Ram’s Head Inn is simply dripping with classic elegance — think wood-burning fireplaces and candlelight dining. While most might consider it a restaurant first and foremost, locals in-the-know come to the tavern for its top-notch cocktails and charming brick-laden atmosphere.

Food and drink:

One thing is for certain, the award-winning bartenders at Ram’s Head know their craft. The cocktails served here are exquisitely blended and feature freshly squeezed juices. A house favorite is The Galloway Apple — a delightful mixture of whiskey, cranberry and freshly pressed apple juice. Beer drinkers will be pleased with their wide selection of micro brews and craft beers.

Happy hour at The Ram’s Head Inn runs 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and Sundays, and offers guests a higher caliber than the traditional happy hour experience, complete with half-price glasses of wine, $7 house cocktails, $5 imported beers and $4 domestics along with an entire menu of hearty selections.

Speaking of hearty selections, one really must not leave without trying the Pilgrim Creamy Chicken Pot Pie ($25) which comes served in a copper kettle. For lighter fare, the happy hour menu features a house-smoked salmon ($9) that is tough to beat.

Live music:

Every Wednesday and Saturday night, The Ram’s Head Inn features live music in the tavern by local favorite Beth Tinnon. This award-winning vocalist covers a variety of musical styles in her performance.

Coming up:

Valentine’s weekend, The Ram’s Head Inn will offer a special four-course, prix fixe menu Friday and Saturday evenings ($60 and $65).

On March 27, Ram’s Head Inn will present “Great Songs of the Cinema,” a dinner show and musical journey through film that will feature a cocktail reception and multi-course dinner, followed by a performance by Beth Tinnon of some of the most popular songs in cinematic history ($75 per person).

Essentials:

What: The Ram’s Head Inn

Where: 9 W. White Horse Pike, Galloway

When: Open for lunch noon to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Dinner served 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.

Who: Owned by Harry Knowles, Kurt Knowles and Wade Knowles.

Other info: All major credit cards accepted, disabled accessible, takeout available, on-site parking, live music

Our Favorite Mexican Restaurants for Cinco de Mayo


Cinco de Mayo is upon us and you might be looking for a new place to celebrate. We asked our writers for their favorite places to help you get your fiesta fix.

Las Lomas Fresh Mexican Grille, Landis Marketplace, 631 E. Landis Avenue, Vineland. 856-238-4445

http://www.laslomasgrille.net/

Fresh, traditional flavors in the Northern Mexican-style. Menu includes quesadillas, burritos, fajitas, tacos, tortas and more. Features 9 homemade salsas and sauces!

 

Taqueria Downtown, 236 Grove St, Jersey City; 201-333-3220

A menu filled with outstanding tacos of every variety (pork, cactus, fish, lamb, beef) as well as sizzling huevos ranchero, bean-rich sopes, guacamole and much more, is complemented by margaritas and a decent Mexican beer selection. Taqueria Downtown is a neighborhood treasure and has recently re-opened after extensive repairs from Sandy damage. Go show them some love this Cinco de Mayo!

 

Taqueria Pancho Villa and Taqueria Brenda Lee, both in Dover, are very authentic, inexpensive taco joints. There are no tablecloths and waitstaff at these places. Just order at the register, grab a stack of napkins, and dig in. Go to Brenda Lee on Saturdays for the amazing house special “tacos al pastor” made with bbq pork & fresh pineapple.

Pancho Villa: 7 N. Essex St., Dover 973-361-4003

Brenda Lee: 7 N. Warren St., Dover 973-328-6262

La Estacion (also known as Raul’s Taco Town), 94 Elm St, Morristown

973-538-1111

This cozy, vibrant cantina offers a winning combination of fresh, flavorful dishes, friendly service, BYO convenience (they’ll stir up a pitcher of sangria for you with your own bottle of wine), and a regular side of live music. Don’t miss the excellent fish tacos, chunky guacamole, and hearty entree specials. The same owners run Raul’s Empanada Town nearby, offering a delicious selection of fresh empanadas to pick up on the way home for tomorrow’s lunch.

 

Los Amigos, 1926 Atlantic Ave., Atlantic City, 609-344-2293

Los Amigos has been around since my college days ( let’s just say awhile) and was “The Mexican Restaurant” to eat and still is. Their nachos are the best around anywhere! They have a special sauce and the cheese combination is perfecto or perfecta in my case.The Fish Tacos with tuna and salmon are scrumptious as are the Filet Serrano and the Crab and Shrimp Enchiladas! You can’t go wrong. They offer small plates too! They have a full bar with special House Sangria and Margarita’s and many Beer selections. Happy Hour is Sunday’s thru Friday’s from 4pm to 7pm with lots of drink specials. Celebrate Cinco De Mayo on Sunday, May 5th starting at 11:30 am with live music by Beth Tinnon, three time award winning lounge act in AC from 5pm-8pm as well as outdoor patio seating, giveaways and prizes!  check out their website for hours, menus, and special events. www.losamigosrest.com