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The Gulf Has Cool Shows in July

18 July 1999

There is no denying the quality of great entertainment found on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In addition to hosting top performing stars, casinos often feature revue productions that contain glamorous showgirls, colorful sets and costumes, and exciting and talented acts.

In Biloxi and Gulfport, there are currently five such shows, ranging in themes from game show giveaways, amazing acrobatic feats, magic and comedy, and singing and dancing. Each of the shows are entertaining and affordable and shouldn't be missed.

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One of the most exciting shows is "Alegria," a Cirque du Soleil production at Beau Rivage. As those who have seen the show will attest, it is difficult to describe, mostly because it must be experienced to be believed.

"Alegria" is a stunning display of just about everything, and it is done with such grace, style and creativity. There is a fire eater, trapeze artists, clowns and contortionists. The dancers, dressed as characters from someone's beautiful fantasy, are athletic and brilliant in their routines. And, "Alegria" has an outstanding live band performing on stage with a fantastic singer.

This show is a must-see, and not just once. You're sure to pick up something different from each performance. And, for those fans who can't get enough of the music, the Cirque gift shop, located adjacent to the theatre sells the award-winning soundtrack from this show and other Cirque productions. It's worth taking a few moments to visit the store.

Call (888) 566-SHOW for tickets and showtimes

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The "Grand American Game Show," at Grand Casino Gulfport, is another unique show in that this production is an audience participation show in which everyone wins prizes. Starring Fielding West and Jessica James, this show features fun parodies of the television game shows we love to watch.

There is "Name That Song," "Spin and Win" and the "Blind Dating Game." There also is "The Oldlywed Game," where couples married 50-plus years compete with each other for great gifts. While the women are off-stage, their husbands are asked three questions, including the first place they made "whoopie." When the wives return, the results are sometimes on target, sometimes surprising, but always hysterical.

Prizes each week are guaranteed to be worth more than $36,000 and include televisions, watches, luggage, crystal and a cappuccino maker.

In addition to these prizes, audience members also can win dinners at popular Gulf Coast restaurants, movie theater tickets, sunset cruises and more.

Call (800) WIN-7777 for tickets and showtimes.

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Grand Casino Biloxi has a new show that may seem familiar to audiences. It's "More Glitz," a follow up on their past "Glitz" show, which was one of the best Greg Thompson Productions to come to the Coast.

The star of the show is comedian Pudgy!, who is a riot with a fantastic memory. Using audience members in her act, Pudgy! remembers everyone's name, including interesting facts about them. She also has a penchant for collecting purses, which she did return before leaving the stage.

All the music in "More Glitz" is really great. The Chris Cortez Band, a favorite of the Gulf Coast and seen in several Grand Casino productions, is on stage and playing as wonderfully as ever. Bandleader Chris Cortez shares the singing spotlight with Joe Raines and featured singers Mark Francis and Andrea Wagner.

"More Glitz" is a high-energy show that everyone will enjoy.

Call (800) WIN-2WIN for tickets and showtimes.

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Down the street at Casino Magic Biloxi, things are really heating up. After all, their new show is "Hot Stuff." This show combines magic, singing, dancing and comedy, and it does a good job at it.

"Hot Stuff" stars Kurt Larson and Regina Powers as Dexion, The Reality of Illusion, juggler Tyler Linkin and the "Hot Stuff" dancers. Larson and Powers are a husband and wife team who call themselves a "triple threat" when it comes to performing. After all, they sing, dance and perform amazing illusions.

Linkin's time on stage is hilarious. His juggling is flawless, and he is very funny. While performing with fire torches, he wears a smoke alarm around his neck (just in case) and the apple juggling routine is a riot. Linkin even shows his skill at juggling upside down -- a unique trick not to be missed.

Bringing together a variety of fun, crowd-pleasing elements, "Hot Stuff" is certainly an entertaining show.

Call (800) 5-MAGIC-5 for tickets and showtimes.

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There is no juggling in "Carnivale," but there are dogs and birds, some hot percussion sounds and colorful dancers. At the New Palace Casino, "Carnivale" takes the audience on a journey through the tropics, the jungle and even through Spain with its fiery musical sounds.

Wanda Plimmer, as "Wanda-licious," handles all of the singing duties in this show, with titles ranging from Harry Belafonte sounds to Gloria Estefan and Billy Joel hits.

This is one colorful show from the fruit and flower hats, to the banana skirts, right down to the scenery. The lighting and sound effects are pretty good, too. On the musical side, "Carnivale" also stars percussionist Jo-Jo Kuo, who does some singing.

"Carnivale" has another Jo-Jo who performs, mostly by sitting still and being good. This Jo-Jo, along with his "sister" Niffer are dogs who belong to comic Max Clever.

Clever is a magician who does a few tricks, but the real show stealers were Niffer, dressed in a hot-pink bikini, and Jo-Jo, dressed in a tux, both of whom do a variety of tricks (and, yes, sitting still looking cute counts as a trick). "Carnivale" does a good job of bringing the rhythm of the night to the Gulf Coast.

Call (800) PALACE-9 for tickets and showtimes.

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Boomtown Casino is celebrating its fifth anniversary in July. The fun takes place July 18-21 with a daily slot tournament, cash giveaways and more. On July 22, free birthday cake and champagne will be served at 8 p.m. Hourly drawings will be held that day, too.

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Entertainment choices at Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino will increase in July. On July 22, Bonkerz Comedy Club will open in this Back Bay resort. Comedians will perform Thursday through Sunday each week in the redesigned first-floor lounge. And, in the showroom on the second floor, look for the exciting Legends In Concert to appear. The show, which is a must-see at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas, will be in Biloxi in full force. Look for more information on Legends.

* * * * *

In Vicksburg, Rainbow Hotel and Casino celebrated its fifth anniversary in a big way. The Vicksburg resort completed the first phase of its expansion to coincide with its July anniversary. The entire building phase, which will add 8,000 square feet of casino space, is expected to be completed in three months. The growth plans also include a complete interior remodel with additional restrooms, service bar and casino cage facilities.

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Finally, someone is expected to soon become a millionaire 10 times over. The jackpot amount on the Megabucks progressive slot machines, found throughout Mississippi, is at a record-breaking figure. Whoever is lucky enough to see the three Megabucks symbols lined up on the middle line will receive more than $10 million. Of course, that's paid out over a 25-year period, but still, not a bad take for a day's work.

Lori Beth Susman
Lori Beth Susman is executive editor of Jackpot!, the Southeast's largest guide to casino fun and entertainment.
Lori Beth Susman
Lori Beth Susman is executive editor of Jackpot!, the Southeast's largest guide to casino fun and entertainment.