Nightlife » Special Events

Jennifer Lopez :: On Stage...Under the Sun!

by JC Alvarez
Monday Oct 24, 2011

Mohegan Sun, Connecticut's luxurious casino resort getaway, rolled the dice and their gamble paid off! Pulling out all the stops to celebrate its 15th Anniversary in grand style; classic Hollywood glamor collided with the reality of television's new celebrity -- throw in a dash of Jennifer Lopez and you got all the million dollar sizzle for a winning jackpot!

The star-studded weekend began with a dinner to celebrate the career of television icon Regis Philbin. When Philbin announced earlier this year that he'd be stepping down as the co-host of his long-running morning talk show it sent shockwaves across the entertainment community. At a dinner reception held in the Uncas Ballroom, the legend was toasted and roasted by longtime colleagues and industry notables...ultimately serenaded by "All My Children's" own the always gorgeous Susan Lucci singing a medley to the baby-faced man of the evening.

A more than fitting acknowledgment of an enviably endurable career, Regis' fans had the opportunity to dine on a sumptuous meal, take a trip down memory lane and even sing along with Philbin in a gala event. Regis joked with fans who were sad to see him go, but promised that he wasn't giving up on showbiz entirely. Retirement is just not his thing - even though "Live!" co-host Kelly Ripa was already sizing up his dressing room.

Reality Check

Also on hand to help spread the sunshine at the Sun and just back from wrapping their latest season of the "Jersey Shore," cast mates Ronnie, Sammi & Deena lined up for fans hosting a night at Ultra 88 Night Club -- the destination’s electrifying hot spot.

Thrilled to be back on the shore, but happy to meet with fans on Mohegan Sun’s shopping promenade, the cast caught up with fans and sat down exclusively with EDGE to talk about the end of the season and life abroad.

"Living in Italy was a surreal experience," Sammi "Sweetheart" admitted. "The culture is so beyond anything you think of here in America - it was so cool and beautiful." Her hunky BF on the show Ronnie wouldn’t trade the Jersey Shore for anything, citing that although Italy’s club life was intriguing - "There’s something to do every night" - he stood out against the more slightly configured Italian guys in the scene. "I was the biggest guy in Italy - everyone is so skinny. There are like two gyms in the entire city."

And although Italy was very dramatic, Deena - The Mighty Meatball, sans partner-in-crime Snooki, was all about the party. "Once I got over the homesickness," she said, "Italy was quite beautiful." Deena admitted that the Italian club scene was very ’hands-on’ - which proved a little much for the ladies, but she’s glad to be back on the Shore and will be promising to hit the local gay scene. "I love my gays!" Deena raved. "I’m like the biggest fruit fly - whenever I’m in LA...I’m sure to visit The Abbey."

Waiting For Tonight

The centerpiece of the weekend couldn’t have been more perfect as Mohegan Sun guests were treated to a very rare live performance by Jennifer Lopez. This was the first time that Lopez, after touring with ex-husband Marc Anthony, has ever been the headliner. The pop idol had been waiting for this night as evidenced in her gyrating and pulsating through a set of her latest hits from her album "Love?" as well as delivering her chart favorites.

The extravaganza was as well staged and elaborately designed as any of her contemporaries. It could easily be permanently installed as a regular performance benefitting from the Mohegan Sun’s Arena impressively sized 10,000 set complex that managed to put Lopez and the troupe of well-chiseled dancers up close and personal.

As the weekend came to a close, a VIP after-party held in the resort’s new and ultra-chic Ballo Italian Restaurant & Social Club could only be accessed if you were fortunate enough to land one of the exclusive beaded lariats. Inside the lavish space the high rollers were at the mercy of the irresistible DJ Kiss. The luxuriously high ceilings of the warm and inviting restaurant and nightclub were turned into a cavernous dance experience. After celebs including Nick Lachey and wife Vanessa Minnillo, "Glee’s" Lea Michele and "Desperate Housewives" hunk Jesse Metcalfe worked their way down the Red Carpet, they joined super-star chef Bobby Flay to carve a path on the dance floor.

Successfully basking in its inaugural 15th Anniversary, Mohegan Sun doesn’t need to roll snake eyes to prove itself a winning casino resort destination with luxury shopping, a multitude of events on its calendar and fine-dining to explore. Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain is an excellent place to start - I would recommend the buttermilk fried chicken and sweet potato au gratin. If you have a winning streak to appease and a desire to get away, take a chance at Mohegan Sun...the next 15 years are looking bright and gay!

To schedule your Mohegan Sun getaway visit the Mohegan Sun Homepage.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".


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