There was a time when Atlantic City was every casino lover’s dream destination. It had every famous casino in town—from the Hard Rock Hotel Casino to the Golden Nugget—and its famous beaches and boardwalks added to its charm attracting thousands of tourists every year. But over the last few years, Atlantic City was hit hard by competition because of new and more attractive casinos built in other states.
What was once a mecca for tourists is now struggling with its tourism industry? In fact, five casinos have closed in Atlantic City between 2013 and 2016 and employments rates plummeted rapidly.
With 40 casinos opening in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware in less than a decade, gamblers didn’t feel the need to visit Atlantic City anymore, and this hurt its economy and tourism badly. But Hard Rock, one of its most famous casinos refused to wave the white flag of surrender just yet.
In 2017, Hard Rock took a gamble by purchasing the Trump Taj Mahal for $50 million from Carl Icahn and invested another $500 million for its renovation. It was a huge step for the Florida-based business but it was committed to helping Atlantic City get back on its feet. The first step it took was with the re-launch of the Trump Taj Mahal to get guests excited to visit the city again and give them a completely new experience. It is also hoping that every casino in New Jersey will get the same treatment to help boost Atlantic City’s growth further.
If that’s not enough, Hard Rock is also bringing the hit jukebox musical Jersey Boys to Atlantic City in collaboration with Nederlander Worldwide Productions.
Jersey Boys tells the story of the 1960s rock n’ roll group The Four Seasons through a documentary style format that follows their formation, massive success and eventually, their break-up. The musical launched on Broadway in 2005 and ran until 2017. It also had two North American national tours and headed overseas to tour Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Jersey Boys made more than $5 million on Broadway and won several awards including four Tony Awards in 2006 that included Best Musical and a Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical in 2009. It also popularized songs like “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Sherry,” “Working My Way Back to You,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “December 1963 (Oh, What a Night).”
This year, a new production of the award-winning musical will open in Atlantic City on June 25, 2019 at that the Sound Waves Theater of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino that seats 1,200 people.
The show will run until July 21, 2019 giving guests the chance to catch up on one of the best musicals Broadway has ever produced. When asked why Hard Rock decided to bring Jersey Boys into the Garden State, its Chief Executive Officer Jim Allen said: “I don’t think it’s any secret that Atlantic City was very, very close to a potential bankruptcy.”
He added that the musical will hopefully attract more locals and tourists to visit Atlantic City, so it can get back its former glory or at least experience another boom after many years of dormancy.
The announcement was done by Hard Rock in dramatic fashion. The touring cast made their grand entrance and performed three of the musical’s best hits, and the announcement was made on the casino’s atrium underneath its iconic guitar-shaped chandelier.
Joe Lupo, Hard Rock Atlantic City’s President introduced the cast and was joined by Bob Nederlander Jr. of Nederlander Worldwide Productions and of course, the man who the musical was based on, Frankie Valli. Tickets will go on sale on February 11 and it is expected to be another hit over its course. Bob Nederlander couldn’t hide his excitement with this collaboration with Hard Rock saying, “This is a first for us and it’s a first for Hard Rock. We are just thrilled.”
The show’s cast will include Jonathan Cable as Nick Massi, Eric Chambliss as Bob Gaudio, Corey Greenan as Tommy DeVito and Jonny Wexler as Frankie Valli. Other members of the cast will include Ashley Bruce, Wade Dooley, Rick Desloge, Kevin Patrick Martin and Todd DuBail.
With Jersey Boys going back to the Garden State, there is definitely a lot of hope for Atlantic City to see its hustle and bustle again. And with companies like Hard Rock taking that extra step towards helping the once bustling casino and resort destination in New Jersey, it won’t be long until we see Atlantic City back on its feet, for sure.