Since Ocean Casino Resort started hosting their Ocean Pride Happy Hour events, they have had the LGBTQ community of the Garden State buzzing. Whether it was a weekend hosting the iconic Deborah Cox live at HQ2 Nightclub or celebrating Pride in June with Garden State Equality (and partnering with the organization for their Pride Walk), Ocean has emerged as one of the premiere business allies for the LGBTQ in New Jersey. Several weeks ago, Ocean hosted Daytime Emmy- Winner Anthony Wilkinson and his much-lauded Off-Broadway production My Big Fat Gay Italian Wedding. Additionally, Ocean Pride kicked off the party with East Coast drag darlings Jolina Jasmine and Lola Ceilings, who both turned the party with their sickening lip syncs and killer dance moves. The Ocean team even crafted a cocktail specifically for the event, aptly titled “The Anthony” (consisting of an Aperol Spritz cocktail with Rainbow Candy Garnish)!
Wilkinson and his full My Big Gay Italian Christmas cast also performed their full stage production live in Ovation Hall to a packed crowd, who showed their appreciation for both this madcap and hilarious, as well as Ocean’s ability to put on live Off-Broadway entertainment safely. For Wilkinson, bringing his much-heralded production to Ocean was simply a natural fit. He told me that Ocean “is my home away from home; I have been coming to Ocean as a player since it opened. The people that are there have become like family. It is a very cool vibe there because I know everyone.”
While the events of the weekend were raucously festive, the weekend also had a continued fulfilling the one of the passions of Anthony Wilkinson himself. After being bullied as a child (and even at one point attempting suicide), Wilkinson made The Trevor Project one of his passion projects. He recently told me in part “The Trevor Project and I connected when I started on Broadway and they had asked me to do a video, and my whole cast did one….. it was very rewarding in its own way. If you can see through it, it can be very rewarding. It goes beyond being gay…”
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