By Michele DeLuca
Niagara Gazette — Fans of the giant-size big brother on the TV show "Everybody Loves Raymond," might just get a rush out of seeing him in the poker rooms of the Seneca Niagara Casino at the end summer.
Comic Brad Garrett, famous for his role as Raymond's beleaguered older brother, will be performing at the casino Sept. 7, but he also might be seen on the floor of the casino as he also happens to be a pro poker player.
The comedian, who now stars in a sitcom called "How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)," is among a lineup of acts in the casino's "Summer Rush," schedule, and his penchant for poker was cited among the announcements Tuesday at a press conference at the casino. The date of the casino's traditional free Falls fireworks presentation was also announced, and the display is set for July 5.
Leaders at the Seneca casinos are hoping to give lots of people a rush this summer. And for those who prefer music to comedy, there's a schedule led by classic blues musician B.B. King. The "Summer Rush" is all part of a 3rd annual entertainment effort designed to keep people coming to the three Seneca casinos throughout the coming months, including the Falls casino, the Seneca Allegany Casino in Salamanca and the Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo.
"The word rush does not mean hurried or half-hearted," said Jim Wise, senior vice president of marketing, in announcing the lineup. "Rush is the energy we wish to generate," he said.
Some of the most successful comics in America will take the stages at the Seneca Allegany Casino and the Seneca Niagara Casino, including Paul Reiser, Tracy Morgan, Howie Mandell, Brad Garett and Drew Carey. Mandell and Reiser will be in Allegany while Morgan, Carey and Garett will perform at the Niagara Falls Casino and Hotel. In addition, ventriloquist Jeff Dunham will bring his "Disorderly Conduct" tour to the Seneca Allegany July 12. Wise described the comic, who travels with a team of smart-aleck puppets, as "Don Rickles with a personality disorder," and said he was the top grossing comedian in the world in 2009 and 2010.
For music lovers, there is another assortment of big names, Wise said, including "one of America's most celebrated songwriters," Jackson Browne, who will take the Niagara Falls Events Center stage June 29 and 1980s all-girl new wave rock band, The Go-Gos, who are booked for June 15.
In Salamanca, at the Allegany Casino, B.B. King will play June 8, while Alabama is set to play July 27, and rockers Huey Lewis and the News will perform Aug. 31.
For those who prefer a more intimate setting than the 2,400 seat Seneca Events Centers, the lineup was also announced for the 440-seat Bear's Den at the Seneca Niagara Casino. The 1970s heart-throb David Cassidy leads the lineup there on June 21, with Tommy Castro set for July 12, The Stick Men on Aug. 2 and Buckwheat Zydeco on Aug. 3.
Wise also detailed summer giveaway programs at the three Seneca casinos, which attract nearly 11 million visitors each year. There will be June 9 Summer Shopper Spree in Niagara Falls and Salamanca, with a top prize of $100,000, and a multi-casino contest contest where players can win $1 million during the "$1 Million Big Draw," June 3-28. All three casinos will participate in a Multimedia Games TournEvent of Champions Slot Tournament July 1 through 18. In August, a MacBook Pro giveaway will occur at the Falls and Allegany casinos from Aug. 5 through 29.
In addition, Wise said that the $130 million construction of the new Buffalo casino should be completed by the end of summer.
Despite the word "rush" in the schedule, Wise ended the briefing with the wish of a "slow, long, enjoyable" summer and promised more acts to be announced in the coming weeks. Tickets for the shows are available at the Seneca Niagara Casino and Seneca Allegany casino box offices, www.ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster locations or at 800-745-3000.