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Ovation Hall is a revelation

Ovation Hall, the ultramodern theater at Revel resort, lets you get close while you get down. 

Can a casino theater seat 5,500 and still feel intimate? Ovation Hall at the recently opened Revel resort does just that. Designed by Sceno Plus, the technical wizards behind the Las Vegas Bellagio Theater's amphibious stage for Cirque du Soleil's splashy spectacular, "O," the 150,000-square-foot arena was conceived as a "one-of-a-kind transformable theatre" that could stage everything from concerts to sporting events.

During Ovation's inaugural show, Beyonce's Back to Business tour, the performers didn't skip a beat as backdrop screens smoothly rose and fell and set pieces swooped in and out of view. The main stage was framed by two large screens projecting crisp, live close-ups. But for all its technical marvels, the venue felt surprisingly cozy. According to a statement from Sceno Plus, Ovation Hall was "designed for the public to surround the stage and transmit the energy and emotions the artists need to perform and feel close to the audience."

After your show, we recommend cocktails at Village Whiskey, one of the quartet of Jose Garces restaurants at Revel. Removed from the bells and whistles of the casino floor, it's a place to relax, sample a flight of whiskeys and maybe even indulge in the famed foie gras burger.

Village Whiskey is so relaxed, in fact, that earlier this month the Philadelphia Flyers dined there mostly unbothered after a season-ending loss to longtime rivals the New Jersey Devils. After a neighboring table bought a round of whiskeys for the downtrodden team, the Flyers reciprocated with an order of deviled eggs.