A Hamilton Performance, Vocal Grand Entrance, and Choreographed Father Daughter Dance for Lexi’s Bat Mitzvah at the Crystal Plaza in Livingston, NJ

It was a pleasure to celebrate with Lexi and her family last night at The Crystal Plaza in Livingston NJ.

A vocal performance Grand Entrance, a choreographed Father/Daughter Dance, and a tribute to Hamilton: An American Musical!

Highlight reel coming soon. Mazel Tov Lexi!


“Astounding” – MMP Entertainment Brings the Fiesta to Costa Rica for Melanie’s Masquerade Bat Mitzvah

When I was 16 and providing the entertainment for my first special event, a wedding at The Brownstone-the thought of someday being flown out of the country with my team to perform and help a family celebrate life never crossed my mind. This whole experience reminds me of that saying from the lottery ads… “Hey, you never know.”

After one of the most logistically challenging events in the company’s history, second only to the Allen & Company Media Summit in Sun Valley, Idaho, I’m delighted to report that MMP’s first international event in Central America was a great success.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Neil and Yasmin Kahn for over 10 years.   After meeting them on my first surfing excursion to Costa Rica, their family has become my family.  Neil’s mom and dad, Norma and Ken,  always invited me over on Friday nights for Shabbat and made me feel like I was home- even though I was 2500 miles away from Jersey. The funny thing is, from doing so many Bar and Bat Mitzvahs here in the states throughout  the past decade, I learned the prayers and was finally able participate in the blessings instead of just standing there quietly.

The joke is that I am an honorary Jew. Or, a Jew by occupation. Whatever you call it, one thing is for sure.  I’ve noticed that Jewish and Italian families are very similar.   Hospitality and friendship are made readily available to everyone they consider a fellow mensch or pisan.  When you combine the best of both these nationalities and put them together in a paradise locale like Costa Rica… Fuggettaboutit.   Mazel Tov & Pura Vida!  -Life is good.

After watching the kids grow up over the years, it was an honor to return to my second home and help produce Melanie’s Bat Mitzvah.  If you’ve seen some of the other events in our Bar/Bat Mitzvah portfolio, you know that we are extremely fortunate to work with some very talented and super-cool guests of honor.  Melanie kept the streak alive and then some.   Not only is she a gifted athlete, dancer and singer… she read her Torah portion in perfect English, Spanish and Hebrew!!! And as you can see from the photos, Melanie is also a beautiful young lady.

The celebration was billed as Melanie’s Masquerade.  It’s an excellent choice for a theme if you are looking to do something fun and different. We incorporated personalized  visuals on the big screen and  colorful masks for all of the guests to wear.  This really seemed to put everyone in  a festive mood when they walked through the doors.  *A mask can do wonders for a guest who has dance floor inhibitions.

One of the highlights came during the candlelighting ceremony.   We knew ahead of time that one of Melanie’s favorite cousins, Bailey, would not be able to make the trip out for the celebration.  No problem.   With the help of some pre-production and modern technology, Bailey made a surprise guest appearance via video after candle #12 when Melanie just finished saying how much she wished Bailey could be there. It was definitely a tweet-worthy moment that WOW’d Melanie and her guests.

When Melanie had time to reflect on her Bat Mitzvah the next day, she shared a comment that was a good indication that we did our job… My friends were blown away...  they all want to be Jewish now.”  I’ll take that.  🙂      -mp

On behalf of the entire crew, I want to thank Neil and Yasmin for setting up an awesome Kayak Snorkeling trip, a Canopy tour, and sunset drinks at the world famous Villa Caletas the day after the celebration.

Special thanks to Melanie’s aunt, Julie Kahn, for capturing and editing some of her personal video highlights and post-event testimonials for us.   What a nice gesture! …  Typical of the Kahn family.  Julie has been nominated twice for a National Emmy Award for her work on the children’s TV show, Zoom.  She’s also worked on PBS documentaries, independent projects and music videos for the Indigo Girls. (who happen to sing one of my favorite songs of all time, Closer to Fine).   Julie can reached at Julie.Kahn@me.com

I also want to recognize Steven Sandi and the staff from the Hotel Amapola.   They were instrumental in organizing all of the on-site logistics in the weeks leading up to the event and provided us with necessary assistance the day of to help facilitate a seamless production.

Encore Gallery:

5 Years, 3 Events, 1 Love: Arissa’s Triple Play Bat Mitzvah

April 16, 2005- Arissa giving a toast to her big sister Ilana. "Thank you for hiring Marcello to be the DJ.... I want him at my Bat Mitzvah too."

It felt a little like working at the Make A Wish Foundation.  Not only did Arissa thank her parents for “hiring Marcello” during her toast to her sister back in 2005,  she also said, “I want Marcello to be the DJ at my Bat Mitzvah!”; which you can see from the photo, filled the room with laughter.

As we all  know, life moves pretty fast.   Three years later it was her brother Ethan’s turn.  And then finally, last Saturday night- 5 years later- it was Arissa’s night to shine.

From the interactive cocktail hour to the grand entrance to the last dance; the Gazda’s and their family and friends partied like rock stars. I truly believe that some people were put on this earth to celebrate life and to teach the world to sing.  Nancy, Ken, Ilana, Ethan and Arissa definitely make the list…  The Landmark was over-flowing with positive energy.

March 27, 2010.  Arissa, Marcello, Ilana and Ethan

March 27, 2010. Arissa, Marcello, Ilana and Ethan

At one point in the opening dance set, we played the remix of One Love, by my friend, Nick DitriHe’s part of the platinum selling duo of uber-producers known as The Disco Fries. We had Arissa and a dance-floor full of guests doing the Jersey Shore fist pump and jumping up and down like it was a New Years Eve celebration in Times Square.  What a moment!

I was little concerned about having such a festive-frenzy so early in the event.  Really, it’s like.. where do you go from here?   Thankfully, it was a typical Gazda fiesta with limitless enthusiasm and joyful fervor. We experienced several similar peaks throughout the night; whether it was dancing to a Blend Brother’s remix of Don’t Stop Believing, playing Face the Cookie from the hit show Minute to Win It or singing along to the new friendship circle anthem, ‘Lean On Me’ from the Glee soundtrack… we were in perfect harmony from start to finish.

Nancy, Arissa and Ken

If you’ve got a minute, check out the video testimonial (below) that MMP Entertainment‘s production manager, Frank Di Giacomo,  captured at the end of the event on the “Frankie D Cam.” (Our future clients really enjoy seeing and hearing candid thoughts and opinions directly from other families who were once in their position; having to consider a significant investment in the entertainment for their event and wanting the peace of mind of knowing that they’re making the right choice.) Look out for more 21st century word-of-mouth video clips in our future articles.  I think you’ll agree that we made Arissa’s Bat Mitzvah dreams come true. She wasn’t shy with her feedback.  🙂

Special thanks to Dee from the Landmark for her hospitality and professionalism.  Hugs and kisses to Nancy and Ken for their friendship, patronage and generosity.

Encore Gallery:

Air Brush Tatoos

Mock Rock

Game Show

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: Jenny’s Bat Mitzvah at Somerset Hills

Jenny (far left-middle row ) & her friendsWhen I started writing the recap for Jenny’s celebration, Cyndi Lauper’s hit song from the 80’s, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, was on my Pandora radio station.  Remembering how much Jenny and her friends enjoyed her celebration, choosing a title for this blog entry was easy.

Jenny’s parents, Amy and Bill, wanted to have a separate party for the kids and the adults without having two separate parties for the kids and the adults… not an easy task.   With the help of Gina Martin, the Social Sales Manager for the Somerset Hills Hotel, and Banquet Manager Steve Benyo, we designed and facilitated an entertainment package and a hospitality timeline that enabled the kids to have an interactive dance party in the hotel’s ballroom and the adults to have a classy luncheon in the hotel’s restaurant simultaneously. The best part of the customized logistics that we implemented was the fact that after the adults ate lunch, they joined the kids party for a 45 minute set which included the toast, photo montage, father-daughter dance, hora and dance set.  Afterwards, everyone enjoyed a dessert buffet together in the adjoining cocktail hour area where our  photo booth was still set up for all the guests.  In addition to the photo booth, the Haskel family upgraded to our multi-media video plasma package and deluxe light show as well as an interactive cocktail hour for the kids.

Jenny's VIP crew

Jenny & her friends pose at the VIP meet and greet dance lesson before her Bat Mitzvah

The Bat Mitzvah was still a week away, but Jenny and her friends were ready party!

The Bat Mitzvah was still a week away, but Jenny and her friends were ready to party!

Kudos to Amy, she had the vision of this “Best of Both Worlds” scenario where her guests would feel relaxed in a casually elegant atmosphere yet still enjoy the festivities you’d expect from a traditional celebration.

Because Jenny and her friends loved to dance and ‘just wanted to have fun’, and her parents were wise in choosing a location whose layout was perfect for their desired scenario; Jenny’s Bat Mitzvah was a huge success.

If you have an idea for an event that might be a little more fun, unique and memorable than what everybody else is doing, let us know.  We’re happy to help you facilitate the logistics and coordinate your preferences with the right venue and industry professionals.

Encore Gallery:

Amy and BillFrankie Djenny groupTara and ChrissyAdult guestsj1Chrissyj2j3j4j5j6j8j9j10j11j12j13j14j15j17j18j19j20j21TaraTara and Chrissy 2j7

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