Skip to Main Content Jump to Main Content
Jennifer Ducharme of Mohegan Pennsylvania  — Why NEPA? image
October 24, 2023
Jennifer Ducharme of Mohegan Pennsylvania — Why NEPA?
Michelle Johnson

"We have so much talent here. It’s ridiculously incredible the amount of talent. That’s why whenever I can, I support local."

Growing up, Jennifer Ducharme wanted more than anything to get out of her small town of Danielson, Connecticut. Coined the quiet corner, that belt along the Massachusetts and Rhode Island border is known to be a peaceful, scenic spot in Northeastern Connecticut. Ironically, it’s not too different from the Northeastern Pennsylvania small town she now calls home.

A self-described “music geek”, Jennifer grew up singing in the school choir and part of the band color guard. Feeling like there was something else out in the world for her, she took off for the University of Connecticut to study music. Not surprisingly, she ended up in the restaurant business as so many artists do.

She called Richmond, Virginia home for a few years before the lure of her hometown called her back. There, she made a career for herself with the Mohegan Casino organization. From booking VIP services in the call center, she worked her way up the ranks as shift manager and promotions manager. A promotion at another casino saw her taking on the fast-paced, city life of Baltimore, Maryland before finally rejoining the Mohegan family and relocating to the Wilkes-Barre casino in 2017.

As the Director of Events for Mohegan Pennsylvania, today, when she’s not busy overseeing the planning of live entertainment, events, promotions and tournaments, the Shavertown-based mom of three can be found singing, dancing and acting on stage at local community theaters in NEPA.

Jennifer, included as one of those incredibly talented locals she mentioned, joined us on a warm, sunny fall afternoon on The Hive Taphouse patio and took on our questions, including Why NEPA?


How long have you lived in NEPA?

I have lived here since 2017, so I guess that’s six years. Yeah.

What do you love about your town?

Shavertown/Dallas, the whole Back Mountain area, it’s just nice. It’s quiet. You have what you need there. I feel it’s a great place to raise the kids. It’s a great school district, which is very important. Um. I don’t know. It’s just very much home…my original home. And it’s not too terribly far away from things. It’s nice.

What’s your favorite NEPA restaurant?

So, I love the family-owned mom-and-pops. I don’t have a particular favorite. If it’s somewhere new that I could try, I always love to do that.

I am addicted to Red Leaf (laughs). Yes, I’m addicted to Red Leaf. And coincidentally, if I say to my kids, hey, we’re going to go get dinner or we’re going to go get lunch, where do you want to go? They don’t say Taco Bell, Burger King or McDonald’s. They say, we want to go to Red Leaf. Which is fantastic. Which is great. In fact, I have some colleagues in Connecticut, my former boss, she’s also addicted to Red Leaf, but can’t get it. And the GM of that property, he came to visit us, and he was going there practically every day. So, I would say my favorite go-to, I need to get something quick and something healthy, that’s where I’m going.

But if I’m going out to dinner, I’m willing to go to anywhere new. And I prefer to go to local, small businesses.

What’s your favorite thing to do in NEPA?

Well, I work a lot (laughs). I love to be outside when I can because I feel like we have six months of winter here (laughs). So, if I could be out, just sitting outside in the sunshine. This is a beautiful time of year – even though I know winter is coming. I sort of don’t want that to happen. But just to be able to walk around outside and take it all in.

I also got involved in community theater. There was somebody who used to work here, she had a little work choir that would sing around the holidays. She heard that I sang. I was like, no, I don’t really sing. I ended up doing that. We would sing at nursing homes and Barnes & Noble and stuff. And then, within that, I met somebody in the theater and they asked me to be in this ensemble concert. I said sure, I’ll sing in a choir.

And then somebody said you should audition for a show. And I said no, no, no. I don’t act. I don’t do that. And I auditioned for a show at Little Theater Wilkes-Barre. That was last year and I was in all but one show for the theater season (laughs). I just did one after another.

I was cast as Vi, so if you know the movie Footloose, that’s the mom. So, my first show I was cast in this major-ish role and I was like, I have no idea what I’m doing. I could sing. I knew I could sing, right. But the whole acting thing was so new to me. And I had so much fun. It was a great cast and such a great show. And I was welcomed into that community. And again, so much talent. A ridiculous amount of talent. Every time I’m in a show and I meet someone new or I watch someone I’m like, oh my gosh!

So, I was in Footloose. I was in Chicago. Rent. Into the Woods. I was gonna take a show off but then they said, hey we need this part. We can’t find this person. So, I said, okay. It was a small role. I’ll do it. And then I skipped one show because I had to train for a marathon. Then I did A Christmas Story with my daughter. So, I’ve been at Little Theater for several shows and then the director that cast me in Footloose just recently asked me to be in a show that’s happening at Milford Theater. It’s their first musical since they’ve renovated the theater there. So now a group of us from Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Poconos and Milford are all doing the show Company there. And it’s going to be a professional quality, amazing show. But that’s my first time out of Little Theater.

It’s been really life-changing because I didn’t perform for a couple decades and I kinda have stage freight, a confidence stage-freight thing going on. Or I did. I think that’s part of the reason I didn’t make it through. So, as I’ve gone through the last year, year and a half, I’ve realized that a lot of people have the same issue. We just don’t talk about it. Because you think everybody is so confident when they’re up there. That’s not always the case. But you just kind of get through it. So, I’m very excited about the upcoming show because the cast is just incredible. And the director just has a wonderful vision. It’s a historic thing to be able to do a show at this theater, so I’m excited.

What’s next for you?

Immediate next is I have the New York City Marathon. I run with Allied Services. Mohegan Pennsylvania is a major sponsor and with that sponsorship we get a runner. I’ve had a couple colleagues who have been a runner in the marathon. I do not like to run. It is excruciating. I would just not choose to do it. It takes me a long time. I am slow. People say, oh I love running it frees my mind. No. Not at all. I’m like, it’s only been one minute. It’s awful.

But the cause and the work that they do is so incredible. I did their All Abilities 5k a few years back and that roped me in. So, this is my third year on the team. I just love working with that group. I really believe in what they are doing. I still fundraise despite the fact that I don’t have to because we are a sponsor. I think it’s very, very important and I try to make the marathon not only about the patients, but about the people who support me. So, I dedicate miles and bridges to them and that helps me get through when I’m like, oh, this is so-and-so’s mile, this is so-and-so’s mile. I’ve been very busy this year. I haven’t had a lot of time to train. So I know it’s going to be very difficult. But, I also know I’ve done it twice before and I have to just get across the finish line. I’m not trying to win. I just have to deliver on my promise. I know when it gets tough, I will try not to think about the pain I’m in, or how long I have to go, and I will think about the people I’m doing it for.

So, I do the marathon and then I go right into tech week for Company. I literally come back and am on stage and we’re getting ready for the show. So that’s the immediate future.

Where do you see NEPA heading in the future?

I think it’s a wonderful place to be and to raise your kids. I feel like we’re coming into our own in this area. I’m hoping we don’t get infiltrated with chains and big box stores. I love all of the local family-owned businesses and so my hope is that it stays that way. My hope is that people see that it’s a nice place to live and they come here and they invest in the community. Because there is a lot of work to be done. And so hopefully people appreciate it and we can kind of move forward. But still keep that small town vibe.


I mean, for all of the reasons I left home (laughs). You know, I love the city. I go to the city. I love we’re two hours from New York and I can just go there. But I just love the community, when I talk about this property (Mohegan Pennsylvania) and how everybody comes together and everybody is connected and the teamwork. I just love the feeling of raising my kids here. It just feels like home. It’s that simple.