Category: La Reve

A look back at “Le Reve – the Dream”

The articles below were posted when the re-imagined “Le Reve – the Dream” reopened in 2018. The company of Olympic skilled performers, creative artistic staff and talented crew created one of the most outstanding and award winning spectacles in the history of the Las Vegas. I had the honor of serving as director with this creative team of theater artists whose dedication to their show was undying. Unfortunately, “Le Reve – the Dream”‘ closed in March of 2020 due to Covid 19. It is my sincere hope the pandemic will not take away the grand spectacles that defined Las Vegas entertainment.

Enjoy the look back at “Le Reve – the Dream.” photo by Tomasz Rasso


Covid 19 takes its toll

Wynn Las Vegas closes ‘Le Rêve’ for good

Dacha Nedorezova created the synchro ballets for “Le Reve”
photo by Tomasz Rasso

By Brock Radke (contact)

Published Friday, Aug. 14, 2020 | 6 p.m.

Updated Friday, Aug. 14, 2020 | 10:45 p.m.

The first large-scale Las Vegas production show to permanently close due to the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most acclaimed performances to ever hit the Strip. Wynn Las Vegas confirmed “Le Rêve” has shuttered for good after more than 6,000 shows over the last 15 years.

“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent physical distancing requirements for which an end-date cannot be predicted, but are necessary to keep our guests safe, we have been forced to close the award-wining show ‘Le Rêve — The Dream.’”

That is the official statement released by Wynn about the resort’s signature show, which was awarded Best Production Show in Las Vegas for a record nine consecutive years by the Southern Nevada Concierge Association.

A cast and crew of approximately 275 are now without work.

Before March’s entertainment shutdown, “Le Rêve” was performed twice nightly Fridays through Tuesdays at the custom-built, 1,500-seat Wynn Theater. The acrobatic, aquatic spectacular premiered on May 6, 2005, as the new resort’s resident show and was originally created by Franco Dragone, the former Cirque du Soleil director who also created “O” at Bellagio and Celine Dion’s “A New Day” at Caesars Palace.

“Le Rêve” was renowned for its dramatic theater-in-the-round setting and high divers and acrobats flying in and out of a 1 million-gallon, 27-foot-deep pool. The show was refreshed with new costumes, music, choreography and lighting concepts in 2018 and continued to run as one of the most popular shows on the Strip.


Le Reve gets the Benzinger Touch

Las Vegas Sun

February 22, 2018

Bigger and brighter, the award-winning ‘Le Rêve’ moves into the future

Le Reve’s acrobatics are among the Strip’s most mind-blowing feats.
photo by Tomasz Rasso

By Brock Radke (contact)

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 | 2 a.m.

Suzy Benzinger has been designing costumes for films, commercials and theatrical productions like the original “Miss Saigon” on Broadway for more than 40 years. She’s never had an experience like the one at “Le Rêve.”

“I’d have to say ‘Le Rêve’ is probably the most challenging of all, but very rewarding,” says Benzinger. “It is the element of water for sure, but it’s also the idea that you have to put clothing on these performers that are able to move in ways most people’s bodies don’t move. What they do is superhuman. They are world-class athletes.”

Creating vibrant new costumes for the superhuman cast of more than 90 performers in the long-running, award-winning aquatic spectacular at the Wynn Theater is just one dimension of the recently completed reimagining of “Le Rêve.” It’s also equipped with all-new music, choreography and lighting concepts, making this show renovation the biggest since it debuted in its custom-built theater-in-the-round with the opening of Wynn Las Vegas in 2005.

Director Philip William McKinley, who previously helmed the resort’s Broadway-style production “Showstoppers,” began working with “Le Rêve” two years ago, when the process of redevelopment began. Tackling this major update to one of Las Vegas’ most popular and complicated production shows was a daunting task.

“I worked with (legendary stage producer and director) George Abbott when he was 100 years old and I asked him one time, ‘How can you continue to do this?’ He said two things. One was that he never did the same show the same way, he always thought of a different way,” McKinley says. “And the second really stuck with me. He said, ‘I always do things that scare the hell out of me.’ So yes, when I was asked to do this, it is pretty daunting, but it piques my curiosity and artists work best when they’re curious about something.”

The show’s classic narrative is intact, following the fantastic, sometimes harrowing journey of “The Dreamer” into a surreal world where she must choose between true love and dark desire. Dancing, diving, romance, comedy, synchronized swimming and aerial acrobatics are all part of “Le Rêve,” voted Best Show in Las Vegas for seven straight years by the Southern Nevada Hotel Concierge Association.

The primary objectives in making changes to the show, explains McKinley, were to better connect the pieces of the story and to brighten things up visually, making each performance pop.

“It was quite dark and I don’t mean the subject matter. It was dark, lighting-wise, so we brightened those things up, the costumes especially,” he says. “There’s more color, more use of Swarovski crystals and the sets have been repainted and made brighter. I think I approached it more as a fairy tale with a hero and a villain, so it became this adventure in how we would get to that. But we didn’t want to lose the abstract quality of the show.”

Benzinger’s new costumes had to continue to function in an out of the water, hide harnesses and look incredible, but “clothing has to tell the story, too,” she says. “We definitely tried to bring more color and excitement. Some costumes became layers, revealing another costume underneath, but that turns into the complication of where does that other one go? It’s a lot of fun. Being forced to make a change creates a lot of fun ideas, but the change never really stops. It’s a living thing.”

“Le Rêve” has its own costume shop at Wynn so repairs and alterations are always happening. “Everyone has an individual fitting and all performers are different in how they like their costumes to fit, but it still has to look like a group for the show,” Benzinger says. “I want them to feel like a million dollars when they put it on. If every performer isn’t comfortable, I haven’t done my job.”

The show’s new score composed by music director Benoit Jutras with lyrics by Maribeth Derry might be one of the most striking changes for those who have seen “Le Rêve” a few times. The songs seem to push to the story forward in a more energetic way while better connecting the audience to the characters. Of course, accomplishing that musical adjustment wasn’t easy.

“It was an interesting process for Benoit because he had a full score that was the show, so to reimagine or redevelop that music and how it all fits together was a difficult task,” says McKinley. “But it was a fascinating process and one I enjoyed a lot. The show is like a giant clock and if one gear has to be changed, it affects the entire process.”

The music affects the choreography and timing, and the costumes affect each performer’s movements. The lighting changes the way we see the show but also the way the performers see their own stage, which has moving parts, fountains and fire and a 1.1 million-gallon pool.

“One of the most difficult scenes is the finale when there’s all those dives off the apparatus,” says McKinley. “I wanted to have a continuous flow of diving and that’s not an easy moment. I’m very fortunate in that we have great coaches who are there to make the impossible possible. I can say I would like to have this happen, and they jump over all the hurdles to make it happen. And they love doing it. If we’re not taking risks, the show would not be the same thing.”

“Le Rêve” is performed at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday through Tuesday at the Wynn Theater (3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-770-9966) and more information can be found at wynnlasvegas.com.


Kats review of the revamped show


Shared from the 2018-02-25 Las Vegas Review Journal eEdition

‘Le Reve’ revamp shrugs off Wynn scandal

JOHN KATSILOMETES

A scene from “Le Reve,” playing at the Wynn Las Vegas
photo by Tomasz Rasso

IN the middle of it all, Wynn Las Vegas’ aquatic production show has been overhauled.

“Le Reve,” which opened the hotel in 2005 and has served as one of Steve Wynn’s many pet projects over the years, boasts new scenes, staging and costumes and a new music score. This work had been enacted before Wynn stepped down from the company on Feb. 6, 2018.

Similar to “Steve Wynn’s Showstoppers,” which closed its two-year run last December, “Le Reve” carries Wynn’s ever-present artistic imprint. He was involved in every facet of the show, from its early development under then-director Franco Dragone to its revamp over the past two years.

The man who worked at Wynn’s side during that two year stretch, famed director of spectacles Philip Wm. McKinley, has plainly stated his opinion about Wynn’s creative contributions. When asked if he would miss working with Wynn from a strictly artistic standpoint, McKinley responded with theatrical grandeur.

“The simple answer to that is anybody who ignores or devalues what Steve Wynn has done for Vegas is an idiot,” McKinley said during a phone interview last week. “I mean, I’ll be blunt about it. Do you take everything away? Do you take every single piece of success away? His value as a creative genius is not diminished. His talent doesn’t all of a sudden vanish into the ether.

“So yes, of course, as I would miss anyone with whom I’ve had such a relationship and collaborated with.”

In the revamp of “Le Reve,” McKinley has also worked on a tight team that included Wynn General Manager of Entertainment Operations Rick Gray; music director Benoit Jutras and lyricist Maribeth Derry, who developed 13 new songs in the new show; choreographer Marguerite Derricks; costume designer Suzy Benzinger and lighting designers Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer.

Relaunched a couple of weeks ago, the production refocuses the storyline of main character The Dreamer, who is driven by competing forces “True Love and Dark Passion”

Moving away from the more obscure, implied plotline was important in keeping the performances sharp, McKinley said.

“The show has been amazing and the performers incredible, while dealing with an art form that is abstract in its very existence,” McKinley said. “It is not an art form that lends itself easily to linear storytelling. So the first thing he wanted was a clearer storyline, and the first thing we focused on was the story of the Dream Master, how to create that by integrating the principal performers more thoroughly through the show. We wanted to tell the story while not losing the abstract, nonlinear quality of linear art.”

But there are plenty of linear, sensory-stimulating qualities to the new “Le Reve.” The show features 16 fire-belching devices, 172 fountains, a dozen umbrella-fashioned waterfalls, a rain curtain of nearly 50 feet tall and also a360-degree wall of water in the theater-in-the-round design.

A passionate artist in all of his projects, McKinley said he plans to remain a part of the Wynn creative team for the foreseeable future.

“I would enjoy that very much. I enjoy being there, I enjoy working with Rick Gray, and we have worked together many times already,” McKinley said. “This process makes me exercise every aspect of my creativity, and that’s what I love about it.”

He then chuckled and added, “In a week or so, we’ll know about a new project that will be happening in Las Vegas. I’ll tease you just a little bit.”John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @ JohnnyKats1 on Instagram


Brock Radke’s review

Refreshed “Le Reve” offers a one-of-a-kind experience

Tomasz Smiela created the acrobatic feats of the Gold Tree with the Olympic skilled acrobats – photo by Tomasz Rasso

Le Reve’s acrobatics are among the Strip’s most mind-blowing feats.

By Brock Radke (contact)

Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017 | 2 a.m.

“Le Rêve” is celebrating 12 years this summer, right around 5,700 shows, and while the aquatic spectacle at Wynn Las Vegas has always been subject to small creative updates, its production team just put the finishing touches on a more comprehensive enhancement designed to further contemporize the choreography, music and visual effects over the last year. Costumes are all new. A million-dollar upgrade to the lighting equipment brings a new perspective. The music is all new, with 13 fresh songs, and a new scene called “Paso,” heavy on dance on synchronized swimming, has been added right after the exhilarating 80-foot dive drop.

What this all means is that now is a great time to see “Le Rêve,” whether you’ve seen it before or not. And if you do, I recommend considering the pricier but unique “Dream Seating” experience, the top ring of this dramatic, one-of-a-kind theater-in-the-round. Your seat there is equipped with a monitor that provides views from beneath the surface of the 1.1 million gallon, 26-foot-deep tank that serves as the stage, as well as behind-the-scenes glimpses of what’s happening high above the pool. Somehow the inner workings of this massive production — and sometimes, what might happen next — only increases the excitement.

There may have been a time when Vegas visitors mistook “Le Rêve” as a Cirque du Soleil show, comparing it to Bellagio’s “O” or another production because of visual similarities. But I’ve seen both productions now within a few weeks of each other, and other than the element of water and the fact they’re both created by Franco Dragone, I see no such similarities. “Le Rêve” has a very clear narrative driving the action as the heroine, “The Dreamer,” see-saws back and forth between her dueling desires for love and passion, mind or body. She explores both in a journey through a fantasy realm, backed by much more approachable music performed live with lyrics sung in English. Cirque shows revel in the surreal and move farther into that ocean as the productions go one; “Le Rêve” goes deeper only into its own story and the breath-taking world it creates.

The show’s muscular acrobatics are among the Strip’s most mind-blowing feats, and the constant rise and plunge of characters from the ceiling to the water below is rhythmically hypnotic and, at times, feels quite dangerous. This is not a subtle spectacle, and its powerful, sexy choreography — the stuff onstage as well as what’s happening in the air and the water — demands attention amid special effects and athletic accomplishments.

“Le Rêve” is performed Friday through Tuesday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at Wynn Theater. Find more information at wynnlasvegas.com.