Friday, Dec. 30, 2011 | 3:35 p.m.
More arts and entertainment
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Each night the curtain goes up on the ambitious water spectacle “Le Reve -- the Dream” at Steve Wynn’s hotel the Wynn, more than 1,001 things could go wrong. Incredibly, nothing rarely does. Even with thousands of electrical parts possibly working loose or water hoses wearing out, the technicians have lost only five shows since the April 2005 opening night as they hit the 3,000th mark this weekend.
Incredibly, although it’s more than five times as difficult in water and soaked clothes to perform dry-land aerials and acrobatics, cast and crew pull it off nightly, making it still look as easy as opening a bottle of H2O. They do use a secret, military-developed sticky spray-on adhesive to help their grips in the water, but those elaborate handstand gymnastics on a water-drenched revolving tree take a long time to master while moving. Nobody else performs handstands while moving.
Incredibly, those daring swimmers and athletes do get water in their eyes just like we do when we go splashing. To assist them to be in the right place at the right time in split seconds while their eyes are closed under the surface, SCUBA divers propel them into position. Another secret I can reveal: The upside-down, underwater, synchronized red-shoe dance-swimmers always wear goggles to never be out of step. They also have underwater music piped in so that they are in perfect sync.
Incredibly, at 3,000 shows, drummer Jean Ainsley has never missed one performance, and pianist Paul Pelletier has played at more than 2,990 shows, only missing a couple due to a family emergency. More than 45 of the performers are still there from opening night. Vegas DeLuxe is proud to provide a first look at new photographs of “Le Reve -- the Dream.”
Technicians and operators at multiple computers provide a four-step backup process in the event anything goes wrong. Failure can be rectified in a microsecond switchover without an audience member noticing.
Rick Gray, Wynn’s GM of entertainment, told me on a backstage tour at the 2,993rd performance this week: “Our technical people are unbelievable. They face a magnitude of challenges no other show does nightly. The degree and magnitude of difficulty is much, much more in water. This is the greatest collaborative process in show business we have ever seen. You just couldn’t have done this spectacular before we had computers.
“We’re still updating the show all the time. Mr. Wynn still visits regularly and suggests tweaks and improvements and new ideas. He gets the credit for adding the ballroom dance sequences of the tango and paso doble with Maksim Chmerkovskiy from ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ We’ve added new costumes; we’ve got new quick-change scenes starting in the New Year, there’s now magic, an avatar and new music. The fabric from the ceiling for the opening kabuki drop is all new, and the miracle of the flowers in the finale floated out by two unseen divers has audiences stopped in their tracks. Sometimes, it’s hard to make them leave the theater with all the photos they want to take of the flowers once the show has ended!”
“Le Reve -- the Dream” is an overwhelming wow. One watches it mesmerized and in disbelief at the agility of the water-bound athletes. You dare not blink in case you miss one of their unbelievable exploits. The collective silence and intake of air when one diver makes the heart-stopping 80-foot leap into the circular pool is intense, and as he surfaces, the sight of relief is audible. You dare not take your eyes off the stage for a second because you risk missing another stunning stunt. Even the 75 to 105 white homing pigeons become stars as they fly across the submerged stages.
It’s a majestic and monumental masterpiece of a blockbuster budget be damned production that has to be seen to be believed. Our story about all the fun facts and figures of “Le Reve -- the Dream” was posted Tuesday. For 75 minutes, you are on the edge of your seat watching athletes push their bodies to maximum performance and achievement. It is riveting. It is beyond exciting. It’s truly incredible, as I’ve said now many times. Sorry for belaboring the point!
It also is a highly charged emotional night of thrilling agility, sweeping music and hair-standing-on-end chills as the casts make the impossible possible. It’s a case of defying gravity, and this is not imagination. This is real-life wonder and amazement. But for hours afterward, you’ll wonder if it was all a dream and you really saw what they actually did.
Go experience it for yourself because no matter what I say or write, it’s impossible to do it justice in words and photos. You must take it all in for yourself -- go enjoy and marvel!
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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