When you think of a Las Vegas show, certain words automatically pop into your head: Sexy, lavish, sophisticated, magic, acrobats and dancing to name a few. Le Reve at the Wynn Hotel is all those things and so much more. After seeing dozens of big budget production shows from Broadway to Los Angeles and everywhere in-between, Le Reve is hands down the most incredible spectacle I have ever seen.
Le Reve’s theater seats 1,600 patrons in a circular theater that surrounds a stage that raises out of and lowers into a pool of water 27 feet deep. Theater goers sit in red plush seats that are no more than forty feet away from the stage at the farthest. Some shows will tell you there is “not a bad seat in the house,” but let’s be honest; there are definitely bad seats in every theater. After seeing Le Reve three times now in different rows and sections, there truly isn’t a bad place to sit.
The 91 cast members of the show perform acts that seem superhuman to the rest of us mortals who can’t dream of performing synchronized dance numbers in full three-piece suits, evening gowns and even six-inch heels all dripping wet from being dunked in a pool several times throughout the routine. From mind-boggling high dives to flips and even aerial acrobatics, Le Reve never lets up for a solid 90 minutes.
A little known and completely unadvertised fact: Since the show opened in 2005, it continues to constantly evolve. Unlike other big production shows just down the Las Vegas strip that are exactly the same night after night and year after year, Le Reve never stops refining and fine tuning itself. From new lighting to new props to completely different choreographed dance routines that were never in the show before, it always keeps repeat visitors like myself on our toes. If you saw the show last year and decided to check it out this year, you will notice a few changes. However, if you saw Le Reve in 2005 versus today in 2014, you’d barely be able to recognize it.
Last month, Le Reve started offering backstage tours of its facilities to guests just a few hours before shows start on Thursdays through Sundays. Being the geek that I am, I literally leaped at the chance to go backstage for this show that I have been so captivated by for years.
While the tour does reveal how everything in the show works (seriously, there are moments in the show that leave you scratching your head and wondering how they pull certain acts off), it personally gives me a greater appreciation on how ingenious Le Reve is, how extremely skilled all the performers and back of house staff are to pull it off twice a night, five days a week.
On the backstage tour, guests are taken all over the building including the area above the theater where various props, set pieces and actors are lowered into position from above. According to my tour guide, the automation for the show is the most advanced out of any theater in the world. Nearly everything in the show is automated from actors being lowered down from 80 feet above the water…
…..to flowers being hoisted and lowered into position for the show’s finale sequence.
The backstage tour also takes guests on the stage, raised of course – no bikinis or swin trunks required.
The stage has holes in it so it can sink virtually all the way down to the floor 27 feet below. And for certain sequences in the show, it can be raised 15 feet above the water.
The backstage tour is the only way you can see the props that live underwater in the “wings” of the stage. They are placed into position during the show by a small network of scuba divers never seen by the audience while Le Reve is being performed.
The water is kept at exactly 89 degrees for the performers who spend ninety minutes jumping in and out of the water. If it’s even a degree off, the cast can feel the difference immediately. That pool is their home away from home.
Surprisingly, the biggest expense of Le Reve is its wardrobe department. Each performer has three costumes for each sequence. One for the first show, one for the second performance and a spare just in case something goes wrong with the first two.
Since Le Reve is one-of-a-kind and internally owned and operated within the Wynn hotel, it doesn’t need to report to a higher power like Cirque Du Soliel. Everything is literally done in-house.
Everything, including costuming, which is in constant need of repair and replacement due to how physical the actors get jumping in and out of the water, is done backstage.
They keep a total of 66 pairs of custom-made red high heels backstage at all times. The heels are painted red not only from heel to toe, but on the bottom as well because most of that particular sequence is performed by ladies upside down in the water with only the heels sticking straight up in the air.
They even create all the props for the show either within the backstage area of the theater or in a small machine shop just off the Las Vegas strip.
One of my favorite aspects of Le Reve that often goes unnoticed is how little the actors wear on their face in terms of makeup and facial appliances. In such an intimate theater, to see the actual actor’s faces gives a connection that you rarely see in other big budget production shows.
As you can imagine, during the course of the performance, water is all over the backstage areas with the costumes dripping wet running back and forth looking to make their next mark in an entirely different costume. So they go through 1,200 towels a night just to keep everyone dry.
I can’t stress to you enough how incredible this show is and if you are anything like me, after seeing the show, you will want to know how they pull it all off twice a night. The next time you are in Vegas, splurge a little and check out Le Reve and take the time to upgrade to the backstage tour. You will not regret it. For more information on the show and the backstage tour, click this link.