Wynn Las Vegas’ Le Rêve – The Dream is a spectacular dream come to life for audience members. But to fully appreciate the action in the round, you must step behind—and over and under—the curtains.
The "Fans" scene symbolizes the Dreamer's awakened sensuality.
The mezzanine level above the stage is nearly pitch black, save for a handful of tiny blue lights that are less luminous than the average smartphone. Yet the cast and crew of Le Rêve – The Dream navigate seamlessly around cables and equipment, just as they’ve done thousands of times before. There is little noise despite the bustle, with most of the sound on this level coming from the crowd below. The 7pm audience seated in the theater is anxiously goading one of the show’s characters to dive from his 80-foot perch into a pool below.
As he falls, there is a collective catching of breaths, followed by applause as he emerges from the water safely.
“I like that people are scared, but they laugh at the same time. It’s like drama and comedy,” explains performer and coach Didier Antoine, who portrays lead character Morpheus and designed many of the show’s aerial acts. The high dive is certainly the most thrilling sequence in Le Rêve – The Dream. But on the mezzanine, it’s business as usual. Cast and crew cannot pause to congratulate one another, because the show must go on, just as it has since first making a splash at Wynn Las Vegas in 2005.
Recently, Le Rêve – The Dream has taken new form. Music, lighting, set pieces, costumes, choreography—all have been revamped as part of a two-year, $10 million “reimagining” under the guidance of an award-winning production team.
“This last change in the show is certainly the biggest, but the thing that I love is that the show is a living, organic entity that always changes,” explains casting director Louanne Madorma. “Everything has evolved into something new to connect with the audience emotionally and take them on a journey.”
At its core, Le Rêve – The Dream remains the story of a woman’s choice between true love and heated passion, played out through spectacular aerial and aquatic stunts. Its cast—93 total, including musicians—performs twice nightly on a stage that is constantly raised and lowered in a 26-foot-deep pool.
A performer prepares to be lowered down into the crowd from more than 80 feet above the water.
While the audience is enthralled by the high dives and synchronized swim sequences, the backstage areas are buzzing with activity. A wardrobe attendant holds the elevator doors in order to shuffle performers up and down from the mezzanine, as 11 dressers assist performers with the multitude of quick changes that occur during the show. Everyone must be careful not to slip. The show is soaking wet behind the scenes, as cast members—assisted by 11 scuba divers—are helped out of the pool and into dry costumes that will be wet again within a few minutes.
“Chlorine and Spandex are not friends,” laughs Suzy Benzinger, the veteran costume designer famous for her work on Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, among others. “I’ve done Broadway shows where the costumes last three years. These don’t last three months.” While water-wear is the primary reason Le Rêve – The Dream costumes have a short lifespan, Benzinger adds that physical demand of the show leads to performers “developing muscles we don’t even know exist.”
“They’re machines,” she says of the cast, which includes six former Olympians. “Their bodies are spectacular when they’re hired, and they change when they do the show.” What can be salvaged from tonight’s wardrobe will be repaired tomorrow, including shoes, which are repainted on a daily basis. As the crew gather costumes, cast members assemble back onstage for the finale, taking one last turn in the water and disappearing, until the curtain rises again at 9:30pm.
“It is a great satisfaction,” Antoine says in reflection. “It is not easy to make The Dream come true.”