Wynn’s LE REVE Makes New Waves With Major Revision


Detailing major updates to Wynn’s long-running signature production…

NOTE: This article previously appeared on another site in February 2017. There have been additional revisions to the show since then. I will be revisiting Le Reve very soon and will share those updates with you at a later time.

The aquatic show Le Reve – A Small Collection of Imperfect Dreams opened at Wynn Resort in May of 2005. It was an eerie tale told through acrobatics and a blend of water and aerial ballet. Sets were adorned with skulls and skeletons, while the ceiling was layered with actual casts of human bodies. The dream of an “everyman” protagonist caught both audiences and critics off-guard. It was surprisingly dark for a night out in Vegas and became a bit of a PR nightmare for the newly-opened resort.

Le Reve

Despite the fact that this writer was blown away (I saw it on my first Vegas trip), the production was quickly retooled. A lengthy process of reinvention took place over the next several years, much in keeping with the “fluid” nature of its setting. Le Reve was lightened and brightened, transformed from a sinister nightmare into a sweeping adventure filled with romance, dance….and lots of flowers.

The reinvention worked. Le Reve – The Dream (its second official name) became a must-see…and winner of Best Production Show for six consecutive years (Southern Nevada Hotel Concierge Association). Throughout its run, additional artistic and technological elements have been added to keep audiences returning. My personal tally is twenty-seven as of this writing (you can read all about my previous experiences by visiting an archived VegasChatter article here).

Le Reve

Perhaps it was a reflection of the times that a happy version of Le Reve soared while the economy was tanking. Failed projects continue to surround the Wynn/Encore property, reminders of a time when the future of Las Vegas growth suddenly seemed bleak. But for fans of Le Reve, all was sunny and bright.

Now that tourists are pouring back into Vegas in record numbers and money is flowing once more, the folks at Wynn Entertainment have once again retooled their namesake show (Wynn resort was originally to be called “Le Reve”). And surprise…the production has gone back to the beginning and restored a bit of the darkness.

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Why would an established show embrace an approach that didn’t work so well the first time around? Perhaps we can credit this to the current crop of Vegas enthusiasts. Younger crowds that make Sin City their go-to destination these days don’t generally attend this type of production. But they do indulge in imagination-based entertainment like gaming, martial artistry, sci-fi, and superheroes.

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Le Reve version 2017 has tapped into the burgeoning fantasy culture and brought heroes and villains to the center of Le Reve’s aqua-stage. A romantic triangle that forms the core of its storyline has been amped up, with characters and costumes having a new sense of familiarity to genre fans. Elements of AVATAR and Ridley Scott’s LEGEND, sword/sorcery visuals and graphic novel sensibilities have been woven into the plotline, along with a dashing prince-like hero (in a billowy romance-cover shirt) and a bald, muscular challenger in black leather pants.

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As you might expect, Le Reve is much less of a musical now. The live singing doesn’t kick in until the second third of the show. Most of the ballroom dancing has been jettisoned, along with three angels who served as comic relief. In their place are two impish sidekicks who serve a staff-wielding Dream Master. That ominous character sends the dreamer into her adventure and leads her from one experience to the next before returning her to our world.

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Certain acts remain relatively unchanged, like a wild sequence with giant fishing nets and another with three female acrobats inside of a sphere. Natural elements like rain, snow, and fire have been amped up. A new effect features globes made entirely of water that descend from an enormous domed ceiling….while flames swirl around inside of them. It’s hard to describe, but absolutely breathtaking.

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As you might expect, not all is perfect in the new Le Reve. The happy-ending finale is set to a horribly cheesy song that would be more at home in Disney’s Parade of Lights. The Piece Montee set, a multi-tiered fountain from which high-divers leap and spin, is now adorned with Day-Glo accents that resemble a child’s aquarium. In fact, the entire sequence feels like a deleted scene from The Little Mermaid or Finding Nemo.

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A source connected with the show told me (on condition of anonymity) that the current finale is a remnant from a different failed revision that Steve Wynn halted (Wynn has had a hands-on role since purchasing the rights from creator Franco Dragone in 2006 and provides a voice-over in the latest rollout).

Apparently, this jettisoned re-imagining was only performed twice for audiences before being packed up and tossed into the dead pool. For whatever reason, the “get-happy” conclusion from the discarded reworking remains. It could easily be excised until another one is created and the show would still feel complete.

The source went on to say that original composer Benoit Jutras has been working on a new score to balance the overall tone and that a lyricist will be adding songs back into the production soon. So Le Reve will continue to be fluid, at least in the weeks and months ahead.

Le Reve

As I stated in my review of the Beatles LOVE update, retooling a successful show can be a risky proposition. But like the artists of Cirque du Soleil, Wynn’s entertainment group has stayed true to the source material while making it feel brand new.

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Comparisons to Cirque du Soleil will most likely follow The Dream throughout its run, which in unfortunate. Le Reve – The Dream sets itself apart in ways too numerous to mention. Unlike Bellagio’s O, the show at Wynn manages to be both intimate and epic. It’s my personal favorite in the city.

Le Reve – The Dream is a spectacle on a massive scale. It’s incredible entertainment…and one hundred percent pure “Las Vegas.”

Le Reve – The Dream performs Friday through Tuesday at 7 pm and 9:30 pm. Tickets start at $115.00 plus taxes/fees and are available by clicking here. Our friend at VegasFool.com is running a special with Grandview seating for $99 plus taxes/fees (regular $145) by following this link.

Photos: Sam Novak

 

 

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LOVE 2.0 Merges Tech, Heart…and Lots More Beatles


“The Beatles: LOVE” remains one of the most spectacular and satisfying shows in town…

When Cirque du Soleil unveiled “The Beatles: LOVE” twelve years ago at Mirage, it was a first in many ways. The custom-designed 360-degree theater had an immersive sound system with speakers built into the seats. Intricate stage platforms quickly transformed the set from one sequence into another. Hi-tech projections created the illusion of a unique concert experience that couldn’t be seen anywhere else.

And the biggie of them all…the Montreal-based acrobatic company had built their first-ever show around an existing musical property – the Fab Four. Dozens of works by the Beatles were intricately woven into a musical tapestry that defies explanation. It was lovingly created for LOVE by Sir George Martin (aka “the fifth Beatle”) and his son Giles with the blessings of Ringo StarrPaul McCartneyJohn Lennon‘s wife Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, widow of George.

A lot has changed in the ensuing years, especially in the relationship between Cirque and Las Vegas. Further collaborations resulted in productions featuring Michael Jackson (hit), Elvis Presley (fail) and Criss Angel (where do we start?). With the closure of Zarkana two years ago (the second of their shows to fail in the Aria theater), it’s fair to question whether CDS has over-extended their brand on the Strip. Still… LOVE started out…and remains…a critically-acclaimed crowd-pleasing hit.

The Beatles: LOVE

        May 5th, 2016 – Massive crowds lined up to see “Beatles: LOVE” at Mirage

For the tenth anniversary of LOVE, Cirque took on the challenge of revising, updating and fine-tuning what many already consider to be the best show in the city. A risky proposition, but with Giles and original artistic director Dominic Champagne at the helm, the updating was nearly flawless…and quite beautiful.

Those unfamiliar with the show…or who haven’t seen it multiple times (this writer clocks in at 14 and counting) will be oblivious to the more subtle tweaks. But the new sound system, updated video elements, and three-dimensional projections stand out as clearly state-of-the-art.

LOVE’s pacing is also much tighter in this new incarnation. What once began from an incredibly slow build to explosive action, then back to a more solemn World War II sequence now drives continuously forward, thanks to the addition of Twist and Shout.

There’s less focus on the Beatles as children (in fact, during the media event that I attended for the tenth anniversary, only three child actors were present, but their downplayed roles hardly made it noticeable). Another absence, seemingly permanent, was the “Eleanor Rigby” character (portrayed by beloved Brazilian actress Silvia Aderne since the beginning).

The Beatles: LOVE

It seems as though the re-sequenced songs and staging are now meant to represent an emotional interpretation of the Beatles’ cultural impact, more so than just a chronological depiction of their rise. LOVE has always been quite a bit on the dreamy side, with surreal visuals and characters.

Now the show is even more trippy, with wildly colorful costumes and props that are vivid and vibrant. Whimsical touches, like characters and sea creatures from Yellow Submarine and Octopus’s Garden, permeate every corner of the massive arena.

Two significant numbers have been re-imagined by replacing marionettes with projections. Lady Madonna has jettisoned the dancing yellow galoshes. The once-black floor now comes alive with moving multi-colored spots that turn the surface into a living Twister game board.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps has done away with the giant marionettes made of letters. In their place, a sole female character now dances with an animated sketch of a man that moves, morphs, and flies from one screen to another throughout the auditorium. The scene and staging are hard to describe, but their beauty brought tears to my eyes.

The Beatles: LOVE

The biggest sequence – and a fan favorite – is the enormous mushroom-cloud bedsheet that spreads over the audience during Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows. That set piece remains, but it was unclear from my seating position whether anything going on above the canvas had been updated (that statement might only make sense if you’ve seen LOVE in the past).

Check out the YouTube video below for a brief look at this mind-blowing segment.

Speaking of the previous version, it’s worth noting that the four band members were once only shown in silhouette until the final moments. Now their faces are front and center, sometimes using archival footage that syncs with the soundtrack. That effect and a few others might need a little tweaking (the show was briefly interrupted on the night I attended, due to a glitch) in the weeks leading up to the official tenth-anniversary celebration.

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That gala on July 14th 2016, presented the return of Ringo, McCartney, and the widows of John and George for a formal event. It was truly an epic night and one for my personal Hall of Memories.

It’s terrific to know that one of my favorite Vegas shows is just as wonderful as ever. Whether you’re a fan of the Liverpool quartet, Cirque du Soleil or just great productions, The Beatles: LOVE remains one of the most spectacular and satisfying shows in town. Don’t miss it.

The Beatles LOVE performs Tuesday through Saturday at 7 pm and 9:30 pm. Tickets and information on behind-the-scenes tours and VIP  experiences are available through this link. Our friend at VegasFool.com has tickets starting at $75 (plus taxes/fees) by clicking here.

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared on another site. It has since been updated.

Photos: Sam Novak

Hot Guys of Vegas: Dads and Sons


Get acquainted with the men who make their children, pets and parents proud…

With spring…and Father’s Day…just around the corner, it’s time to salute the young men of Vegas who inspire their families with talent, good deeds…and fantastic physiques and looks.

 

Alberto del Campo – athlete/performer/pole instructor

 

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

                                                         Alberto del Campo

Where you’ve seen him – Le Reve, KA, Las Vegas Pole Expo, The Beatles LOVE

Alberto del Campo (banner photo above) is one of those guys who seems to be unaffected by gravity.  With athletic grace, he soars through the air and water, climbs tall objects with ease and is completely comfortable hanging upside down.

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

This handsome Spiderman/Aquaman hybrid from Barcelona is a real-life superhero to sons Alex (10) and Zack (8). Together the play, train, and have lots of fun outdoors. But when the sun goes down, Alberto joins his boys onstage at Mirage for The Beatles LOVE.

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Father and sons, along with beautiful wife Genevieve Garneau, love being a seriously-fit circus family. Genevieve, a native of Quebec, is currently a performer in Le Reve and has previously been an artist for Cirque.

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Alex is skilled at joining dad on the pole and young Zack is currently mastering aerial work on the straps. Both boys will no doubt continue to follow in their parents’ footsteps and be stars in their own right.

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                                Alberto’s final evening with the cast of KA…

As for Alberto, his busy schedule is enhanced by a number of ancillary projects. Along with competing, he holds workshops in pole dancing and pole fitness. He’s also been known to choreograph amazing aerial sequences for Cirque du Soleil’s annual “One Night For One Drop” charity events. And if you’re lucky enough, you’ve caught one of his rare comedy performances in the naughty vaudeville act Golden Shower.

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Del Campo may be a dad, but he doesn’t have the standard “dad bod” by any stretch of the imagination. This handsome father lives, breathes, works and teaches fitness…and it shows.

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If you’d like to learn more about Alberto or attend one of his workshops, contact him through Aerial Athletica at (702) 848-7894.

Noteworthy traits – stunning flexibility, ability to look hot from all angles…

 

Chris Hodgson – dancer/singer/actor/model

 

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

                                                         Chris Hodgson

Where you’ve seen him – Jubilee!, Sex Tips For Straight Women, ad campaigns

New daddy Chris Hodgson has been steaming up the stages of Las Vegas ever since he arrived from West Yorkshire. This slim, towering 30-year-old has a voice that can melt ice and cheekbones that could cut diamonds.

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Chris is currently starring as the object of everyone’s desire in Paris Casino‘s Sex Tips For Straight Women from a Gay Man. He plays Stefan, a technician who becomes the unwitting prop in a scheme to loosen one woman’s sexual inhibitions. With a body like that, do you really think he fails?

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

Hodgson studied his craft at U.K.’s Performers College of Corringham, Essex. He cut teeth in show business aboard the Holland America cruise line before settling down in the States. Since then he’s been working steadily in Strip productions like Jubilee! and 50 Shades: The Musical Parody, along with special events and fundraisers.

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The performers in Vegas make up a tightly-knit community. They cherish Chris and his willingness to donate his free time for a worthy cause (he’s an ardent supporter of the LGBTQ). He’s frequently out and about with the city’s other artists, sharing jokes, outrageous behavior…and even the occasional spontaneous pole dance.

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

Last spring, Hodgson and wife Leah Sykes (herself an artist in Cirque‘s Zumanity) became parents to son Parker. Proud Chris is excited to be a new dad and relishes the time he gets to spend with his quickly-growing boy.

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With such great genetics from both sides of the family, Parker will surely become a hearthrob in no time at all. Until then, big daddy Chris will be the one in charge of accelerating pulses around Sin City.

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

Noteworthy traits – gleeming pecs, swoon-worthy British accent

 

Cameron “Boom” Brown – dancer/athlete/mentor

 

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                                                      Cameron Brown

Where you’ve seen him – Chippendales, charity events

Any fan of 80’s movies will remember Flashdance. That pop-culture phenomenon told the unlikely story of a Pittsburgh steel worker who moonlighted as a sexy dancer. With a little bit of tinkering (and a gender reversal). that blockbuster could easily double as a biography for Cameron Brown.

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

Cam is a Sharon, Pennsylvania native who put his substantial muscles to work in blue-collar gigs for JMC Steel Group and Wheatland Tube (a steel manufacturer). As a student growing up in Steeler country, the rugged young man was a popular football player and even received an offer to join the Pittsburgh Pirates. In other words, a local hero.

However, Cameron felt that there was something else calling to him “out there”. He wanted to see more of the world and expand his horizons (having grown up in the same area, I can testify that the culture in that region can be more than a little confining). He readied himself by studying marketing at West Virginia’s Marshall University, where the slogan is “Be Proud. Be a son or daughter of Marshall”.

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

                 Cameron hopes to continue making his father and mother proud…

After graduating, Cam decided he was ready to market himself. Perhaps he caught a late-night showing of Flashdance…and maybe that’s where he got the inspiration to follow Jennifer Beals’ path to becoming a dancer. Before you could say “What A Feeling“, this small-town boy with big dreams was soon strutting his stuff in the world-famous Chippendales male revue.

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

After becoming a hit onstage at Rio Las Vegas, Brown joined Chippendales for their world tour. His list of destinations included Berlin, Zwolle (Netherlands), Bolzano (Italy) and Korea. Seeing the world and being so far away from home added to his appreciation of his beloved family. The 26-year-old has one sister and several half-brothers/sisters. He’s especially close to his mother Deborah.

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

Not a day goes by where I don’t think of my Mom. I’m so very thankful to have my Mom in my life. Anybody who knows me knows I’m a huge mama’s boy and I have zero shame in that. She’s my world.

Currently on a break from touring, Cam is back on the Las Vegas stage, performing with his Chippendales brothers in their custom theater. In his free time he coaches children at i9 Sports, a Vegas youth organization. He believes that working with children affords him a peek at what the future has in store.

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                           Cameron and his one of his youth soccer teams…

Working hard to make his friends and family proud will continue to be Cam’s primary goal. One day he sees himself building a strong foundation for a family of his own:

I’m not worried about Jordans, cars, jewelry, none of that. I’m focused on starting a career and building a home…so my future family can lay their heads down without any worries.

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

Noteworthy traits – massive shoulders, over-sized heart

 

Tyler Froehlich – dancer/model/physique competitor

 

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

                                                     Tyler Froehlich

Where you’ve seen himMen of the Strip, Chippendales, magazine covers

If there was an award for “Happiest Hunk of Sin City”, it would automatically go to Tyler Froehlich. This Cincinnati Ohio native, one of three brothers, moved to Las Vegas last spring and immediately brightened the city with his infectious grin.

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Like Cameron Brown, Tyler Froehlich’s story is straight out of a movie. Having just returned from an Army stint in Iraq, the war vet was living in his parents’ basement and ready for a change…but never expected that his life would take a turn of this magnitude.

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                       Arriving in Las Vegas with MOTS owner Mike Foland…

Tyler was discovered via his Instagram account by Glenn Douglas Packard, the famed choreographer for last summer’s Men of the Strip. It must have been a bit of culture shock for the young man to go from small-town obscurity to a marquee on the famed Las Vegas Strip.

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                                         Photos from Tyler’s army days…

One thing that didn’t surprise Froehlich was the intense, dry climate of Las Vegas. During his four-year army stint, he spent 2011 in Iraq and 2103 in Afghanistan. His role there was as a Forward Observer, a military artillery spotter responsible for directing mortar fire on a target.

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

Returning to the States, Froehlich maintained his heroic physique, hoping to develop a career in fitness modeling and physique competition. He competed in three shows and became nationally qualified for the NPC (you can see pics from his competition here). Then the call came to join Men of the Strip…and things haven’t slowed down since.

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

Parents Carol and Randy have plenty to be proud of. They raised their son to have an infectious sense of adventure (and gave him a wild sense of humor), which might explain how he went from having no dance experience to sharing a stage with the likes of Jeff Timmons.

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

I had the privilege of meeting Tyler’s mom and dad when they came out from Ohio to see his MOTS debut last July. They’re as warm and kind as Tyler, who has a special bond with brothers Bobby and Pete. The tattoo on his chest reads “Famiglia”, which of course means “family”.

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Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

With MOTS on hiatus, the hard-bodied athlete began modeling for corporate events, providing entertainment at lavish parties and appearing in magazines. For the cover of QLife magazine‘s 2017 Halloween issue, Tyler’s sculpted physique provided a perfect canvas for artist Robin Slonina‘s exquisite body painting.

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

As of this week, the former Army veteran can now be seen creating heat at Chippendales. The latest member of the world’s top male revue can’t be more excited to have a regular gig…and continues to relish the opportunities that Sin City has given him. He approaches each day with excitement, a wacky sense of humor and appreciation for his good fortune.

“Life isn’t about the destination…it’s about how you get there”. Tyler Froehlich

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Noteworthy traits – wild mane of hair, military-grade abs

 

Ron Remke – actor/singer/dancer

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

                                                     Ron Remke

Where you’ve seen him BAZ – A Musical Mash-up, Jubilee!

Our final Hot Guy for this edition is Ron Remke. Ron’s dashing, suave, multi-talented and has a gorgeous soul. He’s also a stellar father in every sense of the word…the only difference is that his children have paws.

Remke was born in Reading, Pennsylvania (yep, another PA native) and studied musical theater at Penn State University (my alma mater). After graduating, he lent his vocal gifts to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and released a glorious collection called Broadway Classics in 2012 (available on iTunes by clicking here).

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

As with so many bitten by the showbiz bug, Ron answered the call of Vegas and settled in with wife Alexandra (also a performer), whom he married the day after Christmas in 2014 (awww). The two purchased a house in Henderson the following September and have become the type of romantic couple that songs are written about.

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The handsome couple were fortunate enough to share the same stage together in Bally’s legendary production of Jubilee!. Alexandra was the epitome of a gorgeous showgirl…and Ron was the dapper song-and-dance man. Together they entertained thousands until the show took its final bows.

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

When Palazzo announced the return of BAZ two years ago, Ron came aboard as a swing performer. That meant he had to know numerous roles inside and out, stepping into whatever was required. His stage presence and handsome looks make him the perfect Jay Gatsby…but he also gets to show his comedic flair during a vaudeville-style take on “Like A Virgin”.

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                                      All the ladies swoon over Ron…

Ron and Alexandra are active in animal rescue operations and have opened their home to many of the community’s needy pets. After adopting shelter animals Lilly, a 9-year-old poodle, and kitties Oscar and Olly, the Remkes now raise rescued kittens and act as foster parents for the adults.

Hot Guys Vegas Dads Sons

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Ron tells me that at this point they’ve gotten 19 kittens off to a promising start, bringing them to a healthy weight of two and a half pounds. Then they’re able to be neutered before receiving permanent homes through NSPCA Saturday adoption events.

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It’s no simple feat to be both a heartthrob and a hero at the same time, but Ron Remke makes it look easy. He’s the ultimate ladies’ man, a total man’s man and a hero to the animals of the world. In other words, he’s the perfect guy.

Noteworthy traits – flawless teeth, slick dance moves, silky voice

Photos by Marco Mendez@lightandpole, Corey Fox Photography, QLife magazine, Sammasseur, Facebook