Wynn Las Vegas Officially Reveals “Awakening” and It’s Everything
Wynn Las Vegas finally shared details about its new production show, “Awakening.”
This $120 million show opens Nov. 7, 2022, and it promises to be “unparalleled” and “unprecedented” and “immersive” and “innovative” and “infused with modern day myth and magic.”
Usually, we snark heartily about such overblown hype, but from what we’ve seen of “Awakening,” Wynn could very well deliver on many of its lofty promises.
In a news release, supremely likeable Wynn Resorts CEO Craig Billings, said, “Every so often, the bar for spectacle in Las Vegas is raised. State of the art lighting, sound and stage technology, coupled with intricate storytelling, glamorous costumes and large-scale puppetry will make ‘Awakening’ and the Awakening Theater stand out as true innovation in theatrical entertainment and raise that bar for Las Vegas, once again. I am deeply proud of the team that has so carefully crafted this one-of-a-kind experience.”
Here’s a look at what he’s talking about.
From what we can tell, “Awakening” certainly has a grand scale.
The show has made the most of the “Le Reve” theater, except everything’s been stripped down and rebuilt for “Awakening.”
Our eyes immediately went to the aforementioned “large-scale” puppetry, especially the massive blue whale.
During a chat with Michael Curry, Producer and Character Designer for the show, he revealed the whale has a name: Bubble Blue. Curry says the whale was given its name by a cast member who suffers from cetaphobia, or a fear of whales.
We also love the elephant. Name pending.
Before we become too distracted by the giant moving animals, we should probably address what “Awakening” is about, if you’re into that kind of thing.
The news release says, “Awakening invites audiences to join the quest of a heroine and her two fellow travelers as they seek to reunite two lost lovers. Infused with modern day myth and magic, the show comes to life through a combination of dramatic choreography, technology, fantastic creatures, and a custom sound system
designed to showcase its breathtaking original musical score.”
If you didn’t think they were going to work “breaktaking” into this news release, you are sadly mistaken.
To no one’s surprise, the show’s story isn’t overly-reliant on words. As we know from all the Cirque shows in Vegas, you have to appeal to people from around the world, many of whom may not know English.
So, you tell the story visually. And musically. And dancilly, which is probably not an official word that exists, but hello, it’s called “suspending your disbelief.”
Which is why the production sought out a writer comfortable with visual storytelling, Kelly Sue DeConnick. DeConnick is a comic book writer and a noted critic of sexism in the male-dominated comic industry.
We could go into detail about the other aspects of the production, but that would involve “doing research” or “exerting effort,” and you know damn well that’s not happening.
We do know the show has about 60 performers, virtually all of them very fit, flexible and attractive, so that checks the box for “Shows We Will Attend Despite What Appears to Be Artsy Choreography.”
“Awakening” doesn’t just have everything, it has everyone.
If the pandemic has a silver lining, the collection of talent behind “Awakening” could be that. The show managed to wrangle an impressive creative team, a feat that wouldn’t have been possible if those individuals hadn’t been sidelined and largely idle due to the pandemic.
The folks behind “Awakening” are some of the best in their respective fields, and the deep pockets of Wynn Resorts ensured they had the resources necessary to pull off a larger-than-life show in a theater decked out with state-of-the-art technology.
Not only that, but they got none other than Anthony Hopkins to narrate the damn thing. Yes, that Anthony Hopkins.
Here’s a list of the key creatives for “Awakening,” so it at least looks like we devoted some time to fleshing this story out.
Executive Producer/Producer: Bernie Yuman
Producer and Director: Baz Halpin
Producer and Character Designer: Michael Curry
Illusion Designer: Paul Kieve
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Composer: Brian Tyler
Set Designer: George Tsypin
Costume Designer: Soyon An
Lighting Designers: Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer
Sound Designer: Peter Hylenski
Supervising Choreographer: Nolan Padilla
We got to meet the legendary Bernie Yuman at a media breakfast at Wynn Las Vegas. In case you’re an older person, that’s what the kids call a “humblebrag,” for future reference. He’s on the right in the photo below. He’s smiling because he has been in show business since the Taft administration and he knows things.
Anyway, Bernie Yuman is legendary because he invented entertainment as we know it. He was the longtime manager for Siegfried and Roy, for starters. During our breakfast, he made a “Folies Bergere” joke, which is a great way to win us over because of the bosoms. As if that weren’t badass enough, Yuman played Doc Sandy in “Vegas Vacation.” He also played himself in “Ocean’s Thirteen.” That wasn’t the terrible one. Even the terrible one wasn’t that terrible.
We realize this doesn’t really speak to Bernie Yuman’s contribution to “Awakening,” but we get the feeling he’ll get a kick out of seeing his name here, so there you have it.
Bernie Yuman was one of the people we were surprised didn’t yell at us for sharing the name of the show first. We should get some serious modesty points for waiting this long in our story to mention the fact we scooped everyone, by the way.
Wynn Las Vegas has been stealthy about the name of its new magic-themed show. (Working title, “Olympus,” was a red herring.) Unconfirmed, but now told it’s “Awakening.”
— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) September 7, 2022
As mentioned, the opening of “Awakening” is right around the corner, and the producers were all cool as cucumbers at our breakfast meeting at Wynn. In case you’re skimming and missed our earlier humblebrag.
No pressure, guys. The debut is just a month away and all eyes will be on this story that happens “in the time before time in the place that never was” and “the space between light and darkness” and, holy crap, $120 million is a lot of money.
Tickets are on sale now, so take a look. The tickets we checked ran from $114 to $175.
Showtimes for the 75-minute show are 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
Bravo to Wynn Las Vegas and their partners for taking on a daunting task. How do you take on a monster like Cirque du Soleil to try and snag the Las Vegas spectacle crown? Do you swerve toward the “Absinthe” model as Cirque did with “Mad Apple”?
Nope. “Awakenings” isn’t an act-based show. It’s not a traditional Broadway musical, either. It doesn’t feel like a dumpster fire that’s trying too hard (like “R.U.N.”). It’s not magic, but it has illusions. It doesn’t seem like pointless froth or eye candy (like “Jubilee”). It looks sexy, but it’s not overtly so.
The creative minds behind “Awakenings” know the “bar for spectacle” (as Craig Billings called it) in Las Vegas is high. Some would say impossibly high.
Then again, making the impossible possible is what Las Vegas does, and it’s entirely possible Wynn Las Vegas is about to do it again with “Awakening.”