By Steve Beauregard
Between strolling through picturesque gardens, window shopping at famous retailers, or taking in a dazzling outdoor water show, some of the best entertainment options at the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel and Casino are free.
The most entertaining of them is the nightly magical music and light water show called the Lake of Dreams.
This show is set on 20,000 square feet of water, and has everything you’d expect from a classy Steve Wynn theatrical production: music, lights, water, fire, and a 30 foot tall singing frog. And the best part of this show is that it’s absolutely free!
Show highlights include a lighted 40 foot tall waterfall, swaying puppets, and a giant head that’s 23 feet tall – all illuminated by roughly 5,000 lights that are underwater, above water, and tucked in the crevices of the mountain adjoining the lake.
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The approximately ten minute production runs every 1/2 hour with a rotating show line up. Sometimes there’ll be a frog and Garth Brooks music. Sometimes there’ll be a snake and “Oh What a Wonderful World” playing. Shows start at 8:30 p.m. and run every half-hour until midnight.
The best viewpoint to see the Lake of Dreams show is from the patio of the Parasol Down Bar, found at the bottom of the curving escalators. A platform area in front of the Parasol Up bar inside the casino also offers decent sightlines. Patio seating at some of the resort’s restaurants provide you with fantastic setting and views, both before and during the show. The Lakeside and SW Steakhouse are the places for you should the lake show be on your must-do list.
Another free (if not exactly exciting) entertainment option includes strolling the Wynn’s botanical gardens. This is similar to the Bellagio’s Conservatory, and features exotic flowers and plants. The hotel has its own horticulture team that rotates the vegetation and adds special touches for different holidays. Between the beautiful natural smell, and light airy feel from the skylights above, it’s an enchanting change of pace from the noisy, smoke-filled adrenaline pace of the casino a few steps away.
As for your formal entertainment options: there are two entertainment venues at the Wynn with very unique names. There’s the (drum roll please) Wynn Theater, and the (take a guess) Encore Theater, which – despite its name – is actually located in the Wynn, and not the Encore. The Encore Theater used to be called the “Broadway Theater” and still shows up as that name on some outdated maps you’ll find online.
The Wynn Theater is the larger, more prominent of the two venues. It’s layout is a theater-in-the-round arrangement with approximately 1,600 seats.
The Wynn’s signature, big time show is “Le Reve – The Dream,” which was originally going to be the name of the entire resort. Still it’s an odd name considering that “Le Reve” is French for “The dream.” So if you’re visiting from say Paris, or French Canada, the show is basically, The Dream The Dream.” I guess just calling it Le Reve would be too confusing for us stupid Americans.
Anyhow, Le Reve – The Dream was created by Franco Dragone and it’s about, well, a dream. It’s been running at the Wynn since day one of the resort itself. Like “O” at the Bellagio, (which Dragone also created), Le Reve is an aquatic-themed show with divers, and fliers and music and all that crap. It’s a little darker than its Cirque Du Soleil competitors. (Ticket information for Le Reve – The Dream can be found here, or by calling the box office at (702) 770-9966.
Tickets start off at $105 a pop in what’s called the “Splash” zone. Tickets in the larger, main “premium section” (where most of the seats are) run $134 a seat. VIP seats cost $195 a ticket, but include a bottle of champagne, strawberries and chocolates, and video monitors where you can check out what’s going on backstage. Considering the size of the large pool, and the intimate setting of the theater (it’s been reported that no seat is further than 50 feet from the water), there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Le Reve – The Dream has two shows a night, every night except Wednesday and Thursday.
The other entertainment complex at the Wynn is the Encore Theater. And like I said earlier, it’s actually in the Wynn itself. This theater opened with 1,200 seats under the name “Broadway Theater.” The inaugural show was a nine-month run of performances of the Tony award-winning Broadway hit, Avenue Q. It featured puppets talking about sex. Let me repeat that: puppets talking about sex. Surprisingly it was not popular with people outside of New York City, otherwise known as “real people.”
After Wynn cancelled Avenue Q in May of 2006, the theater was renamed the “Grail Theater” in honor of its new resident act, the Monty Python musical “Spamalot.” However Spamalot was cancelled in July of 2008, after around 500 performances. The theater was then redesigned and renamed the “Encore Theater.”
Longtime popular Las Vegas entertainer Danny Gans took over Spamalot’s place at the new Encore Theater beginning in February of 2009. Gans had been a Sin City staple, with a very enjoyable act that included impressions, singing, and comedy. He had partnered with Steve Wynn before, during a long tenure at the Mirage. Gans’s Wynn run was short-lived however, as the 52 year old passed away on May 1st, 2009.
(Here’s a quick preview of Le Reve – The Dream)
Garth Brooks recently ended a run of acoustic performances at the Encore Theater, with the final concert taking place on November 17, 2012. The country crooner’s engagement at the Wynn began in December 2009. Originally priced at $125 a seat, tickets later were priced at (gulp), $250 a seat – beyond the reach of his “friends in low places.”
That classless snobby diva, Beyonce, who – on the day after the 2012 presidential election – used a vulgarity to insult the 48% of the country who didn’t want Barack Obama to remain as president – also performed at the Wynn in 2009 in a performance that was recorded and which eventually became the CD and DVD: “I Am…Yours.”
Steve Wynn has bigger plans for the Encore Theater. He’s brought in some of the best show producers in the industry to help him flesh out his idea for a unique, Cirque du Soleil type show called “Funhouse.” It’s expected to open in 2013. Most of the show’s concept has come directly from Wynn himself, the Las Vegas Sun reports.