Wynn Las Vegas Pays USD 16 million for Rights to „Le Reve“

Las Vegas (AP) – Wynn Las Vegas, casino mogul Steve Wynn’s flagship resort, will pay USD 15.9 million to buy the rights to its headline show „Le Reve“ from creator Franco Dragone so he can add lights, lasers and perhaps more performers.

The sum, revealed in a filing this week by Wynn Resorts Ltd. to the Securities Exchange Commission, will pay for „substantially all rights in and to the show and to repay certain unreimbursed excess production costs,“ the filing said.

The move came as competition for entertainment dollars on the Las Vegas Strip has intensified. On Tuesday, the Tony-winning musical „Hairspray“ announced it was ending its run at the Luxor hotel-casino after less than four months due to poor ticket sales. That closing follows the premature shuttering of Tony-winning „Avenue Q“ last month after a disappointing nine-month engagement at Wynn Las Vegas.

Ingrid Jensen, marketing adviser for Dragone’s company, Productions du Dragon S.A., said Wynn asked Dragone personally to make the changes but Dragone was too busy with other projects, such as the Montreal-based show „Le Graal,“ to take them on.

„The degree of changes in terms of the technical level, et cetera, it’s not something that we can just casually do,“ Jensen said. „Franco Dragone would have to be based in Vegas for a significant period of time and we just can’t commit to that.“

In Dragone’s place, Wynn has hired the artistic director of surrealist dance troupe company MOMIX, Moses Pendleton, to complete the expansion of the show by some time in 2007, Jensen said.

Neither Wynn nor Pendleton could immediately be reached for comment.

Wynn and Dragone, who is Cirque du Soleil’s former creative director, were criticized when „Le Reve,“ an aquatic dance show, debuted in May 2005 because it was markedly similar to other shows on the Strip, such as „O.“ Production was temporarily trimmed from 10 to five shows a week while the show and its marketing were fine-tuned.

„Le Reve,“ which is performed in a specially built 2,087-seat theater in the round has been profitable, Jensen said. The show and theater cost $ 110 million to start up, she said. But stiff competition prompted Wynn to plan to „invest a significant amount of money“ to make the show „bigger,“ she said.

„He’s talking about some visual effects with lasers and lighting and so forth,“ she said. „He wants to add in more choreography to bring in more artists. However, the baseline show stays as is.“

Just down the Strip from Wynn Las Vegas, the Mirage began preview performances of the Beatles-Cirque du Soleil production, „Love,“ last week in a revamped 2,013-seat theater in the round. Preview sales were strong, Cirque spokeswoman Jennifer Dunne said.

Meanwhile, the Venetian next door to Wynn will open „Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular,“ a 90-minute version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical later this month in a 1,815-seat theater.

„The Producers,“ the smash Mel Brooks musical, will open at the Paris Las Vegas hotel-casino late this summer and „Monty Python’s Spamalot“ is set to open at the Wynn next year.

„Wynn is not one to sit around,“ Dunne said. „I’m interested to see what they do with the show.“