The competition for a night out on the Strip is at an all-time high with A-list performers such as Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, Adele, Bruno Mars and more holding coveted residencies at the city’s resort theaters. Add to that major touring acts rolling through town at both T-Mobile Arena and the new Allegiant Stadium, Raiders and Vegas Golden Knights games, plus comedy shows from the likes of Sebastian Maniscalco, Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen and Daniel Tosh and the entertainment field is stacked.
While these rotating acts bolster the tourism numbers significantly, the backbone of the Las Vegas entertainment scene has always been the stage show, and all eyes should be on Awakening, the new spectacle debuting at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Wynn Las Vegas. It’s one of the Strip’s most expensive theatricals, carrying a price tag of $120 million, and one of its first new large-scale shows in years.
Boasting a star-studded creative team, a 360-degree round stage and dazzling costumes, the 75-minute show will appeal to those who love grandiose theater.
Awakening depicts the love story between Darkness and Light and how relationships shatter and get pieced back together. Technologically advanced production effects and expressive choreography — including hip-hop, breaking, krumping, modern and various other dance forms — help drive the plot.
The accessibility of the mythical, magic-filled story line makes the performance suitable for audience members ages five and up.
Academy Award-winning actor Anthony Hopkins narrates the show conceived and created by Bernie Yuman, Baz Halpin and Michael Curry, a trio with impressive theatrical bona fides.
Awakening producer and director Halpin mastered the art of creating a spectacle by putting on halftime shows and stadium and arena tours for mega-stars like Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, Usher, Cher and Katy Perry. Show executive producer/producer Yurman served as the driving force responsible for Siegfried & Roy’s 25-year record-breaking Las Vegas engagement and as executive producer of the Broadway musical On Your Feet! Creative director Curry brought The Lion King to Broadway, has staged global productions and has worked with Disney, Universal, Cirque du Soleil and the International Olympic Committee to stage large-scale spectacles.
The 360-degree Awakening Theater, formerly home to long-running aquatic show Le Rêve, received a makeover that includes a 60-foot prismatic stage made of dichroic glass and custom LED screens. Pixels embedded into glass and plastics create reflections of light and color. The stage is always in motion — rotating in opposite directions and at varying speeds — with eight stage lifts and six transparent, multi-colored bridges.
Each of the 1,600 seats sits within 75 feet of center stage, guaranteeing an excellent view of George Tsypin’s set. For those who desire an upgraded evening at the theater, Awakening offers a VIP package that includes a personal host, a souvenir program, champagne and dessert, and an Elite-level package with a seat in the VIP Circle, a dedicated server, a program and a menu featuring small bites and premium beverages. To cap it off, you will receive a commemorative tote and deck of playing cards before joining cast members for a souvenir photograph.
The biggest audience oohs and aahs come from the large-scale puppets and animatronic figures designed by Curry. Standouts include an undulating whale used in the Water realm scene and the phoenix rising from the ashes in the Fire world. They blend in so well with the humans that the audience often wonders what or who they are seeing. Keep your eyes peeled for the tree creature who appears at a pivotal moment in the story.
The Sound and Music
A sound system envelops the audience with 3D sound designed by Peter Hylenski. Composer Brian Tyler — who has worked on more than 100 films, including Avengers: Age of Ultron and Crazy Rich Asians — created the original musical score for Awakening. The music feels as if it moves both forward and backward through the quadrangle speakers placed within each seat.
The score served as an integral part of the creation process. Each actor was given the ability to authentically interact with the music, which showcases a variety of genres, including electronic, hip-hop and dancehall.
More than 300 haute-couture-inspired costumes, designed by Soyon An, help bring Awakening to life. The avant-garde black-and-white ensembles outfitting the guests during Darkness’ ball are particularly stunning. The costuming used to illustrate the Water realm’s under-the-sea motif includes octopus tentacles, jellyfish, seahorses and other creature looks for a whimsical aquatic adventure.
After the show, check into one of Wynn’s new rooms, which were revealed in early 2022. The interiors by Todd Avery-Lenahan, president and chief creative officer of Wynn Design and Development, feel like the bedroom suite of your dreams with residential touches like canopy beds, elaborate art book collections, rare artworks and one-of-a-kind antiques woven throughout. It’s just the setting for your own awakening.