Thursday, July 27, 2023


On the next "Chicks you don't want to break up with:"

I think there’s been more talk about this show since it opened than any other Vegas show in memory.
  Good or bad, people are talking about Awakening.

We saw the show in late February 2023, when we were in town for the Half Marathon and 360 Vegas Winter Vacation.

Before we get to the review, let’s talk about how Wynn got here.  When the resort opened in 2005, it opened with the production show La Reve. Like Awakening, La Reve had its share of problems.  Developed by Franco Dragone from Cirque, who Steve Wynn poached from Cirque.  Dragone was instrumental in developing Mystere and “O” for Wynn at Treasure Island and Bellagio. The sort-of Steve Wynn biography “Winner Takes All” talks about the mixed reactions to La Reve in the beginning, including bewildering acts like pregnant women falling from the ceiling during the show.  We almost saw Le Reve in July of 2020, but shows weren’t cleared to reopen, and our front row seats were refunded to us. Permanent closure of La Reve was announced Aug 14, 2020.

Complete with giant mythical forest creatures!

Wynn announced Awakening  in October, 2022.  The show was developed by Bernie Yuman, Baz Halpin, and puppeteer Michael Curry.  Theater aficionados might recognize Michael Curry’s puppet work from The Lion King Broadway production. Awakening opened November 7, 2022 but closed briefly for a few weeks for rehearsals/changes in January. The show closed again April 17, ‘22, and at the time of this writing is scheduled to reopen Friday, June 23.

So you want my opinion?  I think this is a really good show. It has a unique story and great visuals, which include fantastic costumes, innovative puppets, and a state of the art stage.

The story is like nothing I’ve seen on a Vegas stage. It has its own mythology, and the groundwork for the story set up in the prologue. (I believe the prologue was added after the January hiatus, and the addition of this prologue has cleared up a lot of confusion around the story that surrounded the show’s brief first run.)  Essentially, the story goes: Light and Dark are lovers, and together create Magic. Light leaves, Dark freaks out, and Dark imprisons Magic. Custody battles suck. Heroine “IO” sneaks into Black and White ball that Dark is holding in a sort of heist. IO finds Magic, and ends up on a quest to unite Dark and Light, and free Magic.  Together with her companions, she travels through multiple “realms,” like Water, Earth, Air, and Fire.

The Awakening theater is gorgeous. It is a theater in the round, so there are really no bad seats.  At the time I saw the show, Wynn charged the most for seats in the back, presumably because you can see it all better?  (A look at ticket prices for the June reopening indicates that this is not the case in the future.) There are individual surround sound speakers at each seat, so every seat has great audio.  Seats are also quite comfortable.
Have you heard the word?

The stage itself is a technological marvel.  It is constantly changing levels in sections to create different environments. The stage floor is translucent, and underlit, for additional effects.  Michael Curry’s puppets - the word “puppet” seems way too insignificant for his creations - are incredible. Personal favorites include a giant whale that seems to swim above you, and a rock creature that comes alive on the stage.  Of particular note is the creepy blank-face dark creature that serves as Dark’s chief henchman.  The show makes full use of the theater space, so the story feels like it plays out everywhere, not only are you looking side to side, but up and down as well.

Audience Fuckery Factor: Zero.  No one's messing with you, so sit back and just enjoy the show.

Not sure if drinks were allowed in the theater. No drink service during show, but there was a bar in the theater lobby.

When the show resumes on June 23, showtimes are set for 7 and 9:30 pm. Shows are Tuesdays through Saturdays, dark Sundays and Mondays. Tickets start at $99 on

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