Recipe for ‘WOW’ com­bines wa­ter, dry in­gre­di­ents


Tshow is billed as a wa­ter spec­tac­u­lar, but it’s not all wet. “The wa­ter is more like an el­e­ment of the show,” said its di­rec­tor, Hanoch Rosenn .“I wouldn’t call it a wa­ter show, per se. It’s an el­e­ment in the show, but many acts are dry.”

“Many Acts Are Dry!” might not be the best bill­board, but it’s handy in­for­ma­tion as “Wow”pre­pares for its splashy (sorry) de­but at the Riosept. 26. The show in­cor­po­rates spe­cialty acts from more than 30 in­ter­na­tional ac­ro­bats. Ver­sions of “WOW” have been per­formed over­seas for 15 years, most re­cently at the lux­ury Is­ro­tel The­atre in Ei­lat, Is­rael.

The show cer­tainly boasts am­ple fi­nan­cial back­ing, hav­ing sold more than 2.5 mil­lion tick­ets dur­ing its im­pres­sive in­ter­na­tional run.

For “WOW” (short for “World of Won­der”), the old “Rock in Rio” and “Duck Com­man­der Mu­si­cal” theater is be­ing over­hauled to cre­ate a largely in-the-round ex­pe­ri­ence, with a 1,000-square­foot pool and LED screens run­ning the en­tire width of the stage.

The “Duck Com­man­der” pro­ducer, Dodger Theatri­cals, re­port­edly spent $1 mil­lion re­vamp­ing the space for the show. Rosenn said the “WOW” in­vest­ment eas­ily ex­ceeds that amount.

For a Ve­gas-cen­tric ref­er­ence point, Rosenn is to this pro­duc­tion as Guy Lal­ib­erté was to the orig­i­nal ver­sions of Cirque du Soleil. Lal­ib­erté started Cirque when he was a street per­former in Que­bec City in Canada; Rosenn started his ca­reer as a mime in Jerusalem, his home­town. In fact, Rosenn’s skills earned him the nick­name “The Prince of Mimes.” (In a loose con­nec­tion, the real Prince head­lined the Rio show­room in 2006-‘07).

Rosenn no longer has time for mime — but his ex­pe­ri­ence makes him an es­pe­cially ef­fec­tive di­rec­tor of the show’s many unique acts. “I am pas­sion­ate about per­for­mance,” he says. “I feel the en­ergy in the room, even now, of what is go­ing to hap­pen in here.”

One of his fa­vorite acts is Sylvia Sylvia, the semi­fi­nal­ist from “Amer­ica’s Got Tal­ent” fa­mous for shoot­ing an ap­ple off her own head — a core per­for­mance not achieved overnight.

“She has done her act for 30 years, and it lasts 15 min­utes,” Rosenn said. “This is what she does, and when she shoots that ap­ple off her head, it is fright­en­ing.”

Rosenn scouted “Le Rêve” and “O” as he pitched “WOW” to Cae­sars En­ter­tain­ment ex­ecs: “We have seen both, and Franco Dragone (creator of “Le Rêve”) is just bril­liant,” Rosenn says. “With ‘O,’ we saw it 15 years ago and had no idea how the hell they did some of the acts that show.

It’s amaz­ing with the stage, and all the divers. But we’re not com­pet­ing with a $100 mil­lion-dol­lar pro­duc­tion. This is a fam­ily-friendly show so peo­ple can come and have a re­ally dif­fer­ent and in­ti­mate ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Acts in­clude a dance num­ber with pirates, syn­chro­nized swim­mers, jug­glers, a Chi­nese pole duo, five dancers per­form­ing to a “Ti­tanic” theme (and gosh, we miss “Ju­bilee”), a con­tor­tion­ist in a gi­ant wa­ter bowl, and a danc­ing trib­ute to “Sin­gin’ in the Rain.”

“We have acts that last for just 4 min­utes but have been brought to per­fec­tion in that 4 min­utes,” Rosenn says. “The show is quick and re­ally moves along. It has po­etic mo­ments, and there is laugh­ing, fun, danc­ing. If you like this num­ber, good. If you don’t, there is an­other num­ber com­ing right up.”

When asked the magic ques­tion all Las Ve­gas show pro­duc­ers face — Why would a tourist, or a lo­cal, choose “WOW” over the city’s many ex­ist­ing en­ter­tain­ment op­tions? — Rosenn didn’t hes­i­tate.

“If some­body’s com­ing here look­ing for an 85-minute show that is fast-paced and full of cos­tume changes and danc­ing and ac­ro­bat­ics, this is the show,” he said. “There are many times that per­son will say, ‘Wow!’ He’s go­ing to say that at least 10 times.”

John Katsilometes’ col­umn runs daily in the A sec­tion. Con­tact him at jkat­silometes@ re­viewjour­ Fol­low @john­nykats on Twit­ter, @ John­nykats1 on In­sta­gram.

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Ba­gans of “Ghost Ad­ven­tures” puts his col­lec­tion of creepy ar­ti­facts on dis­play at the Haunted Mu­seum.

5. Strong thun­der­storm brings hail to west­ern Las Ve­gas Val­ley

Light­ning lit the sky Wed­nes­day evening as a thun­der­storm passed through the Las Ve­gas Val­ley, dump­ing light hail into some ar­eas. As of 9 p.m. Thurs­day:

1. Zak Ba­gans wants you to visit the spir­its in his Haunted Mu­seum

Zak Ba­gans’ Haunted Mu­seum will be brought to life Oc­to­ber 2.

Ba­gans is set to open The Haunted Mu­seum in early Oc­to­ber in down­town Las Ve­gas.

2. World’s first em­ployee-owned brothel?

A group of pros­ti­tutes soon could be co-own­ers of a legal brothel in Nye County.

3. Las Ve­gas po­lice brief­ing on Michael Ben­nett de­tain­ment

Metro held a press con­fer­ence that dis­cussed Seat­tle Sea­hawks’ de­fen­sive end Michael Ben­nett’s de­tain­ment.

John Katsilometes

Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal “WOW” show di­rec­tor Hanoch Rosenn on Sept. 1 at the pro­duc­tion’s show­room at the Rio.

WOW Show Ve­gas Mem­bers of the cast of “WOW” at the Rio. The show, which is billed as a wa­ter spec­tac­u­lar, opens Sept. 26.

Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal Light­ning strikes over the Las Ve­gas Val­ley on Wed­nes­day.

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