Elaine’s a Wynn-some advocate!

Mar 8, 2005 9:08 AM

As Wynn Las Vegas nears its much-anticipated opening (April 28), excitement is building for the entertainment offerings the world-class resort will showcase.

And just like he did with Mystere at Treasure Island and O at Bellagio, Steve Wynn could be ready to write a new chapter in the storied history of Las Vegas entertainment, according to his wife, Elaine Wynn.

"Steve is so creative ”¦ he can get inspired at the drop of a hat," Elaine Wynn told GamingToday. "If he hears a song or sees an image or he meets someone who he thinks is talented, he may say, ”˜Come on down and let’s talk about some ideas, I’ll back you and let’s collaborate and see what we can do.’"

She said that’s what happened with the Cirque du Soleil productions of Mystere and O. "No one was prepared to give those boys the kind of money Steve gave them," Wynn said. "When we heard what they could do — they had been negotiating with Caesars for almost a year — we saw their show in Santa Monica and loved it. Steve went somewhere else and talked to them."

As many people know, Steve Wynn can be persuasive and hard to resist. "The rest is history," Wynn said. "It was done on a handshake."

The Mystere theater at Treasure Island was Cirque’s first free-standing theater, Wynn said. "They didn’t have the restrictions of a tent and of course we spent a hundred million dollars on the O theater at Bellagio," she said.

As with most of the amenities at Wynn Las Vegas, little has been released about its entertainment offerings.

Producer Franco Dragone, who helped create Celine Dion’s show at Caesars Palace, is producing a show that will be performed in the round in a domed theater with water surrounding all sides of the audience.

A second theater is currently being built for the Tony Award-winning Best Musical "Avenue Q," which should debut in fall 2005. It will be the only place, besides Broadway, to see the savvy, sassy and funny musical production, Wynn said.

"The Avenue Q theater is being built for this show, but it will be more multi-purpose so that it can also be used for other purposes," Wynn said.

Wynn said the new resort’s entertainment offerings should reinforce Las Vegas’ emergence as a world capital of performing arts.

"New York is clearly more limited," she says, "because of the real estate situations, the expense of the square footage. They cramp them into these teeny, tiny chairs with no legroom whatsoever. It is an uncomfortable experience. The prices are not inexpensive. The staging is limited to what they can do in these old antiquated theaters.

"Here in Las Vegas, we pop out these hundred-million-dollar theaters and no one bats an eye," she continued.

Even the famous Shakespearean theaters in London have nothing on Vegas, she said.

"Where are they going to get the money to (build them)?" she said. "They don’t have casinos and they don’t have a public that wants to be taxed for it."

MGM’s CityCenter
on track

The CityCenter project — MGM Mirage’s next significant contribution to the Las Vegas Strip —is probably three months away from the first announcements concerning retail partners, tenants and the 4,000-room hotel that will anchor the development on 66 acres between Bellagio and the Monte Carlo, according to MGM Mirage President Bobby Baldwin.

"CityCenter is now a full-blown project," said Baldwin, who is the senior company official in charge of the effort that will produce a higher density of commercial and residential components than previously seen in Las Vegas.

Baldwin has turned over the presidency of the Bellagio hotel to former Mirage boss Bill McBeath as Baldwin now applies himself to the requirements of CityCenter.

Even though the project won’t be completed for four or five years, insiders say the high-density approach to land usage may be expanded to adjacent property in the future.

"MGM Mirage planners will find a way to integrate all the properties and acreage along the one mile of Strip frontage between Tropicana and Flamingo," the insider said.