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Could this BE any bigger? ‘Friends’ attraction coming to Las Vegas

Updated June 13, 2024 - 6:47 pm

Central Perk. Monica’s apartment. That fountain she and the others were always splashing around in during the opening credits.

Re-creations of those and other sets, along with original props and costumes, will be there for you, ready to fill up your Instagram, when “The ‘Friends’ Experience” opens this year at the MGM Grand.

A touring version has visited 22 cities in eight countries, but the Las Vegas attraction will be just the third permanent one, following the original location in New York and the one that will open this summer in London.

“Vegas really has everything that we look for in a new market in terms of audience, visitors, entertainment, attractions,” says Stacy Moscatelli, CEO of Original X Productions, which produces the attraction. “More than 40 million people visited Las Vegas last year, and we want to be an entertainment option for those guests.”

Other examples of what Moscatelli calls “the big hits” that visitors can expect from the series include re-creations of Chandler and Joey’s apartment and the narrow stairway in Ross’ apartment building, complete with a sofa wedged in it. “People love to re-enact (that scene),” Moscatelli says, “get a photo with their friends and scream ‘Pivot!’ at each other.”

The two-story attraction will dedicate part of its space to the four-episode arc in 1999 that brought the characters to Las Vegas, where Joey was supposed to have the lead role in a movie filming outside of town.

A version of the wedding chapel set where Ross and Rachel drunkenly married will be there, with the taxi Phoebe and Joey (and a hitchhiker) drove back to New York.

“We’ve got those kind of key things and a few others that we’ll be bringing that are Vegas-specific,” Moscatelli says.

That includes having a bit of Caesars Palace inside the MGM Grand.

When Joey’s movie ran out of money, he got a job at Caesars, where he wore a gladiator costume and posed for photos. A reproduction of that costume, though, will have to do.

“We have a decent amount of originals that we were able to secure through Warner Bros.’ archives team,” Moscatelli says, “but, unfortunately, they didn’t have that costume.”

“Friends” remains extraordinarily popular, even as it approaches the 30th anniversary of its debut, Sept. 22, 1994.

“Really, it’s just a fun time with friends and family,” Moscatelli says of the attraction. “People revisit ‘Friends,’ they revisit the ’90s. They get to create some of those scenes and moments from the show.”

“The ‘Friends’ Experience” is coming to The District at MGM Grand, near the arena, in a space that previously housed “CSI: The Experience” and “The Hunger Games: The Exhibition.” There’s no specific opening date, Moscatelli says, beyond “probably late fall.”

For updates, visit FriendsTheExperience.com/Vegas.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on X.

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