Even for a show that has been around for more than 13 years, there are a few firsts out there.
And for the first time, “Le Reve,” the aquatic spectacular at Wynn Las Vegas, is donating a single performance to a charity. Specifically, the show is teaming with the Southern Nevada Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The hotel is giving all proceeds from its 7 p.m. Sunday performance to the organization, which has 1,500 tickets in its clutches (for purchase, go to crowdrise.com).
The campaign hits home for an individual vital to the hotel’s entertainment department, yet typically out of the public eye. Wynn General Manager of Entertainment Operations Rick Gray has arranged for the event, and his inspiration is entirely personal. Gray’s daughter, Alexandra (known as “Zan,” a character in Lillian Hellman’s stage play “Little Foxes”) died of Hodgkins Lymphoma on Nov. 2, 2016.
Other members of the “Le Reve” production team, too, had suffered personal loss because of this particular disease. The idea actually arrived from “Le Reve” Stage Manager Samantha Caughron, whose partner is in remission from the disease.
Gray says he “took the idea upstairs” to stage the single-night benefit show of the hotel’s signature production. Wynn Las Vegas President Maurice Wooden and Chief Executive Officer Matt Maddox cleared the project.
“It’s a big ask, of the company,” Gray says. “It’s a big idea, but it’s a big need.”
Zan was interested in live entertainment, working at “Le Reve” as a costumer and pursuing her dream to be in the theater culture. Ever since her death, Gray and his wife, Tracy, have channeled their philanthropic to lymphoma fundraising causes. Wynn has myriad charitable outlets already, of course, “dozens of charities we support.”
“We have made such a big push this year, especially, in giving back to the community,” says Gray, who has navigated the many executive changes at Wynn Las Vegas over the past several months.
Nationally, the Lymphoma Society has invested more than $1.2 billion to research and treatment over the years. Whether the show that opened with Wynn Las Vegas will continue to support the cause depends largely on support Sunday night.
“We are hopeful, but we haven’t really had a chance to discuss it,” Gray says. “We’ll look at it after the fact. We have had some discussions that if it does take of, it can be an annual kind of thing. They Wynn Employee Foundation has so many charities we support, we’re not just wedded to the Lymphoma Society. We can look to other needs, too.”