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Macao shows Las Vegas one way to open a theater

Updated April 23, 2020 - 10:42 am

“The House of Dancing Water” in Macao is a show that has followed similarly styled productions in Las Vegas, especially Cirque du Soleil shows. It’s easy to see why.

The production’s creator, Franco Dragone, even came from Cirque — he designed “Mystere” at Treasure Island and “O” at Bellagio — before breaking from the company to create Celine Dion’s “A New Day …” at Caesars Palace, followed by “Le Reve” at Wynn Las Vegas.

All of those shows predated “Dancing Water” at Macao’s City of Dreams resort. But the production has become an industry leader in the COVID-19 era, implementing a set of mandatory guidelines for ticket holders — and tickets are on sale this weekend.

Audiences are entering what the show describes as “a thoroughly disinfected environment.” The new safety measures include body-temperature screening when entering the theater, a mandatory requirement to wear a protective mask inside the theater, a modified seating arrangement, mandatory hand sanitization every two hours, and an advanced theater ventilation and air-purifying system.

Also, ticket buyers must agree to produce a “personal health declaration” before entering the show. The online document requires anyone who wants to buy a ticket, who has had contact with anyone confirmed to have COVID-19, to be cleared by the region’s coronavirus-response agency.

“Dancing Water” has, in effect, set a possible blueprint for Las Vegas shows to return to the stage. Producers have already reviewed the show’s provisions. SPI Entertainment CEO Adam Steck says he would “absolutely” follow the lead set by the Macao show.

Steck’s shows include Boyz II Men at the Mirage Theater; Human Nature at the Sands Showroom at The Venetian; and Australian Bee Gees, Hans Klok and “Thunder From Down Under” at Thunderland Showroom at Excalibur.

“We are prepared to do absolutely everything it takes to make sure we have a safe environment for our performers, our guests and our staff,” Steck said Wednesday. “If that means everyone wearing masks, staggered seating, sanitizer at every table, so be it.

“I think people will have lots of pent-up energy and want to come to Vegas when we can give a high level of assurance that they will be in a safe environment, which we are all hoping is sooner than later.”

“Le Reve,” the very show Dragone developed to compete with his Cirque creations, appears ready to enforce similar measures in a list of theater guidelines in the health and sanitation program the company posted Sunday.

Wynn Las Vegas specifies such measures as spaced seating, physical spacing of guests moving around the venue, reducing a show schedule reduced to one performance per night, and all seating and public areas being sanitized before and after every show. Guests will screened for temperatures above 100 degrees and will be required to wear masks.

The company plans to follow the Southern Nevada Health District and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Officials say they did not refer to the Macao production for their “Le Reve” plans. The aquatic production is on sale for June 1, a single show at 9:30 p.m.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats! podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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