The Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd Executive Vice President and Chief Creative and Brand Officer, Frederic Winckler, said today (Tuesday) that it was challenging to maintain The House of Dancing Water show with reduced audiences and that the suspension will serve to upgrade the production.
Melco Resorts announced in June that the production at its City of Dreams Cotai property will be temporarily suspended until January 2021, with a revamp to be conducted by creator Franco Dragone.
“The show is 10 years old and welcomed 6 million people, so it’s an opportunity for us to do a few things. One is to relook the show itself and reimagine it. We will be working with Franco [Dragone] on exactly that. It will still be the House of Dancing Water but a fresh new act, over what’s been developing in the past 10 years, while fixing some of the things that Franco wanted to work out,” Winckler stated today (Tuesday) during a G2E Asia Online Conference session today.
Winkler made the comments while responding to a Macau News Agency question after talking as a keynote speaker on the first session of the G2E Asia Online Conference focused on innovation under COVID-19 organised by Inside Asian Gaming and G2EAsia.
The water-based stage production was written and directed by Franco Dragone – known for his work with Cirque du Soleil – premiered in September 2010, with the complex 2,000-seat theatre with a 19 million litre pool built for an estimated US$250 million.
According to the Melco Resorts Vice President, the pause will also be an opportunity for Dragone, the shows artistic director, to upgrade the technology used in the large-scale production.
“Technology has moved on a huge amount in 10 years in theatre. Last year we did an US$14 million investment on the theatre itself, on its platforms, lighting […] We actually had to rework some scene areas because the lighting was so much better. So we will be taking that to the next level […] Franco has been working on it and will come here from the US,” he noted.
Winkler also maintained that the improved version will re-open in January of next year before the Chinese New Year holidays.
Reports have indicated that shortly after the announcement the suspension led to some 60 to 70 non-resident workers employed by the show to see their work contracts terminated or wages reduced, with some 160 previously employed as production staff, technicians and professional divers.
Most of the show’s staff labour contracts were transferred from the company previously in charge of the show, Dragone Macau Limitada, to TDAB Sociedade Unipessoal Limitada a company controlled by Melco last year.
Before the announced suspension the show continued on exhibition at the City of Dreams, as travel restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic greatly reduced the number of visitors coming to the city, with Winkler admitting that it was challenging for the show cast to be training regularly every week while performing to a smaller audience.
“To perform for a smaller audience is not very good. This is a complicated show that we have to keep on going […]. The cast needs to train at least once a week, and if they are training in front of an empty audience, it is not a show. We want to turn [the show’ into something fresh and exciting for everyone,” the Melco Resorts VP noted.