Producers for “Awakening” continually asked audience members what was right, and what was wrong, about the production.
Then they did something about it.
Due to return June 30, “Awakening” performed a tighter version of itself Tuesday afternoon at the Wynn. This was such an exclusive audience, we could have carpooled to the hotel in Bernie Yuman’s Corvette.
We can report, even at this larval point of the show’s retooling, “Awakening” is reaching to the general public with ticket discounts (stating at $99, not including fees).
The show opens with a swift monologue explaining the characters Darkness and Light, and giving us an opening to care about their plight.
Two characters, Boo and Bandit, have been re-imagined (or re-awakened) as comic clowns. The creative team, led by Baz Halpin, is thoughtfully responding to audience feedback. Those exiting the performance have reported back that the show needs some brevity. Those characters pop up intermittently, talking funny, acting funny, in the show to lighten the mood.
Michael Curry’s puppetry is still prominent. Mandy Moore’s choreography, George Tsypin’s set designs and Soyon An’s costume artistry are intact. Bryan Tyler has created new music. “There’s No One Like Me,” is unleashed in the Water Realm sequence, grabs and holds your attention.
And legendary actor Anthony Hopkins is reworking his voiceover, to match the show’s quickened pace. Bringing back a two-time Oscar winner to re-record his narration shows the production’s commitment, and confidence that Hopkins would agree to do it.
“Awakening” has been down April. But there is light in the dark. The show is organizing its ample talent and technology, and acting on its own audience’s directives. It deserves credit, and a real shot at success.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.