WGI has learnt that Melco Resorts & Entertainment has from Sunday begun to reluctantly let go of 137 Macau blue card holders from the House of Dancing Water (HODW) after further extending closure of the popular resident show. Melco expects the show to remain dark through most of 2021 as a result of the worldwide pandemic.
Melco revealed in June it was shutting down HODW for six months until January 2021 due to the impact of COVID-19, taking the opportunity instead to “reimagine” the show and introduce new technologies to the theater, located at flagship Cotai property City of Dreams.
However, with COVID-19 continuing to impact international travel, the show will now remain closed for the next “several months,” Melco said in a statement, leaving the company with no choice but to let go of a significant number of HODW staff and performers.
“It is with a very heavy heart that we see amazing talent leave,” said Melco’s Chief Operating Officer, Macau Resorts, David Sisk. “We are very grateful for our colleagues continued efforts and for having been willing to stay with the show during these difficult times.
“We thank each of them individually for their contributions, and trust they will leave with the belief that the show is a very significant part of their careers and that during this time their commitment has been truly recognized and retributed by the company. We sincerely wish them all the best in their future endeavors.”
World Gaming Insight understands 137 blue card holders will be told from today that their contracts will not be renewed, and that Melco is assisting those affected with travel arrangements back to their home countries.
Another nine blue card holders plus 57 locals will stay on board to maintain and operate the theater.
Melco said the inability of the show’s creator and director, Franco Dragone, to travel to Macau was a key reason for the extended closure but has confirmed its commitment to debut a new-look HODW once the global recovery from COVID-19 allows for international travel to resume.
“The global pandemic has created a situation that is very difficult for all of us, seeing talent leave greatly saddens me,” said Dragone.
“No words can express how grateful I am for all the people that have taken part in the show. It is for all of us the experience of a lifetime. I am very hopeful that we can come to Macau to bring back a reimagined House of Dancing Water.”