The Phantom of the Opera Is A Las Vegas - Spooktacular
Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera is the longest-running show in Broadway history. There have been more than 65,000 performances in twenty countries, and its popularity escalated with the opening at the Venetian Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
The Phantom makes his
Spectacular appearance in Vegas.
There are two factors that make the Las Vegas production of The Phantom of the Opera distinctively different from previous productions.
First, there is the $40 million dollar Phantom Theater, designed as a permanent home for the musical by architect David Rockwell of the Rockwell Group. Renowned for The Kodak Theater in Hollywood, and the W New York and W Union Square Hotels in Manhattan, Rockwell transformed what had been a Guggenheim museum space into an 1,800 seat state-of-the-art theater with unobstructed sightlines and a vibrant, acoustically balanced sound system.
Operatic Love Gone Awry.
Red brocade seats with rich dark wood armrests provide a comfortable old world ambiance. A live orchestra is playing“ a rare treat in a town where pre-recorded orchestras are more the rule than the exception. Moving backwards in time the audience finds themselves inside the Paris Opera House. The walls have been draped with gray storage fabric to create a sense of theatrical tombs. Light steam rises from the back of the stage. Looking up at the high domed ceiling one sees three, unconnected sections of the famous chandelier, the ingenious, enormously expensive prop that connects viewers with the Phantom.
Then, slowly, almost imperceptibly, the gray fabric is pulled back to reveal part of a woman in a second floor box. Intrigue becomes theatrical magic when the show begins, and the gray fabric is pulled all the way back. Suddenly, there is another audience“ dozens of elegantly clad manikins dressed in period costume are watching from second floor boxes. They look startlingly real, as if they have been frozen in time.
But Christine Loves Raoul.
The second notable difference between the Las Vegas production and all others is that the musical has been trimmed to 95 minutes without an intermission. Not one of the famous songs has been eliminated, and the integrity of the original production remains intact.
Directed by twenty-time Tony Award winner Harold Prince, the story moves quickly and tenderly. To insure the success and continuity of performances six nights a week the roles of The Phantom, Christine, and Carlotta have been double-cast. I had the pleasure of seeing Brent Barrett, a veteran stage and opera performer playing the Phantom. He has starred on Broadway in "Chicago" and "Annie Get Your Gun".
Tony Award winner Anthony Crivello, known for his roles on Broadway in 'Kiss of the Spider Woman" and "Les Miserables", plays the Phantom on alternate nights.
Elena Jeanne Batman
I saw Sierra Boggess in the role of Christine. Her beautiful voice was complimented by a sense of innocence, love for the Vicomte de Chagny, and empathy for the Phantom, her deformed musical mentor. Elizabeth Loyacano whose Broadways credits include "Oklahoma" and "The Woman in White" alternates with Boggess.
Operatic diva Carlotta is played by Elena Jeanne Batman who comes direct from the role on Broadway, and Geena Jeffries Mattox, from the San Francisco production.
Tim Martin Gleason, another veteran of the Broadway show is a convincing Vicomte de Chagny. His voice conveys the sincerity of deeply held emotions.
Produced by The Really Useful Theatre Company, Inc., Live Nation and BASE Entertainment, The Phantom of the Opera features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart, additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe, the book by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber, and orchestrations by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lord Andrew has a sixth sense for combining a classic story with emotional truths and setting them to music that lingers from generation to generation.
It must be noted that Tony Award winner Andrew Bridge’s lighting design helps facilitate mood variations and drama that make this production especially poignant. Sound designers Mick Potter and Martin Levan acoustically trigger events throughout the large venue. Costume designer Sue Willmington juxtaposes the dark, conservative elegance of evening clothes with bright, sexy theatrical costumes. There are even a few scantily clad Parisian dancers to add a touch a Las Vegas pizzazz.
There are many reasons The Phantom of the Opera is the most successful musical of all time. The story is compelling, the music is absolutely thrilling, enhanced by, at times, a thundering sound system.
The staging, choreography and theatrics leave an indelible imprint. If you have already seen The Phantom of the Opera you will enjoy revisiting the show in its latest $75 million dollar incarnation. If you have never seen Phantom or your children haven't seen it, this is an ideal opportunity.
The Phantom of the Opera plays at the Venetian Hotel and Casino Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 7 and 10 p.m., and Sunday and Thursday at 7 p.m. Tickets are available by calling the Venetian box office at 866-641-7469 or 702/414-7469, or online at www.Venetian.com
Group tickets are available for 15 or more by calling 866-633-0195. Seats are: $157, $132, $107, and $82. For more information visit the office website: www.phantomlasvegas.com
— Feature by Linda Lane, Las Vegas Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent; cast photos by Joan Marcus.