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Author Topic: Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular - July 16, 2012  (Read 1008 times)
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« on: July 21, 2012, 07:04:03 PM »

My first day in Las Vegas was quite busy, catching up with errands, etc.. I decided to end the day with a show, so I opted for the late showing (9:30PM) of Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular. I had always wanted to see the show, but never got around to it. So now that I had the opportunity, it seemed like a perfect time to do so. I was actually pretty lucky, since the show will end at the beginning of September, so I caught it during its closing weeks.

The Merchandise

Just like the Celtic Woman shows they have a fair bit of merchandise for sale. I don't remember all they were offering, I believe there were some fridge magnets and replicas of 'The Mask'. I decided to purchase one of the programs. It's printed on heavy paper, high gloss with a lot of photos, just like the CW program, but only costs $10. In addition they also have a professional photographer willing to take your picture (and your friends', if they came along) on one of the nearby staircases, just before the entrance to the auditorium, for a fee. This was a pretty 'glitzy' event and there were a lot of people in formal evening attire, so it was not uncommon for people to want to have their pictures taken to remember the night. In fact, The Venetian is one of the more 'glamorous' hotels on The Strip.

The Theatre

Phantom: TLVS was held in The Phantom Theatre at The Venetian Hotel. Despite my late ticket purchase I managed to get a fairly good seat, 2nd row, close to centre aisle. This theatre is dedicated to just The Phantom show, and nothing else. So when you walk in you see pieces of a massive chandelier spread thorough the ceiling, with the biggest piece dilapidated on the stage. There are a lot of dusty coverings on the balconies, as if the place had been run down for decades. There's actually a reason for this. The show opens with an auction at the old abandoned theatre (which we just happen to be in, almost making us a part of the show).

The show begins with the auction. This is a very slow, almost tiresome scene. But it is done on purpose, because when they auction the chandelier is when the show really begins.

When we get to the chandelier we are taken back in time. The massive piece on the stage floats up into the air, and the other three pieces, spread throughout the auditorium ceiling are also flying around. It's very hard to describe what you're seeing, but it's almost like 4 flying saucers coasting through the air at different angles, vectors and speeds. It's quite a magnificent scene, and one that apparently the Las Vegas show is famous for. Then the 4 pieces slowly begin to merge in the centre until they are finally concentric. Then as the four pieces join into one, the one piece is then 'plugged' into the hole in the ceiling. The whole thing lasts for a few minutes and is quite 'cool'.

In addition the coverings on the balcony come off and reveal wax figurines of theatre goers from a time long ago, watching the stage as if a show were being put on. In essence we have been transported back in time, a time when The Phantom haunted the auditorium.

I won't go through all the details of the songs, but here is a set list:

Prologue: The Stage of the Paris Opera House, 1911
Overture: Paris 1881 (This is the scene where we travel back in time)
Scene 1: The dress rehearsal of "Hannibal"
Scene 2: The gala ("Think of Me")
Scene 3: After the gala ("Angel of Music")
Scene 4: Christine's dressing room
Scene 5: The labyrinth underground ("The Phantom of The Opera")
Scene 6: Beyond the lake ("The Music of The Night")
Scene 7: Beyond the lake, the next morning
Scene 8: The managers' office
Scene 9: A performance of "Il Muto"
Scene 10: The roof of the opera house ("All I Ask of You")
Scene 11: The staircase of the opera house, New Year's Eve ("Masquerade")
Scene 12: The opera house stage, New Year's Eve
Scene 13: A graveyard ("Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again")
Scene 14: The opera house stage, before the premiere
Scene 15: "Don Juan Triumphant" ("The Point of No Return")
Scene 16: The opera house stage
Scene 17: The labyrinth
Scene 18: Beyond the lake

The show is about an hour and a half long, and is very entertaining. Some of the highlights include the chandelier scene (described earlier), a scene where there seemed to be some fireworks on the stage, a scene where they had some torches fire from the ground (and I was very surprised that I could feel the heat from these torches, kind of like when you use an acetylene torch, and I was a few feet from the stage) and a scene where The Phantom came floating down from some gargoyle angel from the ceiling while singing. All things considered, a very cool show.

There were only a few things I disagreed with. One thing, which I guess can't be helped, is that the actor chosen to play The Phantom was a man of small stature. He had a great voice, but a small build. The reason why this is a problem is that The Phantom is supposed to be a very physically strong character. In the story there is a point where The Phantom is supposed to overpower a stage hand and in less than a minute actually hangs him (don't worry, there are no gory scenes here, it's done behind a screen 'in shadow'). But stage hands are usually very strong people, and for a small man to overpower a stage hand and hang him, it doesn't strike me as too believable. But, as I said earlier, this can't really be helped.

What I did find a bit troublesome was the final scene, where The Phantom has Christine and Raoul trapped in his labyrinth. In the story, Christine pleads with The Phantom, and after some 'soul searching', or 'seeing the light', or something along those lines, The Phantom lets them go. In other words he comes to realize what he was doing was wrong, and lets them go.

In the Las Vegas version, Christine pleads with The Phantom, but also gives him two very passionate kisses. This is done for more of a shock effect; the idea of seeing a beautiful woman locking lips with a disfigured man, not just once, but twice, can certainly surprise one (The Phantom does not have his mask on at this point). So when The Phantom lets Christine and Raoul go, is it because of some inner goodness he has found in himself, or the 'sexual favours' he just received from Christine. Those two kisses somewhat skew the story. Not only does this make The Phantom look bad (as we can no longer be sure of his motivation for releasing her), it also makes Christine look bad (she now seems like a woman who will use her feminine wiles to get what she wants). She had also given two passionate kisses to Raoul in an earlier scene; and any woman giving 4 passionate kisses in 1881, is no 'lady', if you catch my drift. I know this small part of the scene will go unnoticed by most, but it does change the angle of the story.

Anyways, aside from these two 'glitches', I actually enjoyed it immensely. The music is great, and everyone loves flying saucers (I mean chandelier pieces  Wink)

Pictures to follow shortly.
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