Saturday, September 6, 2008


I really thought it would be remiss of me not to share with you my experience seeing the Phantom of the Opera on stage at the Venetian in Las Vegas last week. Let me first say, it was a blessing that I do not take lightly being able to attend. I realize that many of my readers may never have the opportunity to see the play in Vegas, and it is my hope by at least sharing it in this post you can see it through the eyes of your imagination.

The most striking first impression is the $40 million theatre that houses the production. When first seated, the walls are draped in curtains, as well as the outlined stage, with the auction items covered as usual. The chandelier is in pieces. One huge portion, of course, is covered on the stage for the opening scene, and the other four are precariously hanging from the middle of the domed ceiling in various areas over the orchestra section. When the overture begins, the curtains are pulled back to reveal the interior of the Opera Populaire – gilded gold and red. It is stunning and chilling, and you are transported into another world. The chandelier pulls together joined in the middle and hoisted up into the center of the dome, creating an impressive one-ton monstrosity of hand-strung crystals.

The costumes, actors, sets, special effects cannot be described in justice by my meager words. Trap doors, fireworks, lightening, fire, mist, etc. Nothing is spared to make the experience totally “spectacular.” The most outstanding sets were the facade of the Opera Populaire with fireworks and the Masquerade scene. The lair was breathtaking.

The major difference in the Vegas production is the shortened length from the original. The show runs 95 minutes, with no intermission. Some of the songs have been shortened, and one scene deleted – the rehearsal for Don Juan Triumphant. The other difference is the Phantom brings the chandelier down upon the audience at the end of the production, like in the movie, rather than in the middle. When it comes falling from the dome, it stops 10 feet above the audience’s head in the orchestra section. Quite the “rush” to say the least.

The orchestra was spectacular as well. The acoustics of the theatre did wonders for the music. Of course, I know you are wondering about the actors – the Phantom, Christine, and Raoul were quite good. Tony Award winner Anthony Crivello plays the Phantom. I must comment, however, that his reaction to Christine’s kiss was portrayed somewhat different than I expected – more with “shock” to the experience of his first encounter with compassion and a kiss than I have seen portrayed by other Phantoms.

Any disappointments? Yes, just one. The Point of No Return was shortened, the song was chopped, and the full version was not sung. Frankly, I feel that scene is so important to fully portray I felt slightly cheated on how quickly it passed.

Any surprised differences? Yes, Raoul is not threatened with hanging and no noose comes around his neck. A steel cage from beneath the floor comes up and traps him within - the cage filled with sharp spikes.

Any highlights? Yes, the Music of the Night! Does that scene and song ever disappoint? Totally awesome. I could have watched it a thousand times and never tired of the set or the Phantom's portrayal.

If you are ever fortunate to visit Vegas, I hope you will see the production. Looking for deals? I’ll be frank. I paid $169 a night for a 700 square foot suite and the two tickets to the show were free! Seating was fine – two rows behind the orchestra section and the chandelier fell 20 feet in front of me. It was an Internet special received via email, and I jumped at the opportunity. I encourage you to sign up at for special offers, if you are serious about ever going.

My confession? I was so enthralled, I went to the box office the next day and purchased another ticket and sat three rows from the stage. Thank goodness for credit cards! I couldn’t resist. After all, I pretty much eat, sleep, and dream this story, so why not enjoy every moment it affords me to see the production repeated. Now, I just have to pay the ticket off.

I truly hope the experience can be yours someday as well. As the Phantom said to Raoul, "...truly made my night."

UPDATE 12/6/08: I'm off to Vegas again. This time I will be seeing the Phantom Christmas night and have purchased the VIP experience that gives you a tour behind stage and an opportunity to meet the cast. That will truly make my night, and I will share my experience with you after my return. Happy Holidays to all.

UPDATE 12/27/08: I am back from my trip to Vegas over Christmas and am blessed! The VIP experience of the Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian Christmas night was absolutely wonderful. After the sold-out show, we were escorted downstairs to met Anthony Crivello, the Phantom, which was an absolute honor. His portrayal of the Phantom is unique and touching, and I found him to be a very kind and personable individual. After our group spoke with him for some time, received a gift, his autograph, and a picture taken together, two individuals gave us a backstage tour. I really wish that everyone could participate in the experience of seeing how this production works behind the scenes. Amazing and overwhelming are the only two words I can use to describe the mechanical workings underneath the stage and the sets above. There are not enough acolades I can give to give the cast and crew for working so hard in presenting this flawless touching production. The experience "truly made my night!"

Your obedient servant,
The Phantom’s Student

Order Lessons From the Phantom of the Opera in Paperback Here


Jennifer Skoff said...


I justed wanted to let you know I've been stalking your blog now for a while and just love it. You are so well-spoken and just a bunch of fun.

Your Friend and fellow phantom lover,

Jennifer Skoff

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your review on the Phantom in Vegas. I wrote to you before, requesting for you to leave your comments after you show the play. Iam so happy you enjoyed it so much. My daughter and I would love to go back and see again. I agree it was SPECTACULAR! Thanks again for the time you spend sharing your experiences with us. We enjoy them so much.

Anonymous said...

If you have the chance to see it in Vegas again, I highly recommend paying the extra money for the VIP tickets. They include a backstage tour after the show and a meeting with the Phantom.