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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Phantom of the Opera goes Vegas

Broadway's longest running show will be revamped for the Las Vegas casino crowd.

He's keeping his brooding to under 95 minutes, and disappearing amid fiery blazes. Sparks now shoot out of his sleeves, the chandelier is even more unruly and the fog machine is cranked up full blast.

This is "Phantom — The Las Vegas Spectacular."

After more than 65,000 performances in 24 countries, the longest-running show in Broadway history has gone under the knife. It will emerge Saturday as a trimmed-down, amped-up version tailored to suit casino audiences who have dinners to eat and slot machines to play.

"Spectacular" is just the latest, and likely the priciest, attempt to translate a Broadway hit for Las Vegas Strip visitors, an endeavor that has enjoyed only mixed success. But "Phantom" backers say they're not dealing with a Broadway show, they're dealing with the strongest "brand" in live entertainment — and now they've "added value."


Costs for the new production topped $75 million, including $40 million for a lavish, 1,800-seat replica of the Paris Opera House constructed inside The Venetian hotel-casino. Co-producers Live Nation and BASE Entertainment, spin-offs of Clear Channel Entertainment, and The Venetian foot the massive bill, nearly eight times the average cost of mounting a Broadway musical.

Technically, there's less show, or at least running time, for the money. Nearly an hour of transitions and some character development have been eliminated. The phantom composer, his coveted soprano and the temperamental chandelier all made the cuts, deemed necessary to accommodate Las Vegas' unwritten no-intermission rule.

Lloyd Webber insists that nothing was lost and only "breathtaking" special effects were gained. "The piece is the piece," he said.


The chandelier took up nearly $5 million of the "Spectacular" budget. It shakes, splits apart and falls so quickly that a warning to audiences is posted in the theater lobby.
Mostly thanks to the influence of my wife, I've become a fan of broadway musicals. Phantom has always been too long in my opinion. Webber musicals frequently have that problem, Sunset Blvd, Whistle Down the Wind are two others. The music either drags in the 2nd half or becomes lackluster. Phantom was a case of the later.

The changes being made to the show make me think Phantom will no longer be Phantom. Just a loud special effects show. Just my opinion, but the new Phantom will do well in Vegas but in the process lose the show's soul. All for money I guess but that's show biz.

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