Try as they might to be objective, it is the nature of the job that causes reviewers to be subjective. The response to a play, film, book or a piece of art or music is rooted in who the reviewer is. What is his or her life experience? Birthplace? Education? Etc?
That said, I have to admit that, although I’ve given very favorable reviews to lots of entertainment in Las Vegas, in my heart of hearts, the Broadway show is my favorite. That said, if you choose to read on, please be aware that you are going to read a review that can serve as a love letter to a breathtakingly amazing evening of pure theater magic and a note of frustration because such evenings will end September 2 when Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular plays for the last time at the Venetian.
Now, as has been said here over the last six years, the Las Vegas production is not one you will see anyplace else. It clocks in at 95 minutes and plays in a specially constructed theater that is, itself, a character in the show. Most notable, in 2009, when director Harold Prince came to town for Phantom Fan Week, he told the audience that, were he ever to do another production of the show he’d do it just like this, rather than the two-hour-15-minute version — plus a 15-minute intermission — that plays elsewhere.
Everything about Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular lives up to the show’s title. The audience at the Venetian literally becomes part of a 19th century audience in a opera house in Paris. The centerpiece chandelier breaks down into four parts, weighs 2,100 pounds and travels at 35 miles per hour. The scenery and costumes are art and the special effects are memorable. Truly spectacular.
But all that pales next to the performances, especially that of Anthony Crivello as the Phantom. He’s got a wonderful voice and not only sings beautifully, but his acting turns this grotesque shell of a man into a heartbreaking human being. It is glorious to behold.
Crivello is beautifully supported by Kristi Holden as Christine, Andrew Ragone as Raoul, Joan Sobel as Carlotta, Larry Wayne Morbitt as Piangi, Brianne Kelly Morgan as Meg Giry. Each is outstanding. The full orchestra, conducted by Jack Gaughan, adds immeasurably to the evening.
The paragraphs above constitute my love letter to this extraordinary show, the people who created it originally and those who recreate it each evening (except Sundays). If you read that, you’ll know that you surely know that the note of frustration mentioned above comes from the fact that that it is ending.
The closing of Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular does not leave the city bereft of entertainment. There are terrific performers and shows in residence here and visiting constantly. Las Vegas is a legitimate claimant to the title, “The Entertainment Capital of the World.” The problem is that, after Phantom closes, the city will be a lot less entertaining and one cannot imagine — even with wonderful shows already in the works — that the title will be easily won.
There are promo codes that may be applied to tickets now. They are available at http://www.phantomlasvegas.com/?gclid=CPHgwaCQqbACFUHDtgodPFPzWA
Special “Final Week Phan Tickets” include premium golden circle seating, plus, a gift bag containing Phantom merchandise including a commemorative poster autographed by the cast. $182, plus tax. Available at: http://www.phantomlasvegas.com/?gclid=CPHgwaCQqbACFUHDtgodPFPzWA