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Monday, September 3, 2012

Pharewell: The End of Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular

Two years ago, in October of 2010, I saw the movie "The Phantom of the Opera" (2004, Joel Schumacher directed). I fell in love with the story and, quite honestly, have been a bit obsessed with it ever since. (I even wrote my own version of "what happens next" - (shameless plug http://www.scribd.com/wfillmore).

Tonight I had the distinct honor of attending the final performance of "Phantom" at the Venetian Hotel here in Las Vegas. It was my third time seeing it, and I'm truly sorry that it will be my last. 

The show was billed as a spectacular, and spectacular it was. From the assembly of the four-piece chandelier during the overture to the fireworks at the beginning of "Masquerade"; from the misty boat ride and huge candelabras rising out of the floor to Raoul's jump into the mist and disappearing through that floor; from Christine's high notes in "Think of Me" and "The Phantom of the Opera" to the Phantom's final "It's over now..." - the whole production was breath-taking, even the third time around. 


Being the final night, the cast were free to be a little more over-the-top than usual. Piangi got almost as much applause for his one-word line (Amateurs!), as he followed Carlotta out (after her ...this thing does not happen! Ubaldo, andiamo!), as the chandelier got during the overture; and he made the most of it. (You go, Larry!). So did Raoul and Christine as they kissed far longer than usual at the end of "All I Ask of You". (woo hoo!).  The night was full of such wonderful moments as these, making it that much more special to be there for their final performance.

My heartfelt thanks to Zach, a member of phantomoftheopera.com, who sold me his extra ticket to the show. I had an amazing time and it was such a pleasure to meet you!

Another member of that site has posted their own farewell to the show here: http://iamerik771.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-end-of-era.html/   This blog post says it all, and says it much better than I can, so please feel free to pop on over and give it a read.

I really wish I could come up with something really witty or profound to say about the closing of the show. This ninety minute version with the incredible chandelier effects deserves no less. Instead, I'll just have to say thank you to the entire company for three of the best nights of my life (well, within the last two years, at least ;-) ). 

Oh, and the icing on the cake was meeting Andrew Ragone after the show. He was gracious enough to stop and talk to fans, take pictures, and sign autographs on his way out. Those who know me know that Raoul is my favorite Phantom character by far (ever since I first saw Patrick Wilson portray the Vicomte in the 2004 movie version), so it was the perfect ending to a perfect evening. Thank you, sir!


Me - corner of "Masquerade" stair case