Phantom Opening Night Gala in Vegas
From the moment you check in, you can hear the score of the longest running musical being piped through the hotel lobby. Then you are handed your room key which has PHANTOM splashed all over it. Enter the casino where the music continues to play and, on your way to the elevator, as you flash your PHANTOM key to security, you pass by the PHANTOM Gift Shop (to end all gift shops) where you can find something for everyone who loves The Phantom of the Opera.
The hotel itself is beautiful, with everything you could possibly need or want, including multiple pools, a Canyon Ranch Spa, a salon, restaurants galore, nightclubs, stores and multiple theatres. If you like to gamble, you can even find blackjack tables newly felted with the famous Phantom mask logo and, of course, gambling chips to match.
You will no doubt find yourself humming every song from The Phantom of the Opera involuntarily, as was everyone, and it would be humorous, were it not that you realize just how well-known this score is across the globe.
Entering the theatre at the Venetian for the gala opening night was an event in itself. Red capret, paparazzi and in attendance were many New Yorkers who made the trek, including the show's producers, representatives from the Shubert Organization and the Wasser Office (Alan Wasser, Robert Nolan, Steve Schnepp) and others. The Venetian production of the Cameron Mackintosh / The Really Useful Theatre Company Musical is also being presented by The Really Useful Theatre Company, Live Nation and Base Entertainment (Brian Becker and Scott Zeiger). Notable people in the audience included Carol Burnett, who collaborated with Mr. Prince on Hollywood Arms, Linda Lavin, who worked with Mr. Prince on It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman. Robert Goulet and his wife Vera, the show's choreographer Gillian Lynne, Lord Lloyd Webber, Peter Brown, Charles Hart, David Caddick, three time Tony-winner Hinton Battle, Las Vegas Hairspray's Corny Collins Kevin Spirtas, William Morris' Clint Mitchell, Marty Bell, Marty Erlichman, Richard Jay-Alexander, Las Vegas General Manager Michael Gill, Siegfried Fischbacher, Jerry Mitchell, David Zippel, Roy Horn, Sheldon G. Adelson and Miriam Adelson, Clint Holmes, David Ian, Randall Mays, Bernie Yuman, Rita Rudner and Bill Weidner, among others.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the evening was that, as the show is double cast (they do 10 performances a week) I kept wanting to know who would open. I couldn't find out and I thought that people were being coy, when in reality, how the decision was made actually appeared on the front page of our opening night's program. It read as follows: