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Arts 297

Published on February 5th, 2009 | by Greg

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Fireworks and Chandeliers — The Vegas "Phantom" Experience

Las Vegas was a place I hated before I even visited. In general it’s a place that people like me hate. Sure it’s rather visually stimulating, but it always seemed to lack a discernment between flash and substance, between imported and home-grown culture. The people that vacation in Vegas make jokes like, “So, you’re from France? You must feel right at home in the Paris casino then.” (Actual witnessed attempt at a joke.) And the idea of seeing Phantom of the Opera in Vegas instead of the artistically edgier New York or the more authentic London (composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is English) seemed somewhat counterintuitive.

Except for one thing: Vegas is awesome. Put a place in the middle of desert and pump all your money into flash and you get ridiculous water fountains, free pirate shows, and Venetian canals. Why? Because you can, apparently.

Vegas’ Phantom of the Opera is just like Vegas itself. It’s not like watching your typical refined musical beautifully performed, it’s like being on the set of a movie and feeling the heat of every explosion, the splash of the lapping water, and worrying about the stuntmen making it through all right. With Phantom of the Opera, Vegas did what it does best — it poured lots of money into it until “over the top” didn’t seem like an adequate adjective anymore.

And “over the top” does fall short. From the massive chandelier that falls down into the audience, to the underground lake the Phantom steers his boat through, to the superbly-decorated auditorium — redesigned and outfitted specifically for this show — the set design blows away pretty much anything we’ve seen on a stage before.

The lead actors were obviously of a high caliber with strong vocals and solid performances. The costumes had flair. The story was moving, if cut a bit short at 95 minutes. However, had the Venetian’s version of Phantom of the Opera possessed none of those qualities, it would still rank up there as one of the most incredible theater experiences… and quintessentially Vegas. Tickets start at $68, and the show runs nightly (except for Sundays).


About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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