The Phantom of the Opera has found his new lair at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. From the moment you check in, you can hear the score of the longest running musical being piped through the hotel lobby. There is even a gift shop (located near the Casino) featuring Phantom items for Phantom Phans like moi.
|Brent Barrett (Phantom) and Elizabeth Loyacano (Christine)|
And wait until you enter the 1,800 seat playhouse designed to look like the l9th Century Opera Garnier in Paris, created to house the Phantom Spectacular. As composer Andrew Lloyd Webber stated on opening night, "It's a dream come true. We can do things here that we could never have done in any other context".
|Director Harold Prince with Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber at opening of "Phantom of the Opera" at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas|
Because there are two shows every evening, there are two casts performing in the $40 million dollar production. We were pleased to witness Anthony Crivello as the Phantom, and Elizabeth Loyacano as the delicate Christine. The entire cast is Broadway caliber, having starred in such hits as Chicago, Les Miserables and Annie Get Your Gun. And, since the production is directed by Harold Prince (A Little Night Music, Sweeny Todd, Evita, etc.) you can expect only the best. Although the show has been reduced to a 95 minute version, all of the songs are included. And you will get to see the famous chandelier rise and fall, as well as the other dazzling effects which thrilled audiences throughout the world.
|Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson (owners of the Venetian Hotel)|
At the opening night soirée the Venetian's main ballroom was transformed into a crimson opera house, abloom with 5,000 roses. Joining Andrew Lloyd Webber and Director Hal Prince was comedy icon Carol Burnett, Sheldon & Dr. Miriam Adelson (owners of the Venetian) and Robert Goulet to name a few. Even Roy Horn (along with his partner Sigfried) joined the audience in a standing ovation to the Phabulous Phantom.
While at the Venetian, there is another special attraction you should not miss, and her name is Miss Roxy MCPherson. Roxy, who is the talented niece of Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. (Fifth Dimension) has been their Mistress of Ceremonies for many years, and runs all the slot and video poker tournaments. Her personality, positive attitude, and professionalism are infectious. Even if you don't win - you are a winner if you meet Roxy. Since we recently celebrated July 4th, I thought this photo of her as Miss Liberty was appropriate. What better way to celebrate our Nation's Birthday than a visit to the Phantom and Miss Liberty at the same time?
|Roxy McPherson (as Miss Liberty)|
Along with 400 friends and family, we attended a second Memorial Service for super agent Jay Bernstein at Paramount Studios. Farrah Fawcett, who was with Jay when he died, was not present, as she was in Texas, visiting her Dad who had open heart surgery. However, Susan Sommers, who credits her show biz success to him, held up the fort, and even sang "Bye Bye Baby" (Jays favorite song).
|Marci & the Phantom, at local L.A. performance of "Phantom of the Opera"|
The hit of the evening was a superbly edited film about Jay's life and loves, featuring Stacey Keach, who starred as Mike Hammer in the TV series produced by Bernstein. Kudos to Westside resident, Bob Williams, who had been a pal of Jay's since childhood. Bob is producing Branson Jubilee, a TV variety show hosted by Jimmy Osmond, that begins airing this week on PBS. Recent guest stars include John Schneider, Fabian and Jack Jones. You'll hear more about this in a later edition of the Hollywood Beat.