Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012 | 10:51 p.m.
- Anthony Crivello, Mark Curry
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The Phantom is vanishing, this time for good.
“Phantom -- the Las Vegas Spectacular,” one of Las Vegas’ finest and most lavish production shows over the past five years, is closing Sept. 2.
The show’s company was told tonight in a meeting with BASE Entertainment co-Chief Executive Officer Scott Zeiger at the Venetian, where the show opened in June 2006.
The show’s lead was resigned that the decision was purely business.
“I’ll tell you, there was talk about us closing after a year or two, but we kept on going,” said Anthony Crivello, who played the title role throughout the show’s run, swapping the lead role with Brent Barrett the first year and taking it solo after. “It is a credit to Scott Zeiger that we held on for as long as we were in tough economic times, around the world and in Las Vegas.”
For at least the past couple of years, producers renegotiated union contracts to keep the show profitable. In June, marking the show’s fifth anniversary, Zeiger expressed confidence in the show’s performance.
“First and foremost, from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Hal Prince all the way to the associate choreographer and dance captain, the show is in great shape,” Zeiger said at the time. “The quality is still at a pinnacle. Any concierge or ticket broker in Las Vegas can recommend this show and be confident that whoever they are recommending it to is going to be highly entertained.”
The shortened, special effects-laden show was widely praised by critics and show-goers. Just this week, contestants of the 2012 Miss America Pageant watched a performance.
In a statement issued tonight, Zeiger said, “All involved are very proud of the success that 'Phantom' has achieved here in Las Vegas at the Venetian. Since opening night, critics and fans alike have recognized this production of 'Phantom' is unlike any they have ever seen, or will ever see again. We’ve had a triumphant run by any measure.”
Zeiger was traveling after giving the performers, musicians, stagehands and ushers the news and unavailable for further comment.
Tony Award winner Crivello, who has lived in Las Vegas during the show’s run, said he recognized the tough economic climate for top-end shows as recently as the past few months.
“It is becoming tougher and tougher and is getting more and more competitive,” he said. “You look at ‘Viva Elvis’ (closing this year at Aria) and ‘The Lion King’ (which closed in December at Mandalay Bay), there are so many parameters that come into play for shows to succeed. But it is a question of diminishing returns. The show tightened its belt for as long as it could without dropping in quality.”
“Phantom” is the third show to announce its departure from the Venetian and its sister property, Palazzo, in the past year. “Jersey Boys” has closed at Palazzo and is headed for a March opening at Paris Las Vegas. Blue Man Group is leaving Palazzo for Monte Carlo this fall. No replacement shows have been announced at either hotel.
“Phantom” played to nearly 2,700 audiences in a customized, $40 million theater.
Crivello said the focus of “Phantom” now is to keep the quality of the show customarily high.
“We want to exit on top with a good marketing blitz and end on a high note,” he said. “That is the game plan now. It’s smart business, and it’s good for the show.”