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April 20, 2014

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Kristi Holden, Christine Daae in ‘Phantom,’ prepares to exit stage left


Steve Marcus

On the rooftop, Andrew Ragone as Raoul and Kristi Holden as Christine during “Phantom — the Las Vegas Spectacular” at the Venetian on Feb. 10, 2009. The song is “All I Ask of You.”

It’s the final weekend of “Phantom -- the Las Vegas Spectacular” at the Venetian after a six-year run, and locals and tourists alike are likely to reminisce about Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s beloved and sweepingly romantic musical.

Mr. Vegas DeLuxe Robin Leach talked with lead stars Anthony Crivello (The Phantom), Kristi Holden (Christine Daae), Andrew Ragone (Raoul) and Madame Giri (Tina Walsh) after the show’s sixth anniversary and 2,614th performance in July.

Now Holden talks about the show’s bittersweet closing with contributing writer Shawna Laing.

Shawna Laing: What have you learned to be Las Vegas’ best-kept secret?

Kristi Holden: I love Bonnie Springs! It’s by Red Rock, and it’s just a fun place to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family. As far as nightlife, I was just introduced to the bar Lady Silvia. It’s an eclectic bar that is not marked, so it’s fun to be in the know about it.

Phantom's 2,000th Show at The Venetian

pictured as Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular celebartes it's 200oth performance at The Phantom Theater at The Ventian Resort-Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, NV on February 1, 2011.  RD/ Erik Kabik/ Retna Digital ***HOUSE COVERAGE*** Launch slideshow »

Phantom's 2,000th Show Luncheon at Aquaknox

Cast members of Phantom -- the Las Vegas Spectacular at their 2,000th show luncheon at Aquaknox in The Venetian on Jan. 28, 2011. Launch slideshow »

S.L.: What is your idea of a perfect day off?

K.H.: A perfect day for me is getting out of the heat and hiking at Mount Charleston or having brunch with friends.

S.L.: “Phantom of the Opera” in one word?

K.H.: Breathtaking!

S.L.: What has been the best flub in your run with “Phantom”?

K.H.: One of my favorites was when I ran by the boat in “Music of the Night,” and my dressing gown got caught on it. My dressing gown lace ripped and ended up being probably 5 to 10 feet long because I just kept running to my mark on stage. Our Phantom unhooked it from the boat, rolled it up and then casually handed it to me once he got to me. It was suppose to be a very sexy moment!

S.L.: And the best audience moment?

K.H.: When the lights go down at the start of the show and we hear the crowd clapping and screaming with excitement.

Click to enlarge photo

Kristi Holden, center, with the California Philharmonic.

Click to enlarge photo

Kristi Holden.

S.L.: You recently took an exciting opportunity to perform with the California Philharmonic. How was that experience?

K.H.: Rehearsing for the California Philharmonic concert was tricky. I was given my song list three weeks prior, and I had to practice in a way that would not tire out my voice. I had to manage singing at “Phantom” and rehearsing the concert during the day without losing my voice. Luckily, two of the songs were from “Phantom,” so I had two fewer songs to practice.

Working with David Burnham was wonderful! He is a gem and such an amazing talent. We had great chemistry together that translated to the audience, and we had a great time together.

S.L.: You also have another side project. Describe your charity work with Family Promise.

K.H.: Yes, in 2010, I produced a charity concert called “Singing Outside the Lines.” My fellow “Phantom” cast mates joined me to help raise money for Family Promise. It’s a wonderful charity that helps homeless families get off the streets and back on their feet. The moment that really touched my life was realizing how things just happen in lives that are out of your control.

I worked so hard to rehearse my songs so I wouldn’t lose my voice rehearsing and performing in “Phantom.” However, I caught a bad cold virus and completely lost my voice the day before. I planned and planned and did all the right things, and still life didn’t go as planned. I luckily had a steroid shot that gave me my voice back for the day. It really made me realize that these families planned and planned, as well, and still life didn’t go as planned. Homelessness should not be judged. Family Promise is like that steroid shot I was given: hope.

Click to enlarge photo

David Walrod, Kristi Holden, Deven May and Shawna Laing at Singing Outside the Lines in Clark County Flamingo Library Theater on May 2, 2010.

S.L.: Dream gig would be …

K.H.: My dream gig would be my own concert with a large piece orchestra. Currently, I've been working on a nine-piece song cycle written for me by Dan Redfeld called “A Hopeful Place.” It is about a woman’s journey through life and requires an 18-piece orchestra. It is glorious music to sing. The CD will be released this year, and we hope to start booking it shortly thereafter.

S.L.: When did you discover your passion for theater and the arts?

K.H.: I popped out of my mother’s womb wanting to dance, sing and act! My grandpa’s nickname for me was Grasshopper because I was always hopping around the house singing and dancing.

S.L.: I have it on good authority that you’re a total hippie. Want to share a little about your holistic and grounded lifestyle?

K.H.: I try to do my best to eat organic foods and raw milk products when I can find them, as well as keeping pharmaceuticals out of my body as much as possible. I have found herbs to be an amazing tool in keeping good health and healing and started taking classes at Herbally Grounded here in Las Vegas. It’s an incredible place to learn about holistic health.

I learned how to make my own herbal blends and apply them to my life and share them with friends. I grew up in the Colorado Rockies, so, yes, I am a hippie at heart for sure!

S.L.: What are you reading these days? What are you listening to?

K.H.: Well, I purchased “Fifty Shades of Grey” but have yet to crack it open. I’m a little scared! I’m listening to musical theater songs for my audition book. I’m going to be unemployed!

S.L.: What will you miss most about the show and your cast mates?

K.H.: I will miss the magic of this incredible production and of course singing this music night after night. I’ve been in the show for more than five years, and I’m still not tired of the music or the story. I will miss my cast mates’ spirits and talent very much. We all have fun together, and there’s lots of love between us all. It’s a family that I will miss. But the good news is that in this biz, we can all work together again in future shows.

S.L.: Are you emotionally ready for the closing? Are you excited about life’s new adventures?

K.H.: I am ready for new adventures and to see how my life unfolds; however, I am not ready for this beautiful production to close. I thought I’d leave and then be able to come back to just cover Christine briefly if they needed me or to at least see my friends in the show again. But now in closing, as each scene ends, it will never be again. There is great sadness to this fact.

I hope I don’t cry the entire closing night! “Phantom” will never be like this again. It is truly a remarkable piece of live theater, and no one should miss it.

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