Luxe Life Blog
‘Triumphant’ Phantom celebrates fifth anniversary at the Venetian
Phantom -- the Las Vegas Spectacular at the Venetian celebrates its fifth anniversary tomorrow night, and I talked with Tony Award-winning lead actor Anthony Crivello about his personal highlights at the magic milestone. Anthony has played the dark and mysterious Phantom every night since the show opened in 2006, nearly 1,900 performances, which have meant a total of 80 days in the makeup chair transforming into the character.
Anthony told me: “Each anniversary is a special event, but what is remarkable is that our show has been able to sustain itself in really tough economic times for theater. Opening night itself was of course the most memorable when everybody raved how triumphant a production it was and still is.
“For me, whenever our Director Hal Prince comes in to give us notes, those are always highlights. Yes, I could do another five years in the role. I’d like a little hiatus and then come back with another perspective. It’s been helpful that I’ve played opposite 10 different Christines because that’s brought nuances to the role.
“I love the complexity of my character -- a damaged human being seeking redemption. A wonderful ying and yang challenge -- most hated and at the same time most loved. It’s always fun to play the bad guy, but to also play the hero at the same time is incredible. I’m still enjoying playing the madman -- the crazed, broken down Phantom because I’m tracing hallowed footsteps of hero and anti-hero that goes all the way back to Shakespeare.”
I asked Anthony for a couple of uncomfortable audience moments that occur for every actor. “I’ve had to shoot some of them a look to shut them up. You’re at the apex of a dramatic moment and an errant cell phone rings. A couple of cackling ladies will tell each other what’s going on. People walk right in front of me at curtain call in a hurry to leave before everybody else. Our $250,000 boat driven by a computer brain has only stopped twice and Christine and I stroll the rest of the way so the audience doesn’t even know the mechanical failure occurred.
“But over five years in the same role, you deal with life, death and weather. … The proudest moment for me has been the birth of my children. My son Enzo will be five on Sept. 26, so he arrived just three months after opening night, and our daughter Charlotte will be 2 in August, just two months after our third anniversary.”
A few fun facts: The big pyrotechnics scene features more than 38 fireworks set off onstage. The crashing chandelier cost $5 million to make and six months to construct. It reaches a speed of 35 mph as it “crashes and splits into four pieces” over the audience. Yes, that is a stuntman who climbs into the 2,000-pound chandelier hanging 70 feet above the audience’s heads.
Check out Senior Editor John Katsilometes’ interview with Scott Zeiger, producer of Phantom, Jersey Boys at the Palazzo and Absinthe at Caesars Palace, in his The Kats Report at LasVegasSun.com.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.