Vegas Phantom Trip 2011 June 27th and June 28th.

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Vegas Phantom Trip 2011 June 27th and June 28th.

Post  TheMaskedLion on Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:55 am

Las Vegas 2011
June 27th

Anthony Crivello - Phantom
Sarah Elizabeth Combs (u.s) - Christine
Andrew Ragone - Raoul
Brianne Kelly Morgan - Meg
Tina Walsh - Mme Giry
Joan Sobel/Arsenia Soto -Carlotta
Larry Wayne Morbitt-Piangi
Lawson Skala- Firmin
John Leslie Wolfe - Andre (Thanks Raph!)






BEFORE THE SHOW

There is something amazing about buying tickets to this production, the moment you go down the escalator, hang a left and see that big beautiful sign, your heart skips a beat as you hear the OLC being played on the speakers (and shockingly enough, the movie in the men’s room. Oh well. G.B’s voice makes great making water music. lol)

IamErik771 had not seen the show in Las Vegas before, his only experience with it was when the US tour last stopped in San Francisco with John Cudia and Kelly Jean Grant. So, Sylent and I knew we had to bring him along with us. We had officially became a little jaded towards other productions after seeing Vegas in 2010 with Crivello, Hertzenberg, Ragone, Brianne and Danielle White as Carlotta. (My favorite. Hands down)
We stayed in the same hotel we did the last year, Boulder Station, about ten minutes away from the strip. We had gotten up at 9:30 to go to Box Office to get the best seats we could. Last year, Sylent and I were literally front row center. Which was a amazing experience. Sylent felt that it was a positive and a negative one because while we were able to see everyone clearly, you had to turn around to see the chandelier and stuff and you can’t really see Anthony on the angel.

But back to the present We got the tickets and discovered that we would only be four rows back from the stage. Dead center. Very nice. We spent the rest of the day taking photos, eating lunch, having fun. IamErik771 had never been to Las Vegas before, so we knew we had to show him as much as we could. Upon returning to the hotel. We discovered that Anthony and Kristen had flown out to L.A to do a television special, and Raphael had informed us that we might get Michael Lackey as Phantom. eyebrow perks THE Michael Lackey?! That would be awesome! We went to the theater early to find out any information we could. It turns out, Tony would be back in time for the later show, which we had tickets for. So IamErik and I sat in the lobby, talking with the ushers and the store clerk, while listening to Michael Lackey and Sarah Combs perform together. (Only later did we find out that hadn’t been onstage together before in these respective roles. Shocking to me, because they sounded perfect together)

Sylent had drawn a beautiful sketch of Anthony, and finding out that he would be back in time, had rushed back to the hotel to bring it with us. IamErik and I sat there, listening to the stunning performance, getting more and more excited.

THE SHOW.

Once you step inside that theater, you KNOW you are in for something amazing. Sylent, IamErik and I took our seats and waited, almost scared to breathe. As silly as that may sound, there’s a strange sensation that comes right before the show and it doesn’t end until the overture begins. We listened to the preshow announcement, although in my head I was doing the full version.
Original = “Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to my Opera House. The legend which you are about to behold demands your closest attention, therefore it is my wish that all cellular telephones be turned off during the duration of the performance. The use of flash photography and recording equipment is also strictly forbidden. If these demands are not obeyed, I shall not be answerable for the consequences, enjoy the show. *laughter”

Current: Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to my Opera House. The legend which you are about to behold demands your closest attention, therefore it is my wish that all cellular telephones be turned off during the duration of the performance. The use of flash photography and recording equipment is also strictly forbidden.”

THE AUCTION

One of the the first things I remember from last year, was that each scene seemed to have a different smell to it. The Auction scene smelled to us like incense and old books. Very fitting.Ironically, this was our first time seeing Michael Lackey as Auctioneer, as last year for both performances we attended, we had Scott Watanabe as Auctioneer. Andrew Ragone makes a convincing old Raoul, he was feeble, but not nearly dead as others before have played him. Lackey’s performance of the scene was chilling and deliciously creepy. The excitement built up and up until those famous chords filled the air as the chandelier came blazing to life.

OVERTURE/HANNIBAL

Oh ho, there is nothing like seeing the overture like this. The music is so loud that you can feel it inside you. It’s awesome. I was half watching the chandelier and half watching IamErik’s face. All three of us had big grins on our faces as we watched the chandelier form and take it’s proper place over the audience. One thing I really admire about the Vegas production is how they also have stuff going on onstage during this scene. It always bothered me that when you usually see the show, the chandelier goes up, and then there’s about half a minute of strobelights, then Hannibal slowly rises up. Go Vegas!

Joan Sobel was on for Carlotta, and the first thing I noticed about her is she looked scared to death when she came out. Sensing something was going to happen, I focused on her. She looked very frazzled, and her voice betrayed her nervousness, she cracked during the first part of the “Hannibal” cadenza. Uh oh.

Larry Wayne Morbitt is the best Piangi the US has seen IMHO. His comedic timing is perfect in this scene, and he has one hell of a voice to boot. Brianne made her entrance and danced most beautifully. I am always in awe of the ballerinas in the Vegas Production, as to how much they remind me of Degas, more so than in any other production I have seen.


NEW MANAGERS/THINK OF ME.


The first evening we had Marc Cedric Smith as Leferve, who I remembered also played Don Atillo and Passarino. He was wonderful as Leferve, even if his scene is a short one. Lawson Skala and John Leslie Wolfe are amazing as the Managers, although they play their roles with a little more subtlety than I’m used to, I’ve come to prefer their interpretations over the classic almost over the top managers of Broadway and the US Tour.
Brianne has to be my favorite Meg Giry out of all I have seen and heard. There is something very unique about her that I don’t question whether or not she is the correct age for the part, and her voice is very pleasant to listen to, not jarring like a certain Broadway Meg that I shall not name here.

Tina Walsh has grown to become my favorite Madame Giry, she is more vocally animated than many who have preceded her in the role. Mme Giry is supposed to be slightly creepy, yes we understand that, but there is no reason to be almost monotone. Tina doesn’t do that, in fact, she has made the role very much her own, and watching her is a treat to the eye.

Joan’s Think of Me. Again. It was clear to me that something was wrong. I’m going to go on a limb here and assume she wasn’t feeling well, because her voice was very weak and it seemed as though she was very nervous, at first I didn’t like her because I was used to Danielle’s Carlotta, but more on this later.

I have no idea who we saw as Buquet that first night, as it wasn’t the same person the second, but whoever he was. He was wonderful, he managed to put the right amount of comedy and cryptic overtones into the dialogue without over doing it. Nice!





THINK OF ME.

Now usually, I get worried for Christine’s during this scene. All three of us are very sensitive musically, and if there is one thing we three don’t like, it’s excessive vibrato. I have seen Christine’s wobble their way through the entire show and it makes it very hard to believe that she has the voice of a angel, and when Phantom twitches when Christine cracks on a note? Yeah. Big reason to worry.

Hmmmm. They really should fix the fact that Sarah Combs's eyebrows are not period correct, small quibble I know, but one that can pull one out of the drama

However, Sarah Combs didn’t have this problem at all. Her voice was very pleasant and she understood exactly what the scene was about. I was very impressed by her, and she had the “Diva strut” down pat during the interlude of Think Of Me

Andrew Ragone is a wonderful Raoul, and he stood up and started singing, the first thing we all thought was that he sounded a lot like Steve Barton, which was very nice. He didn’t overdo the clapping like some Raoul’s and he seemed genuinely happy to be there.
Sarah milked those money notes for all they were worth, she did a amazing job, I was very excited to hear the rest of her performance.

BACKSTAGE/ANGEL OF MUSIC

I always loved how Reyer kisses Christine’s hand and congratulates her after Think of Me. It’s very sweet.

Mme Giry’s line always cracked me up, and Brianne’s facial response to it was priceless.

Anthony’s voice during “Bravi..bravi” was heavenly, but it does irk me that they still say Bravi instead of Brava, but hey, what can you do? The orchestra was gorgeous here. The little bells before Sarah began singing was gorgeous. Sarah and Brianne had excellent chemistry. They played off each other very well. Their voices blended most beautifully on the harmony until Tina came in and broke the mood. Sarah showed off the right emotion/confusion for “Red Scarf, The Attic, Little Lotte?”


Little Lotte/The Mirror
Andrew Ragone is a darling Raoul, he and Sarah were very cute together, They both seemed to grow younger during the scene and we could almost see them as children. It was very beautiful to watch. He also seemed to genuinely care that her father was dead, not just blowing that line off like so many do. I do wish he wouldn’t do the chuckle when he leaves the dressing room, it sounds creepy.

Anthony’s entrance was firm and strong. Not as strong as I’ve heard him, but it still contained the right amount of fury, almost as though he didn’t want to take it out on her. Nice touch

Sarah’s response was very fitting and reminded me of Mary Philbin in the Lon Chaney film in the way she held her hands and arms while speaking to him.

When Anthony appeared in the Mirror, he was turned slightly away from her, that the mask side was exposed, but he was trying to stay hidden from her, until she said “Come to me strange angel” then his body language changed, and he raised his right hand and called her through the mirror. The reverb on his voice was chilling as the entire theater grew very cold…


The Phantom of The Opera/Music Of The Night

Yay for doubles that look like the actual actors! One of the first things I noticed is that Anthony has a new title track, it sounds much better than last years. Sarah started getting a little vibrato heavy here, which slightly scared me. But she smoothed out before the cadenza. The theater got very cold, and the scent of dank cellar filled the air. Not many people seem to notice the smells, but IamErik, Sylent and I certainly did. It added a element that was missing in other productions and pulled us in more. The boat glided effortlessly on the misty waters of the lake, and the candles rose beautifully out of the water. One thing that Anthony does during this that I admire, he makes it very obvious that he is controlling evetything, just before the candles went up, he made sure to touch a certain part of the stage with the pole, giving the impression he was controlling it. Excellent touch. Once the boat glided into place, he helped Sarah out of the boat as she began the cadenza, His hat and cloak removal was effortless, and his hair smoothing was done quickly, not too sexually either. When he went to the organ, Sarah clutched her throat after hitting the High E. “Did I just hit that note?” her eyes seem to say. Anthony took over the accompaniment and his voice boomed with power as he told her how she was to serve him, to sing for him alone. His face and body language was tender, and it contained the shy nervousness that a school boy has when speaking to his first love. Adorable.

Music of The Night is a scene I judge most Phantoms on very harshly. As it is the point where you must state your intentions to Christine and to us as the audience. One thing I love about Anthony is he clearly has done research in this role. He gave Erik some little nervous tics and twitches, which is a realistic approach if you consider the character’s history, and during this scene, he kept his distance from Christine while still being close to her. The scene was about passion and music. Not just Phantom feeling her up. Anthony’s Phantom is a true gentleman, with how gentle he was with her, and his voice betrayed his longing and his passion. Sarah followed his motions with her eyes, and she reacted to everything he sang. Not just standing there like a life sized doll. The portcullis sprawl was done very well, not too sexually, but almost reminiscent of Christ on the Cross, as she tried to remove his mask, he jerked his head aside, and never in my life have I heard “Long to Be!” sung more beautifully.

Once Sarah fainted, Anthony looked frightened and his hands began shaking as he covered her with the cloak, and softly sang the final lines to her. The audience erupted in applause even before he was finished.

STRANGER THAN YOU DREAMT IT.

Organ still painful. How the Angel of Music would write something like that is totally beyond me. Anyway,

Sarah touches the snooze button on Monkey and starts looking around as she sings. The nice thing about her, is she acted out every single thing she sang, which made her very interesting to watch. Anthony was composing away at that organ, The Unmasking was handled quite well, although I’ve never understood how Erik is unable to see Christine standing right next to him. That part always bothered me, I prefer it when they come up behind him. (More on that, in the June 28th review) Crivello possesses the uncanny ability to make the three of us recall Leroux quotes as he is acting. “"Yes, if I lived to be a hundred, I should always hear the superhuman cry of grief and rage which he uttered when the terrible sight appeared before my eyes.” Another nice touch he added, he wagged his head around, much like Lon Chaney/Leroux Erik!
“ His Stranger was heartwrenching, and when Sarah handed him the mask, the look of surprise on his face and then the look of tenderness, then replaced by anger, was excellently played.

Notes-Prima Donna

The two Managers are epic. Their comedic timing is perfect, and yay for ManagersOfficeDoor! The cuts to this number didn’t bother me at all. Now, I must give the actors credit for playing every single line like it’s the most important line. That’s to say, not one line was “thrown away” which was awesome.

Andrew came in and began accusing the managers, even though these people have done these roles for ages, I cannot help but think this is the first time they have done it. Amazing. Andrew seemed very concerned about Christine’s whereabouts, and the managers didn’t seem to care much, except when he shows them the note from O.G. Their “Uh Oh” faces were priceless.

Carlotta came in, only somehow magically she seemes to have changed figures and voices. Aha! They must have pulled a switch on us. This was Arsenia Soto playing Carlotta here, and I’m sorry to say I wasn’t too impressed. It may have been a sound problem, I don’t know. But her voice didn’t seem all that strong, and her acting for this scene was sincerely lacking, Sylent and I were missing Danielle at this point. Tina and Brianne were excellent. Anthony’s vocals for the Note scene was rather chilling, and deliciously creepy, sent shivers up our backs.

Prima Donna, one of my favorite songs. The Managers started this off well, with Andre starting with “Your public needs you” Firmin giving a “you can’t be serious…I…oh fine..” we need you too” Was absolutely hilarious.

Arsenia was oddly overpowered by everyone else. Not a good sign, I can’t say whether or not it’s the sound crew or Arsenia’s voice. But other than that. It was a amazing Prima Donna. BTW Brianne’s facial expressions during Notes and Prima Donna are perfect. I heard the chandelier tinkling lightly and looked up and noticed the Phantom Double peeking out of the chandelier mouthing the line “So it is to be war between us..etc’ I’ve never noticed that. Nice touch!



Il Muto.

Ah, one of my favorite scenes. This scene is always perfectly done in Vegas, the fops are hilarious. Don Atillo as played by the awesome Marc Cedric Smith, added a few lovely adlibs, such as sliding his finger across his throat and slowly walking over to Serafirmo raising his cane, just as The Phantom threatens Carlotta.

Arsenia responded quite well, pulling Christine near the bed and hissing her line into her ear. Tony chuckled as he called Carlotta a toad, and the scene went on with Arsenia displaying a croak that sounded more like a throaty gasp than a actual croak. and Crivello’s maniacal laughter was just perfect, as the Phantom Double comes out of the bottom of the chandelier gesturing to the stage, shaking the chandelier, it’s kind of silly but awesome at the same time.

Ballet/Rooftop

Thank goodness the blocking is slightly different here, it’s much more interesting than on Broadway or the West End. There is actually a sort of “plot” to this ballet. Which is nice for a change. No matter how many times I see Buquet get killed.. When the actor twitches like that and then goes still… Jesus…

The Rooftop scene is always one of my favorites, and it’s one of those scenes that when done right, can evoke a lot of thoughts regarding the show itself, or it’s original story. Sarah was terrified and you actually wanted to get up and hug her. Andrew reacted well, but he played the “jealous!Raoul” a little too much I think. And when The Phantom whispered her name, all we three could think of was.”

"Strange, Christine, that this calm, soft night should be so full of plaintive sounds. One would think that it was sorrowing with us."


All I ASK OF YOU /REPRISE

Did I mention how much Andrew reminds me of Steve? Wow. He’s being very sweet to Christine here and Sarah was the perfect little girl who needs a knight in shining armor.
The chemistry between them was very strong here, and for a little while I could see no reason as to why those two should not be together, for a moment, I had forgotten all about Anthony. The first kiss was sweet, the other…. It bothers me when Raoul obviously slips Christine tongue. Just saying.

Sarah handled the “I Must Go” bit very well, very flustered and giggly over what had just happened, and she seemed genuinely surprised when Andrew dropped to his knees and said he loved her. She rushed up to him, embraced him, and with more of Raoul’s creepy chuckling, they left the stage.

Anthony’s reprise. Oh man. That one hurt. But before I delve into it, I would like to bring up a note from last year’s performance. The first time we saw him, we could not see him on the angel, so I was looking off stage left, at his shadow. Which was something I don’t usually notice, but I’m certain it was just as painful watching that, as it was watching him on the angel this year, It reminded me so much of Leroux’s description that even IamErik771 whispered to me “There was an appalling silence between the three of them: the two who spoke and the shadow that listened”
Anthony’s reprise has to be the most heartbreaking one we have ever seen, the way he places his hands over his heart and the way every note of Raoul and Christine’s song, seemed like a lash from a whip to his very soul. Words alone cannot describe how our hearts hurt when he was finished. Epic lightning is epic, and epic fireworks are blinding.


Part II coming soon.




Last edited by Count-Alexiel-Ravenswood on Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:18 am; edited 1 time in total

TheMaskedLion

Posts : 73
Join date : 2009-09-23
Age : 28
Location : Brisbane

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Vegas Phantom Trip 2011 June 27th and June 28th.

Post  Raphael on Sat Jul 09, 2011 12:49 am

Count-Alexiel-Ravenswood wrote:
Lawson Skala- Andre
John Leslie Wolfe - Firmin
Whoops! You got them flipped Smile

There is something amazing about buying tickets to this production, the moment you go down the escalator, hang a left and see that big beautiful sign, your heart skips a beat as you hear the OLC being played on the speakers (and shockingly enough, the movie in the men’s room. Oh well. G.B’s voice makes great making water music. lol)
You know, as much as I love to hear Crawford, Brightman, and Barton in the lobby, casino, and elevators, I've always thought the Venetian could mix it up a bit by putting some of the international recordings into the mix.

So IamErik and I sat in the lobby, talking with the ushers and the store clerk, while listening to Michael Lackey and Sarah Combs perform together. (Only later did we find out that hadn’t been onstage together before in these respective roles. Shocking to me, because they sounded perfect together)
The next time I'm there for a 2-show night and *don't* attend both performances, I might try this out Very Happy Oh, and you guys were lucky in that apparently some of the bosses were in town the week prior, so the show was tightened up and polished all around.

Original = “Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to my Opera House. The legend which you are about to behold demands your closest attention, therefore it is my wish that all cellular telephones be turned off during the duration of the performance. The use of flash photography and recording equipment is also strictly forbidden. If these demands are not obeyed, I shall not be answerable for the consequences, enjoy the show. *laughter”

Current: Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to my Opera House. The legend which you are about to behold demands your closest attention, therefore it is my wish that all cellular telephones be turned off during the duration of the performance. The use of flash photography and recording equipment is also strictly forbidden.”
Did they used to do the laughing? I don't recall that in any of the performances I'd seen over the past 5 years. Although maybe the script is different depending on which Phantom actor recorded it.

One of the the first things I remember from last year, was that each scene seemed to have a different smell to it. The Auction scene smelled to us like incense and old books.
Okay, that's an interesting tidbit that I'd never considered. The last few times I was there, I did notice a climate change from scene to scene But I thought I was just having hot flashes.

However, Sarah Combs didn’t have this problem at all. Her voice was very pleasant and she understood exactly what the scene was about. I was very impressed by her, and she had the “Diva strut” down pat during the interlude of Think Of Me
"Diva strut"? Is that a new phandom term? Okay, so "Apple!porn," "Portcullis sprawl," "Serafimo ass-volcano," and "Diva strut". Got it.

Andrew Ragone is a wonderful Raoul, and he stood up and started singing, the first thing we all thought was that he sounded a lot like Steve Barton, which was very nice. He didn’t overdo the clapping like some Raoul’s and he seemed genuinely happy to be there.
Andrew brings a lot of warmth to the role, in my opinion. I also get the Barton vibes off his performance.

When Anthony appeared in the Mirror, he was turned slightly away from her, that the mask side was exposed, but he was trying to stay hidden from her, until she said “Come to me strange angel” then his body language changed, and he raised his right hand and called her through the mirror.
I'm not sure, but I think Anthony's one of the few who emphasizes the mask in that scene. I'm not sure how I feel about it. Story-wise, I'd think he'd want to play up his good side to her.

Sarah followed his motions with her eyes, and she reacted to everything he sang. Not just standing there like a life sized doll.

Active Christines are always more interesting and add more content to the scene than the catatonic ones Smile

Arsenia was oddly overpowered by everyone else. Not a good sign, I can’t say whether or not it’s the sound crew or Arsenia’s voice.
I saw Arsenia a few perfomances back and thought she was one of the better actresses in the role. I'm embarrassed to say that I don't really pay all that much attention to the character to judge them further - particularly the Vegas ones where it's cut down to almost a named extra role. There have been sound issues in the recent past, but if you could hear everyone else int he cast just fine, maybe there was something else going on.

BTW Brianne’s facial expressions during Notes and Prima Donna are perfect.

Very Happy Yay! I've always liked what Brianne does in that scene.

Part II coming soon.
Looking forward to it!

TAFKaR

_________________
Proud former member of TMCPMC
Keeper of Brianne Morgan's Masquerade hip-swish
www.phantoonsoftheopera.com

Raphael

Posts : 1046
Join date : 2009-09-22
Location : San Francisco Bay Area

View user profile http://www.phantoonsoftheopera.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Vegas Phantom Trip 2011 June 27th and June 28th.

Post  operafantomet on Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:14 pm

Baaah, I wrote a super long reply yesterday, and then the internet died and my reply was lost. So I'm just commenting at the top of my head, without all the comments on the various actors and their effort:

amErik771 had not seen the show in Las Vegas before, his only experience with it was when the US tour last stopped in San Francisco with John Cudia and Kelly Jean Grant. So, Sylent and I knew we had to bring him along with us.
Good phans. Very good phans. Smile

Anthony’s voice during “Bravi..bravi” was heavenly, but it does irk me that they still say Bravi instead of Brava, but hey, what can you do?
Agreed. It might be a minor detail, but to me it matters a lot whether the Phantom compliments Christine (brava) or the male cast (bravi). The latter doesn't quite make sense. And if they could change it for the West End, they should be able to change it elsewhere too.

The theater got very cold, and the scent of dank cellar filled the air. Not many people seem to notice the smells, but IamErik, Sylent and I certainly did. It added a element that was missing in other productions and pulled us in more.
I've noticed the same at Her Majesty's/London and at Det Ny Teater/Copenhagen. I always ascribed it to them being small, old theatres, cause I didn't notice it at the fairly new Colosseum/Essen (and I was in one of the front rows there). But maybe it's the type of dry ice used?

Anthony’s reprise has to be the most heartbreaking one we have ever seen, the way he places his hands over his heart and the way every note of Raoul and Christine’s song, seemed like a lash from a whip to his very soul. Words alone cannot describe how our hearts hurt when he was finished.
Sounds very intriguing! Looking forward to part 2.


_________________
JOSEFINE TO THE PHANTOM:
You come off as... somewhat... rough...

operafantomet

Posts : 3600
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 37
Location : Norway

View user profile http://www.anea.no

Back to top Go down

Re: Vegas Phantom Trip 2011 June 27th and June 28th.

Post  Raphael on Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:38 pm

operafantomet wrote:
Anthony’s voice during “Bravi..bravi” was heavenly, but it does irk me that they still say Bravi instead of Brava, but hey, what can you do?
Agreed. It might be a minor detail, but to me it matters a lot whether the Phantom compliments Christine (brava) or the male cast (bravi). The latter doesn't quite make sense. And if they could change it for the West End, they should be able to change it elsewhere too.
The improper use of Italian irks me too, although I've come to conclude that it's done for the musicality of the words -- bravi goes "up" at the end while brava goes "down."

Or maybe the Phantom's doing a Porky Pig stutter.

TAFKaR

_________________
Proud former member of TMCPMC
Keeper of Brianne Morgan's Masquerade hip-swish
www.phantoonsoftheopera.com

Raphael

Posts : 1046
Join date : 2009-09-22
Location : San Francisco Bay Area

View user profile http://www.phantoonsoftheopera.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Vegas Phantom Trip 2011 June 27th and June 28th.

Post  Sponsored content Today at 8:45 am


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum