Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Venue: The Phantom Theatre at the Venetian

The Phantom Theatre marquee.
Main entrance to the Phantom Theatre and box office.
Mosaic of the Phantom's mask greets visitors before entering the theatre.
(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)
The lavish production of 'Phantom The Las Vegas' spectacular is presented in a unique and magnificent  custom built replica of the famed Paris Opera House. Dubbed the Phantom Theatre for the run of the show which opened in 2006, the venue was built specifically for the show at a cost of $40 million. No matter if you're seated in the front orchestra or rear mezzanine, the designers made sure the experience of entering the theatre and walking to your seat would be a grand experience in one of the most beautiful theaters in on the Strip.

David Rockwell, theatre design and special effects consultant for 'Phantom The Las Vegas Spectacular,' perfectly described the Phantom Theatre at the Venetian. The text below is from "The Phantom's Lair" as featured in the souvenir brochure for the Vegas production.

It's a scenic design hat trick: Charles Garnier's magnificent Paris Opera House, Maria Bjornson's fantastic theatrical interpretation of it, and Hal Prince's masterful rethinking of this legendary musical. When I was given the opportunity to create a permanent home for 'The Phantom of the Opera' there was only one thing to say - a very enthusiastic "Yes."
(story continued below)

The $40 million custom-built theatre for 'Phantom - The Las
Vegas Spectacular.'
Boxes with mannequins help to transport guests to a 19th century
Paris Opera House.
(above photos: Rockwell Group)
I'd seen and loved the show -- along with tens of millions of others. As an architect, I was captivated by the sumptuous set design -- those great sweeping curtains, the magnificent staircase, the Phantom's underground lair. To me, the sets were as much a star of 'Phantom' as its melodic score and incredible performances.

In designing the theater to house this new production of 'Phantom,' it was important to do two things. First, we wanted to create an extension of what you see on stage, so that you're literally immersed in the bold, sexy, and slightly ominous ambiance that permeates the story. Glance up at opera boxes, where mannequins dressed in period costumes are posed waiting for the evening's performance, look up even higher at the magnificent chandelier, anchored (safely?) in a majestic dome 80 feet above the orchestra floor. All around you, fragments reminiscent of the Paris Opera House appear like pieces of a dream. You're wrapped in the The Phantom's seductive environment.

Second, and just as important, the theater must serve as a bridge, ushering you from the contemporary Las Vegas to the more measured, formal atmosphere of the late 19th-century Paris. Much as they might have in common -- an exciting nightlife, exotic characters and vivid locales -- they are really two separate worlds. You must be prepared for Phantom's miller in order to full appreciate the show.
(story continued below)

From dome to chandelier to seats gives the feeling of a grand,
luxurious opera house.
"A chandelier in pieces" awaits visitors as they enter and are seated.
(above photos: Rockwell Group)
In the 1800s, going to the opera was a major social ritual: no one slipped into their seats just as the lights dimmed and the overture began. Arriving at the theater and the progression to one's seat was as much a part of the evening's enjoyment as the performance itself. It was an occasion to gossip with friends, view the latest trends in fashion, and see whose social star was on the rise (or in decline!).

As you make your way to the lobby up the steps, into the theater and to your seats, you're not only embarking upon a shared experience with 1,800 other theatergoers, you're also replicating the stately progression of the audiences who long ago filled the Paris Opera House.

Venue seating chart located at bottom.

Deep red and shimmering gold and glowing lighting greets visitors
to the Phantom Theatre.
A grand staircase transports visitors to the mezzanine level.
Glowing entryways heralds visitors into the theatre.
An orate golden ceiling hovers above the grand staircase.
Entry to mezzanine seats and bar.
Mezzanine level hallway.
(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)


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