Phantom Opening Night Gala in Vegas
O.K., PHANTOM 'Phans'... I have found your nirvana...and you can find it at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas
, where I attended the lavish opening of PHANTOM: The Las Vegas Spectacular
last night (Saturday, June 24th at 7pm).
From the moment you check in, you can hear the score of the longest running musical being piped through the hotel lobby. Then you are handed your room key which has PHANTOM splashed all over it. Enter the casino where the music continues to play and, on your way to the elevator, as you flash your PHANTOM key to security, you pass by the PHANTOM Gift Shop (to end all gift shops) where you can find something for everyone who loves The Phantom of the Opera.
The hotel itself is beautiful, with everything you could possibly need or want, including multiple pools, a Canyon Ranch Spa, a salon, restaurants galore, nightclubs, stores and multiple theatres. If you like to gamble, you can even find blackjack tables newly felted with the famous Phantom mask logo and, of course, gambling chips to match.
You will no doubt find yourself humming every song from The Phantom of the Opera involuntarily, as was everyone, and it would be humorous, were it not that you realize just how well-known this score is across the globe.
No expense has been spared on this production, which has been efficiently pared down to 95 minutes by its creators and masterful director, the legendary Harold Prince.
Entering the theatre at the Venetian for the gala opening night was an event in itself. Red capret, paparazzi and in attendance were many New Yorkers who made the trek, including the show's producers, representatives from the Shubert Organization and the Wasser Office (Alan Wasser, Robert Nolan, Steve Schnepp) and others. The Venetian production of the Cameron Mackintosh / The Really Useful Theatre Company Musical is also being presented by The Really Useful Theatre Company, Live Nation and Base Entertainment (Brian Becker and Scott Zeiger). Notable people in the audience included Carol Burnett, who collaborated with Mr. Prince on Hollywood Arms, Linda Lavin, who worked with Mr. Prince on It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman. Robert Goulet and his wife Vera, the show's choreographer Gillian Lynne, Lord Lloyd Webber, Peter Brown, Charles Hart, David Caddick, three time Tony-winner Hinton Battle, Las Vegas Hairspray's Corny Collins Kevin Spirtas, William Morris' Clint Mitchell, Marty Bell, Marty Erlichman, Richard Jay-Alexander, Las Vegas General Manager Michael Gill, Siegfried Fischbacher, Jerry Mitchell, David Zippel, Roy Horn, Sheldon G. Adelson and Miriam Adelson, Clint Holmes, David Ian, Randall Mays, Bernie Yuman, Rita Rudner and Bill Weidner, among others.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the evening was that, as the show is double cast (they do 10 performances a week) I kept wanting to know who would open. I couldn't find out and I thought that people were being coy, when in reality, how the decision was made actually appeared on the front page of our opening night's program. It read as follows:
Robert Diamond founded BroadwayWorld.com in 2003, which has now become the largest theatre web site in the world. He also serves as the site's Editor-in-Chief, covering Broadway and beyond, with specific local coverage for 100 cities in the United States, 30 countries worldwide and 15 other related areas of entertainment - including dance, opera, fashion, concerts, comedy, films, television and more.|
The 2001 Syracuse University graduate (School of Information Studies) is also the owner of Wisdom Digital Media, an award-winning leading design company for entertainment and technology web sites. In his previous life, he held an executive position for the world's leading publisher of technology magazines, web sites and conferences and, as a result, was named among the "Top thirty magazine industry executives under the age of 30" by FOLIO Magazine.
Diamond got his start in the entertainment field, accidentally, when he created the 'official web site' (while in college) for Michael Crawford, the popular actor and original Tony and Olivier Award-winning star of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. (He still blames Crawford - and credits him - for anything that goes particularly right or wrong during an average day.)
As a respected member of the Broadway and theatre community, Diamond also served as Lead Producer for a series of sold-out shows using the BroadwayWorld.com 'brand' for a set of 'Standing Ovations' concerts, which also branched out into titles that included Holiday Shows and even more specific concerts like 'From Stage to Screen and Back Again' in tandem with publishers and movie studios. All proceeds were in turn donated to Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, the industry's leader in aid for performers in need.
Robert lives in Manhattan with his wife and two dogs, growing the business and getting little sleep. In addition, you can usually find him in a theatre many nights a week.
Robert's very popular blog, 'The Broadway Pulse' appears daily on BroadwayWorld.com and he also writes weekly about theatre for the USA Network's Character Approved blog.
In December of last year, Diamond was one of 5 Syracuse University Alumni, all having achieved success in the world of start-ups, business growth and venture capital, participating on a panel addressing young alumni who are currently pursuing their dreams of running their own business and experiencing the day to day challenges of a startup. It is part of the university's new Student Accelerator Program, for which Rob was recommended by Syracuse University's i-School.