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Las Vegas phasing out late-night ‘Phantom’

Ticket sales lagging for 10 p.m. showings of Lloyd Webber production
/ Source: The Associated Press

Because of lagging ticket sales at certain performances, the producers of "Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular" are scaling back late-night shows and starting remaining weekend productions one hour earlier.

The 1,800-seat, $40 million theater that opened to rave reviews in June has been more than a quarter empty for its 10 p.m. show during much of August. Producers are trimming the number of 10 p.m. weekday performances from four to two and bumping the Saturday schedule to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., instead of 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Some Sunday shows will start at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., instead of 7 p.m.

Executive Producer Scott Zeiger of BASE Entertainment, which co-produces the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, said the late showing of "Phantom" was considered weightier than other, lighter entertainment options that beckoned on the Strip.

"There is this perception that if you go and see a show at 10 o'clock, you're going to have to sit in your seat, pay attention, focus on the story, listen to the lyrics," Zeiger said. "There's a lot of competition late at night. People like to eat dinner later ... and people love to go clubbing."

He said, however, that August was a traditionally slow month.

David Kirvin, a spokesman for the show, said Friday that there still will be 10 shows per week.

"Nothing's been cut, it's just been shifted," he said.

Zeiger said that with more than 1,200 tickets sold for each performance, at prices from $75 to $150, the 95-minute Las Vegas version of "The Phantom of the Opera" grossed more than double its longer Broadway counterpart, and 50 percent better than its touring cousin.

"'Phantom' is an enormous success in Las Vegas," Zeiger said. "We're just trying to do a little bit of yield management. And I'm cautiously optimistic that we're moving in the right direction."

The New York edition of "The Phantom of the Opera" is the longest running show in Broadway history. And it is still going strong, last week grossing more than $830,000 and playing to 96 percent capacity at the Majestic Theatre. The musical is also still running in London.