If you clicked here hoping for pics of the show, I'm sorry to disappoint you. They don't allow pictures of the performance, and my camera's too big to sneak some. However, I do have plenty of pictures of their banners and such, as well as a chance to review the show for you!
Damn you, Andrew Lloyd Webber, you're going to cost me a lot of money! (Because I'm going to have to see this show every time I go to Vegas!)
First off, and I know you've already heard this, but the theatre is AWESOME! It is used to great effect early in the show during Christine's triumphal premiere.
The chandelier. Yes, I know there's all this buzz about it, blah blah blah... but it deserves every word written about it. When you first enter, the pieces are scattered about, not just piled up on the stage, but also hung, in separate pieces, at odd angles througout the theatre's ceiling space. Here's my ONE pic from inside the theatre (okay two, but they're both of the same view and the first is too dark to see much)
If you look closely, you can see pieces of the chandelier hanging in places, as well as covered onstage.
The way it comes together is very impressive, and perhaps a little Cirque inspired. Pieces rotate around, making sure everyone (especially the folks directly beneath it) get a good view of all the pieces before they self-assemble during the overture.
There are some cuts which will be noticeable to devotees of the show, little bits of lines, the occasional re-written line, bits of songs. But the overall concept of the show is not killed off by these minor changes. I think, once they're a few more weeks into the run (technically they're still in previews, I believe), the show will feel a little less "rushed". Right now, it does seem at times that they are racing the clock, and it causes a couple of formerly smooth lines to become a bit staccato.
Mind you, I also saw this on a Monday, so I got the 2nd cast in terms of Phantom and Christine. Anthony Crivello, and I forget the name of the girl who played Christine, but apparently she was on Talon's floor in his dorm at UCSB... go figure! (But he didn't see the show, so he didn't find this out until he looked at the Playbill and recognized her, hah, serves him right for not going with me!). While Crivello was no Michael Crawford (who is? Oh yeah, Brad Little), he was no Franc D'Ambrosio either (thankfully, blech). So he was a pretty good Phantom. Didn't over sing, over operatize the Phantom's role, but he was good enough that he didn't distract you by under singing the music either (the movie, anyone?). Anyway, he gets a nod of approval from me. I'd rank him about with the guy that played Erik when Phantom closed its run at the Ahmanson (whose name escapes me at the moment, but I'm sure I'll remember it later).
Since I love to rank Phantoms with descriptions of their character (Michael Crawford being the "Passionate Phantom", Brad Little being the "Scary Phantom", etc), I'd call Crivello the "Pervy Phantom". He played the role in a manner you might expect of an Aspergers Case... someone who is brilliant, but has trouble relating to other human beings or seeing things from their perspective, and often obsessing on their own interests, seeing the world through the perspective of that interest. Hard to explain, but his characterization of the role gave the music a heightened importance, as if music and sex were the same thing. To relate to modern day, this is the phantom you would find surfing the net, "Trekkie Monster" style. (I'm not going to elaborate on this on a "public" forum. Research Avenue Q to make sense of what I just said.)
Madame Giry was played in a different manner than I've seen before. She was less deadpan, perhaps a bit more campy, but not distractingly so. And, given the new pacing of the show, perhaps that was necessary to bring life to a character for whom so many lines were cut.
Okay, more on the chandelier. This was the most MAJOR change from the standard format of the show. They moved the chandelier bit to later in the show. Yes, there is still action on the chandelier during Il Muto, but the "major" bit comes later, and to great effect.
Aside from the re-imagined chandelier, there is another major new set piece, and it is used for the transition into Masquerade. As you might remember, there used to be an intermission, which allowed time to set up the staircase for Masquerade. Well, not so here. This major set piece self-assembles (reminded me of Les Miserable, except nothing flips over, it just rotates in pieces and assembles itself in place). VERY beautiful piece too - the Opera Garnier exterior. New special effects handle the transition between the rooftop scene and the Gala. Effects you won't be expecting, though they do fit in with the concept.