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‘Phantom’ marks 2,000 shows in LV

Ask masked man Anthony Crivello about the 2,000 performances of “Phantom: The Vegas Spectacular” at The Venetian, and there’s no escaping the gruesome details.

At the end of Tuesday’s performance, No. 2,000, Crivello, who plays the Phantom, told the audience he’s spent more than 2,000 hours in the makeup chair.

“That’s more than 83 days,” he said.

Two-time Emmy-winning makeup artist Ron Wild spends an hour each night applying the faux deformities on Crivello, and it takes them another 15-20 minutes afterward to remove the glued layers of foam and latex.

When “Phantom” opened in Las Vegas in June 2006, it marked the first time in 25 years that the Phantom’s makeup was redesigned.

All previous versions of the Phantom wore what amounted to a rubber stamp that mirrored Michael Crawford’s original look.

“Crawford’s was much smoother,” said Crivello during an interview Wednesday while driving to work.

The configuration of the theater at The Venetian forced Wild to come up with a “much more gruesome” appearance.

In London, the “Phantom” theater was 85 feet from the edge of the stage to the ball wall.

“Here that distance is 185 feet,” he said. “If the people at the back of the house don’t see it, there’s no impact.

“He designed it with that in mind. There’s much more detail, more crevasses” to reflect the pain within the ostracized figure, who haunted the Paris opera house.

Wild is a genius at his craft, Crivello said.

“Once in a blue moon, I get stuck in traffic,” he said.

Wild has done 30-minute rush jobs to save the show from delays.

One of Crivello’s worst crises came when his rubber skull cap split in half during the middle of the show. There’s no intermission to fix it.

“He was doing Frankenstein surgery on the back of my neck to make sure it stayed to the end of the show,” he said.

As the Phantom, Crivello averages eight performances a week and female lead Kristi Holden six.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

The dramatic story of three Las Vegas rock climbers who survived a July flash flood that swept them through narrow slot canyons in Zion National Park is heading for television. Biography’s “I Survived” shot the episode in December with Joe Cain, Jason Fico and Dave Frankhouser. It’s likely to air in April or May, said Cain, who lived through a 40-foot waterfall drop but busted his tailbone, tore muscle tissue in his back and suffered a 1-inch-deep puncture wound in his knee.

THE PUNCH LINE

“There’s so much snow in Chicago, earlier today Oprah gave everyone a snowplow.” — David Letterman

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.

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