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‘Phantom’ finally forsakes Ahmanson

The infamous falling chandelier in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera” came all the way down Monday morning at the Ahmanson theater, with the show’s producers richer by $ 155,379,066 after a chart-busting run that lasted 220 weeks.

Sources said that serious negotiations are now ongoing to bring the touring production of “Miss Saigon” into the Ahmanson for a limited run, which would be included in one of the theater’s upcoming subscription seasons.

Theater officials are refusing comment, perhaps because the theater’s much ballyhooed reconfiguration could now be put off until a limited run of “Miss Saigon” is completed.

Set down in six

Meanwhile, after “Phantom’s” closing on Sunday, work began Monday morning to disassemble the massive set.

“We hope to have this set out of here in six 10-hour days starting today (Monday),” said John Paull, the show’s technical production manager.

There are 60 stagehands breaking down the set, with an additional 10 people loading trucks. When the final set piece is loaded on Saturday, the theater will be empty, but it will still need restoration work.

“We figure it will take two 40-hour weeks to restore the theater,” Paull said.

The crew will have to restore the theater’s original stage floor, which has been sitting in storage for the past four years. The floor had to be altered to include trap doors for many of “Phantom’s” special effects.

As for the gigantic set, Paull said that only part of it will travel to San Francisco, where the show will open Dec. 12 at the Curran for an open-ended run.

Meanwhile, “Phantom” will be making its way back through the southland in another year, as one of the two touring productions is due to set down next July for a limited run at the Orange County Performing Arts Center (Daily Variety, Aug. 24).

Special effects intact

That show will come lumbering in on 28 tractor-trailer trucks and, according to Paull, looks “virtually identical” to the non-touring productions.

“We have found ways to get all of the special effects into the show with a moving set,” he said.

And while the traveling “Phantom” may be big, it doesn’t compare to the touring production of “Miss Saigon.” That show will require 40 tractor-trailers to move its enormous sets.

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