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Vegas gambles on ‘Opera’

Shortened prod'n expected to open spring 2006

NEW YORK — The shrink-wrapped version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera” is finally coming to Las Vegas.

The Really Useful Group and Clear Channel have announced plans for a cut-down version of the long-running Broadway show. Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has long talked about cutting an hour out of his Grand Guignol tuner for a 90-minute Vegas version.

“Phantom” opened at Gotham’s Majestic Theater in early 1988 and continues its run there. Harold Prince, who helmed the original, will repeat duties on the desert redux.

Plans are for the Vegas “Phantom” to open in spring 2006 as a “permanent theatrical installation” at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in a new $25 million-$30 million theater by architect David Rockwell, who designed Hollywood’s Kodak Theater.

Maybe they’ll retitle it “Phantom of the Operetta.”

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