There are plastic tarps everywhere at the Ahmanson. Covering the carpets, covering the seats. Huge light boxes are stacked in the lower lobby. Electric cables crisscross the floors backstage. Dozens of props-the Phantom's organ, a bed, the famous chandelier-are unceremoniously piled together on stage. Gold-leaf figurines smile down from the rafters. Drills are humming, machinery is moving up and down, walkie-talkies are abuzz with workmen conferring.
The memory makers come in various forms-some of which are already available at the Music Center Gift Shop. Since last November, $9,740 worth of Phantom merchandise has been sold. The in-house concession stands will feature: T-shirts ($15), sweat shirts ($22), mugs ($10), matches ($5), buttons ($2), window cards ($12), songbooks ($15), records ($22), cassettes ($22), compact discs ($40), "Phantom perfume" ($35), silver-plated key rings ($15), "The Complete Phantom" (a history of the show, $30), souvenir programs ($5) and postcards ($1).
Note: These are not just ordinary T-shirts, sweat shirts and mugs. The garments are emblazoned with a white Phantom logo that glows green in the dark, thanks to phosphorescent ink. And the white-mask logo mysteriously appears on the plain black "magic mug" when the container is filled with hot liquid (a special oxidized ink creates the effect). "We're shipping thousands of everything," [Seth Felson] added. "I've already sold $2 million in 50 weeks in New York; we're anticipating sales of $40,000 a week in L.A. We're in this for the long haul."