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‘Phantom’ Ticket Sales Halted : Anaheim Theater Acts After Legal Threat Over Ken Hill ‘Opera’ Version

Times Staff Writer

The Celebrity Theatre in Anaheim halted ticket sales Thursday for Ken Hill’s “The Phantom of the Opera” after a threat of legal action by the producers, who say the sales are unauthorized.

H. Yale Gutnick, attorney for the Phantom Touring Co., said the theater had done “a substantial amount” of business in advance ticket sales.

“We don’t know how many tickets they’ve sold because we are not getting good information from them,” Gutnick said Thursday from his office in Pittsburgh, “but our conservative ‘guesstimate’ is in the neighborhood of $100,000 at least.”

Celebrity Theatre officials have failed to respond to repeated inquiries from The Times Orange County Edition, which reported Wednesday that Hill’s “Phantom” will not be coming to the theater.

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A box-office clerk, however, said Thursday that ticket sales had been discontinued that morning.

The show--a version of the “The Phantom of the Opera” that inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical--has been advertised by the theater for a December engagement without authorization for the several months, Gutnick said.

He was scheduled to speak with theater officials Thursday and said he would demand that all ticket purchases be refunded.

Klaus Kolmar, the New York booking agent for the show’s upcoming national tour, said earlier this week that the theater had been negotiating for the show for several months but had never concluded a contract.

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He said the producers required a deposit in the “low five figures” and that the theater “never deposited 2 cents.”

Moreover, Kolmar said, the tour producers rejected both the theater’s seating capacity and the five-day engagement that Celebrity officials have been advertising because “it was inadequate for the production.”

“The potential gross did not make any sense,” he said.

The theater’s full-round configuration has a capacity of 2,500 seats. It would have to be transformed into a proscenium setting for the show, reducing capacity to about 1,500 seats. Kolmar said the show needs 1,800 to 2,500 seats to turn a profit in a limited run.

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Hill’s “Phantom” will play the 2,198-seat Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles (Nov. 20 to Dec. 3) and the 2,200-seat Symphony Hall in San Diego (Dec. 18 to Jan. 1) as part of a national tour. The show ran for more than nine months in San Francisco at the 700-seat Theatre on the Square.


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