Last night, we saw Crawford in the role of Phantom at Phantom Of The Opera on Broadway.
Not Michael Crawford, of course, but Ben Crawford from Arizona who’s been making his mark in the Big Apple.
His journey to becoming the Phantom began when his grandparents raved about Michael Crawford in the role in LA.
That seed sprouted and is bearing fruit; and it’s a different kind of fruit, too.
Unlike the Phantoms before him, Ben Crawford desscends the staircase upright and facing forward rather creeping down backwards. That’s caused some minor grumbles among die hards but to this audience member, he has assumed the role powerfully.
Ben holds focus when on stage, as you would expect, and was suitably accompanied by Meghan Picerno in the role of Christine. Their voices were powerful, controlled, and pleasing. Unfortunately, John Riddle as Raoul, had some technical issues with his microphone, which truncated the opening note or two of each line.
This musical has the grand music with the Phantom’s enduring theme and the hauntingly beautiful, Al I Ask Of You. Of course, as other critics have noted, there is much filler music in this show to create the background of a working Paris Opera Theatre.
Masqerade is one of the most contrived songs in the musical and has its own chequered history during the writing phase. However, the various operatic moments and chorus offerings were superbly performed and the cast received a standing ovation.
This production at the Majestic Theatre is exquisite and elaborate, like most Broadway productions. From the misty water and row boat, to the swinging and plunging chandelier, everything in this musical production is grand. Sepia colour tones throughout, from curtains to lighting, create an 1880s atmosphere and lend an aura of mystery.
This is quite the experience and well worth a visit if you’re in New York soon. Well, maybe you don’t need to rush. this production is just having its 32nd anniversary, so you probably have a few more months or years up your sleeve!