Sunday, January 6, 2013

"The Phantom of Opera"--Still My Favorite Musical (Day 6 Ultimate Blog Challenge)

I suppose I have not ever written much about my favorite musical on the face of the planet, so tonight seems like the perfect time.  I have posted a video (that I only saw tonight for the first time) from the 1988 Tony Awards.  I didn't know this musical existed back then.  I was in high school, and I had heard of the story, and I think we may have heard the title song in choir, but that was about it.  I also did not know the stars--Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman.  Where shall I begin?

I will begin with my first exposure to Michael Crawford.  It was in the 1969 musical Hello, Dolly! with Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau.  He played Cornelius Hackl, and I honestly thought that is all he ever did.  I learned a little about him when I read a biography of Gene Kelly (the director of the movie).  I always enjoyed him, but I didn't know he had a career anywhere else.

I was involved in a show choir my senior year in high school (1991-1992). We got to go to New York for a competition and see a real Broadway show.  And it just so happened we were going to see Phantom.  I remember thinking that I may not like the musical, but I was going to see a real, live musical, so who cared?  Right before the show, we stopped at a little shop that sold musical merchandise.  My partner bought the tape (yes, a cassette) of the highlights from the show.  He proudly showed me, and I asked it they had the full musical version.  Yes, they did, and I bought it.  I wouldn't be able to listen to it until I got back home--no tape recorder.  But I opened the tape, and I was absolutely floored.  Michael Crawford??  Played the Phantom??  This had to be a joke!  Cornelius Hackl as the Phantom?

Do you see why I was so confused?  Compare that picture from Hello, Dolly! wish the video! (If you need to place him, watch the opening scenes of Walle.  That's his voice!)

Needless to say, I became a Phantom and Michael Crawford junkie.  I have seen Phantom three times live--once in New York, twice in Dallas.  I saw him in concert in 1998 in Florida (against my then-husband's wishes).  And I joined the fan club.  I even met my friend from England due to this fan club.  I acted the musical out once a week (at least) while in college.  I sang the title song and another song Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again for my senior recital in college.  I wrote an entire series of plays based on me (masquerading as Jeanette Norris) playing opposite Michael Crawford (and the entire original cast) in Phantom.  In the plays, she marries him.  I have a personal letter from dear old Michael.  I organized a birthday party for members of his fan club.  I even have an autographed copy of his autobiography.

As you can see, Phantom changed my life in many ways.  I have seen the movie.  I don't like it as much, but it has its moments.  After all, I got to go see it the first time my soon-to-be-ex came for visitation.  That's another long story.  I know that currently is 70 (71 on the 19th of this month--had to look it up, I thought it was the 21st).  He did play the part of the Wizard in the 2011 production of Wizard of Oz in London.  While I do not live, sleep, breathe, and eat Phantom as I once did, it is still the musical that leaves me breathless.  My only regret is that I never met Michael Crawford (probably never will), and I never got to sing with him!  I would love to.  

Part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge


  1. Fun post. I've never seen Phantom, but I have heard some of the music, and M. Crawford has an *amazing* voice. My lifelong musical love is Camelot, but I have to say that Les Miserables is beginning to run a close second; I hope to see the movie sometime this week.

  2. I have never seen Phantom of the Opera

  3. I have not seen the Phantom but would love to. I had seen something on T.V. a long time ago like this. It was really good and I've wanted to see it ever since.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Your Ad Here