Drawing: Michael Crawford in The Phantom of the Opera

Michael Crawford Phantom

The legendary screen and stage actor Michael Crawford has returned to the West End in the musical adaption of LP Hartley’s novel THE GO-BETWEEN. He plays the elderly Leo Colson who looks back to the summer of 1900 when, as a boy he acted as a go-between in a secret love affair.

Michael has kindly signed drawings for me in the past and has also accompanied the renderings with complimentary letters. I realised I hadn’t drawn him as the Phantom, the role he originated and that catapulted him into the stratosphere when Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA premiered in London in 1986. Michael was not the original choice to play the sinister figure who haunts a Parisian theatre. When Lord Webber and his wife Sarah Brightman (the original Christine) arrived early at her vocal coach’s studio. While they were waiting, they heard Michael singing a piece from Handel’s ATALANTA in another room. He subsequently auditioned for PHANTOM and was hired on the spot.

Michael’s rich baritone voice hypnotised audiences in 1,300 performances over three years in London, Broadway and Los Angeles, winning both the Olivier and Tony Awards. It set the benchmark for all who have played the masked recluse since.

I left this drawing at the Apollo last week, which he signed it for me. THE GO-BETWEEN runs until October.

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