As the record-breaking Broadway run of The Phantom of the Opera comes to an end today, it serves as a tribute to the original Phantom, Michael Crawford, who shared the stage.
Tonight, we are celebrating at the Majestic Theatre with all those who are involved in this truly original and special Broadway production. My heart is full of gratitude and love for everyone, including those from the creative team and the company. Unfortunately, I can’t be there for the final performance due to an ill-timed dental emergency surgery. I want to thank you for carrying on the legacy of this beautiful show for thirty-five years. Wishing the alumni, orchestra, crew, and cast of The Phantom of the Opera an unforgettable closing night.
I’m so grateful for the opportunity afforded to me and I’m sad that I can’t be there with you all to love Michael’s performance as much as you. It has given me hope that I will stay with them for years to come and experience such an amazing and extraordinary piece of theatre work. What an incredible experience it was to work on such a magical and extraordinary piece of theatre.
The London cast recording of 1987, which has sold over 12 million copies worldwide, solidified Crawford’s vocal performance on Phantom. After receiving rave reviews and enthusiastic audiences during its limited run at the Apollo Shaftesbury Theater, Crawford returned to the West End stage in the new musical The Go-Between. In 2014, he was honored as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his charitable work, especially for children’s charities. He played the lead role in London, New York, and Los Angeles for three and a half years, receiving the Best Actor in a Musical Olivier Award for his performance. In addition, he was appointed an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) by the Queen and received his second Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Crawford’s impressive list of accolades includes the Los Angeles Dramalogue Award, Drama Critics Award, Outer Critics Circle Awards, Drama Desk, and Broadway’s Tony Awards. His portrayal of The Phantom in the hit musical earned him widespread critical recognition.
His memoir, which chronicles his journey from his youth during World War II to his collaborations with John Lennon and Steve McQueen in film, as well as his time as the original Phantom, was revealed with the release of Parcel Arrived Safely: Tied With String. The narrative of Crawford’s diverse and esteemed 40-year career encompasses various accomplishments, including the RIAA platinum-certified Michael Crawford Performs Andrew Lloyd Webber; Michael Crawford in Concert, the album that accompanies his dual Emmy-nominated PBS special; On Eagle’s Wings, a collection of sacred songs that achieved success on Billboard’s Contemporary Christian chart; and the album that accompanies EFX, which premiered in Las Vegas with Crawford in the prominent leading role. Crawford’s extensive list of credits on both screen and stage spans from the highly regarded film adaptation of Hello Dolly to his highly praised performance in the London production of Flowers for Algernon, not to mention his beloved character in the 1970’s British sitcom Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em.