The Man Behind The Mask
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When you hear the name Michael Crawford, what's the very first thing that
comes to mind? Most likely it's The Phantom of the Opera. And it should.
It was the show that rocketed him to superstardom and made his name a
household word in the US.
But is that it? Is the Phantom all he's known for? Not hardly.
Before the Phantom was Frank Spencer of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em,
Corneilus Hakl of Hello, Dolly! and the list goes on.
Michael Crawford is an extrodinary artist with an amazing voice and the
man behind the mask is just as interesting as the Phantom himself.
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Angel of Music: A True Story
London was introduced to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical
The Phantom of the Opera in 1986. The complete original London cast
recording was released in 1987 abroad. It became a huge success.
In an American town there was a very little girl who fell asleep listening to the
local classical music station. This particular night happened to be Halloween.
Pretending to be asleep, she stayed up listening to the radio.She was not paying
close attention to what was on, as her very vivid imagination was busy at work,
until a song that was different from the rest came on.The music was beautiful,but
the voice singing was captivating. It was so pretty, that the little girl wished she
could hold on to it forever. But the song ended and it was late, so soon the girl
The next morning, the song still echoed in her head, but she couldn't remember
very many of the words. So she made her own words to fill in the gaps. The
words she did remember were, "... music of the night..."
Eventually, the song faded and the memory of the voice grew dim.A few years
passed and she heard the song and voice again, and again it was all but
In the meantime, the little girl discovered the 1943 movie The Phantom of the
Opera and fell in love with the story Her favorite character was the Phantom and
Claude Rains became one of her favorite actors.She did not remember the song
with the beautiful voice while watching Phantom. She had no idea the two were
Halloween came once again and she found out that the radio station had started
a tradition of playing the soundtrack of the musical Phantom of the Opera several
years prior. Once again she heard the song and the voice and found of that the
song had a name, "Music of the Night".
The years passed and the little girl tried to remember to listen to the broadcast,
but she either forgot or came in on the middle of it and fell asleep before the end.
The voice never lost its hold on her. No, it was quite the opposite.
Then finally,with fierce determine to discover who the voice belonged to,she sat
down on Halloween and listened from the beginning.Again she fell asleep before
it was over, but the voice had a name.
Unfortunately, she forgot the name,and couldn't for the world remember it.Then
one day while watching the Today show,she saw a performance of "Music of the
Night". She got so excited that she recorded it, only to listen to it again and
realize that the voice wasn't the same one she had grown up with. The tape was
Then finally the little girl, who wasn't so little anymore, found that tape again,
and became more determined than ever to find out who the voice belonged to.
She got online and spent several frustrating days trying to the voice's owner.
Then she started listening to the clips of music on the web sites. On one labeled
"Music of the Night" was the voice! Ecstatic, she quickly went back to the page
that told who sang what And there it was.The voice belonged to none other than
Michael Crawford. She began to taken in anything she could find on him and in
the process, fell in love with the Phantom in its many forms.
Her collection began with the complete original London cast recording and has
grown to now include books,sheet music (which she is learning to play) pictures
galore, and much more.And in a separate collection are many Michael Crawford
CDs and a concert video.
Her parents don't mind this at all. After all, it could be worse, she could be a
Backstreet Boys fanatic.
And that's how I became a Michael Crawford Fan.