Anyone who knows me--really knows me--knows the importance of this musical in my life. It was the first (and only) musical I ever saw on Broadway: The Phantom of the Opera. It was a very special time in my life, Trust me, I could tell you the long story, but I'll shorten it the best I can.
When I was a junior in high school (and even earlier), I made the decision to do everything I could to be in our high school's show choir. Originally, I wanted to join because I had an immense crush on one of the main guys in the group. I took singing lessons, and, more importantly, I took dance lessons. I had to learn rhythm. I did not grow up in a "dancing" family. I worked very hard, and I made it in! I was so excited, and I learned that we would be going to New York. I learned also that we would be seeing The Phantom of the Opera while there. Up to this point, my only exposure with the musical had been a couple songs we had tried to sing in choir. I remember wondering if I would like it, but I didn't worry too much. After all, it was Broadway!
I will never forget the night we went to see Phantom. We were more dressed up than most of the people, and there were actually kids who slept through the musical! Yes, I know we didn't have much sleep, but how could you sleep through this musical? It was phenomenal.
But the main part of my story starts right before we saw the musical. I was stuck "palling" around with my show choir partner (I could write 50 more posts about him at least!) who was so very annoying. We happened to be in a shop on Broadway that had memorabilia from the current musicals. My show choir partner showed me the cassette he just purchased--the highlights from Phantom. (Yes, cassette tapes--that should date me. It was 1992). The thought occurred to me that I should get the entire soundtrack from the musical. And so I did. My partner was so impressed that he exchanged his tape for the same thing I got.
As I read the back of the tape, a name jumped out at me''Michael Crawford."
I was a student of old musicals, and I knew Michael Crawford from:
How could he now be this?
From the moment I heard him sing, I became enamored with Michael Crawford. I planned to become a musical star in New York. I wrote a very long series of plays based on Michael Crawford. I saw him live in concert. I joined his fan club. I met Martin.
I'm sure you see the progression. It is a night I shall never forget as long as I live. And now you probably won't either!