Review: ‘Michael Crawford in Concert’

Standard-issue PBS concert fare, Michael Crawford delights a house of "Phantom" phanatics with a generally tender program of Broadway tunes and a pair of cuts from his latest disc, "On Eagle's Wings."

Standard-issue PBS concert fare, Michael Crawford delights a house of “Phantom” phanatics with a generally tender program of Broadway tunes and a pair of cuts from his latest disc, “On Eagle’s Wings.” He begins the show with a bizarre out-of-context choice, the unsettling “Gethsemane” from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Jesus Christ Superstar,” before strolling through one peaceful ballad after another.

In a voice that bears resemblance to a vibrato-less Johnny Mathis, Crawford’s act is a formal meeting ground for Broadway revue and nightclub act. The orchestra and Loyola Marymount choir provide suitable support as he winds through “Hello Dolly’s!” “Before the Parade Passes By” and “Love Changes Everything” from Lloyd Webber’s “Aspects of Love.”

Crawford sings and delivers lengthy anecdotes with actorly polish, his amusing stories about his Irish grandmother, Gene Kelly and the buildup before his long tenure as Broadway’s “Phantom” scripted with equal doses of humor, pity and triumph. A duet with Dale Christian on “The Phantom of the Opera,” naturally, brings down the packed house. New Atlantic CD “On Eagle’s Wings” is a collection of inspirational songs, the two selections performed here reflecting a New Age tinge.

Michael Crawford in Concert

Mon. (9), 8-9:30 p.m., PBS

Production

Filmed in Cerritos by PBS in association with Warner Bros. Domestic Pay-TV, Cable and Network Features. Executive producer, Dwight Hemion; producers, Gaile Purse, Allen Kelman; director, Hemion.

Cast

Writer, Buzz Kohan; production designer, Rene Lagler; lighting designer, Bob Dickinson; music director, Ian Fraser.
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