Tony And Olivier Award Winning Star Michael Crawford Lends Storytelling Talents To Boost Spirits Of Sick Children's Trust Youngsters
On Tuesday, July 28th, the children at the St James' Hospital in Leeds, had a storytime with a "Phantom" and weren't scared at all, as a matter of fact there was nothing but smiles and laughter about as that "Ghost" was none other than Tony And Olivier Award winning actor Michael Crawford.
His immense and acclaimed talent, which has been seen by millions for years on the stage and screen was instead used to read to a group of the hospital's sick children. Crawford, who is President of The Sick Children's Trust, visited St James' Eckersley House as part of 'The Big Move Campaign'.
Eckersley House, which provides overnight accommodations for the families of the children, will be moving to the Leeds General Infirmary.
The beloved musical superstar's visit gave a much needed boost to the campaign which is seeking to raise £1.8m to relocate the house to the new site. Crawford remarked regarding the need for support that, "There's no charge to stay here but we have to make enough money to support those families in these positions." He has been a passionate supporter of the Trust for over 20 years.
While visiting the Sick Children's Trust home in Leeds, and watching the families spend the loving and valued time together, Michael Crawford told the BBC that, "To see the faces of a young couple, and if you have children, or have had children, it's very hard to deal with that because that could be you and there but for the grace of God go any of us."
After taking cameras on a tour of the home to help raise public awareness and funds for the home, Crawford added that it's been a conscious decision to devote more time to causes like this one while he's currently living primarily in New Zealand in semi-retirement. "I don't want to die working, I'd rather have some of the later years of my life, I really want to enjoy and to do other things than just work and to go sailing is just bliss for me, I just love it."
The Sick Children's Trust (SCT) is a UK registered charity (similar to the American "Ronald McDonald House" organization). It was founded in 1982 to alleviate family stress and promote the recovery of seriously ill children through the provision of accommodation near hospitals, where families can stay close to their sick child. The SCT relies entirely on donations from the public, corporations and trusts to fund their work. It costs The SCT approx £25.00 (around $46 US) per night to provide one room for each family and family stays can vary from just a few days to several months. The SCT is currently able to support up to 3600 families every year in its seven 'Homes from Home' across the UK.
To donate or find out more about the 'The Big Move Campaign' visit www.sickchildrenstrust.org.
Juggling both film and stage careers, Michael Crawford had established himself as one of London's finest leading men long before he opened as "the Phantom" in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera beginning one of the most widely acclaimed and memorable performances in theatre history. Few stars are as widely connected to a single role as Crawford is to "the Phantom." His Los Angeles and Broadway performances earned an astonishing catalogue of critical recognition including the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and the Los Angeles Dramalogue Award and Drama Critics Award. Since leaving "Phantom" after nearly four years in the role in London, New York and Los Angeles; Crawford has become a multi-platinum recording artist and one of the worlds's most sought after concert and stage performers, playing to sold-out venues around the globe. In addition to his recent concert work, stage credits in London and on Broadway include Billy, Flowers for Algernon, Black Comedy, Dance of the Vampires and Barnum.
Michael Crawford's most recent theatrical appearance found him originating the role of Count Fosco in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Woman in White, for which he won both the Variety Club, and WhatsOnStage.com awards.
(Editor's Note: BroadwayWorld.com's senior editorial staff sincerely hopes to see him on a stage again soon and that in the world of stars, semi-retirement is usually the first step before a 'smashing return', his creative and dedicated inspiration is sorely missed and needed behind the footlights. EV)