Broadway and beyond

April 12 and 13, Ben Crawford, the current Phantom on Broadway, came to Indianapolis for his solo concert with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. I had the pleasure of seeing him perform in “The Phantom of the Opera” for my 16th birthday last year, and those who know me can advocate for my love for the Broadway classic. It’s probably unhealthy.

Ben  Crawford is my favorite Phantom next to a few other iconic baritones. So when I found out he was coming to Indianapolis, I immediately jumped at the chance to buy tickets.

There was a fluke with the dates on my tickets on the day of the concert. The tickets my mom had purchased turned out to be for the Friday before, and I was lucky to get last minute tickets for the front row. I may have cried.

Ben Crawford has been to Indianapolis on more than one occasion. He has hosted Yuletide on more than one occasion but never has performed a solo concert as he did on Saturday night. He had auditioned to perform with the ISO years prior, far before he blew up on Broadway. The director recognized his talent, and since then, he has been a favorite of the ISO’s.

Ben Crawford performed a variety of songs from the orchestra debut of “Waving Through a Window,” from Billy Joel’s classics, and some Russian operas I can’t recall the name off. His talent is universal across several genres of music. I’ve also never seen someone perform with a live orchestra, especially one as talented as the ISO, so seeing that life for the first time was also pretty cool.

Ben Crawford’s voice is truly one of a kind. When I saw him on Broadway last year I was blown away, but I had no idea prior to the concert that his talents were so broad.

The girl sitting next to me even skipped her prom and came all the way from Ohio to see Ben Crawford perform live.

“It was definitely the most fun I’ve had in a long time,” said Claire O’Brien, 11, “Ben Crawford never ceases to amaze me. His performance was moving and amazing.”

I got invited backstage after the concert to go and meet Ben Crawford. This was far more than I bargained for. Though, it was a little weird for a teenage girl and her friends to walk backstage behind a group of giggling old ladies. Nonetheless, it was dope to hear one of my favorite people in the business address me by my first name.