The November 16th edition of the trade magazine Variety carries an ad on page 17 that is another effort to keep original stage Phantom, Michael Crawford, in the running for the up-coming Warner Brothers Phantom of the Opera film.
The full page black and white ad paid for by the Michael Crawford Phantom Movie Campaign features a mask, an image of Crawford in the midst of a filmstrip, and the famous chandelier crashing. The ad's opening reads:
"The financial success of any work of art depends on the fans who pay to see it. Forty million fans enjoyed Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera on stage. Thirteen million people around the world purchased the Original Cast Recording. Michael Crawford is indelibly impressed upon them as the voice of the Phantom.
"We will not pay to see any other actor portray the Phantom on film."
To raise money for the ad, the MCPMC raffled off a porcelain doll recreation of the Phantom and an EFX program signed by Crawford. Tickets for the raffle went for $50 a piece with an all entries consolation gift of a "Anyone for President -- Michael Crawford for Phantom" tee-shirt.
Linda Okada was the big winner, taking home the "two of a kind" doll (Crawford was given the other in 1990). Renee Rothera won the program.
Website protests against Phantom casting and a Phantom movie have existed since John Travolta was first mentioned in 1997 as a front runner for the movie role. The biggest protest is the Michael Crawford Phantom Movie Campaign, begun in the April of 1998 by Diane and Steve Flogerzi. With a membership of "300 active organizers with a steering committee of 12," the group seeks a "Phantom" film with Crawford as the lead. The MCPMC website is located at http://www.av.qnet.com/~smf/phantom.htm. Despite protests, the role of the Phantom seems most likely to be Antonio Banderas'. Banderas, best known musically for portraying Che in the movie Evita, signed a Phantom contract Aug. 14, according to a spokesman for Banderas' agent, Emmanuel Nunez.