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Alvin Crawford stars as Crown in The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess

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The youngest of six children, born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Crawford is a graduate of Julliard School of Music in New York.

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As a six foot, six inch tall high school student he was into playing basketball. He heard about a musical Guys and Dolls at his high school. He heard about the cast party and he wanted to go so he auditioned for Guys and Dolls and got the role of Rusty Charlie. He, along with four other students, was sent to a voice teacher. The voice teacher told Crawford that he should study with her voice teacher, Ms. Eleanor Cables.

Cables signed Crawford up to participate in an annual singing competition held by Kiwanis International. He sang “Old Man River” from Jerome Kern’s “Showboat.” He won at the district level, the regional level and at the state finals.

He auditioned for the Buddy Holly Story and was picked to play Sam Cooke. He spent his last year of high school on the road touring with the rest of the cast on the Buddy Holly Story.

One night during a discussion about what he was going to do after the show ended, he was introduced to Gregg Burge a graduate of the dance division of Julliard. Crawford went for a tour and the elevator stopped on the fourth floor. The floor was filled with practice rooms. He heard the sounds of people warming up with their instruments and singing. Each practice room at Juilliard had a Steinway piano in it. At that point, Crawford knew he had found his home. He earn his bachelor’s and masters’ degrees in vocal performance and continued his education at the Juilliard Opera Center an “elite finishing school.”

In his freshman year, he auditioned for “Miss Saigon” and was picked as the understudy to the character of John. He was now performing on Broadway while attending school. In his junior year, Crawford quit the show because he needed to devote more time to his studies. After earning his bachelor’s degree he worked on Candide, then returned to earn his master’s degree.

He auditioned for “The Lion King” and was picked to participate in the specialized language classes. Crawford didn’t complete the classes because he got an opportunity to sing opera in Europe. He performed in various productions, i.e., “The Magic Flute” and “Don Giovanni” by Mozart, “Don Carlos” by Verdi, “Hansel and Gretel” by Humperdinck.

While in Vienna, he got a call to audition for “The Lion King.” Crawford returned to the New York, auditioned and was selected to be a cast member. He was the understudy for Mufasa. He enjoyed the flexibility of working with “The Lion King” and being able to participate in other productions. After six years, Crawford left to play the character Bobo in “A Raisin In The Sun” directed by Phylicia Rashad at the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut. He performed in the “Pirates Of Penzance” with Glenn Close, Martin Short, Kevin Klein and Eric Idle in New York’s Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

In his first Texas debut, Crawford played the character Jim in Casa Manana’s production of “Big River.”

He is now staring in “The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess” a Broadway Musical playing Crown.

“I think one of the beauties of Porgy & Bess is that it is an American classic. It is a real joy to be able to share this across America in this national tour,” said Crawford.

“Even though Crown is the villain, I think he is misunderstood. Crown is a guy who is an addict and he loves Bess in the way he does. It is an exciting and fun relationship but not a healthy one. Bess and Crown are in a toxic relationship that doesn’t feed each other well. Crown doesn’t like Bess’ desire to leave the relationship. It is a story that people can relate to. Everybody knows somebody who has been in a bad relationship,” said Crawford.

“The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess” a Broadway Musical national tour makes its Dallas premier on Wed., Dec. 11 and will run through Sun. Dec. 22. Ticket prices range from $30 to $150, with prime orchestra seats for most performances priced at $85. Tickets can be purchased online at www.attpac.org/porgy, by phone at 214-880-0202 or in person at the AT&T Performing Arts Center Information Center, 2353 Flora Street (Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.).

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Copyright © 2013 Robin D. Everson. All rights reserved.

Robin is also the Examiner for Dallas Food and Wine and Dallas Places and Faces. Please feel free to leave a comment or share the article via your favorite social media site.

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