Tim, Joan, and David Ashcraft are pictured backstage with Ben Crawford who plays the Phantom in the current Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera after his performance at the Majestic Theatre on October 5, 2018.
By Dr. David Ashcraft
Ben Crawford is a 2000 graduate of Sahuaro High School where he participated in band, concert choir and Sahuaro Singers. He was also a member of the AMEA Regional Honor Choir and participated in the State Solo and Ensemble Festival. While at Sahuaro, he competed on the school's varsity swimming and volleyball teams. Ben's introduction to musical theatre involved roles as Moonface Martin in Anything Goes and Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof at Sahuaro where Dr. David Ashcraft was the Choral Director.
Changing his college major from pre-med to musical theatre, Ben held numerous lead roles in the theatre department at the University of Arizona prior to graduating in 2005 with a BFA degree. His ascent to Broadway was rapid. He became the understudy for Jean Valjean in Les Misérables and was the last Shrek to play on Broadway. Ben's other lead roles on Broadway have included shows such as Big Fish and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. When not on Broadway, Ben has been featured in performances with the Indianapolis and Chicago Symphonies, among others.
Ben was featured in The Standbys, a 2012 television documentary that chronicled the lives of singer/actors who served as understudies and standbys waiting for their big break on Broadway. He credits his years at Sahuaro with cultivating his interest and providing him the opportunity to delve into the world of musical theatre.
Ben was inducted into the Sahuaro High School Cougar Hall of Fame in 2014.