Michael Crawford is back on the London stage in Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical of the Wilkie Collins novel The Woman In White.

Chris Leggett, Total Entertainment   www.teletext.co.uk

Crawford fansite organiser Gale Lew admits the pressure is on for the star.

She says: "So far the reviewers are making a big deal about how much Michael is disguised in his make-up and fat suit as Count Fosco, to the point that some people wonder where Michael is once the curtains go up." After their success in 1986 with The Phantom Of The Opera, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and actor Michael Crawford have reunited for new West End musical The Woman In White.

Gale Lew, a US-based finance worker who runs a Michael Crawford fan site, says expectation is high among admirers.

She says: "The critics have found the 3-D effect of the stage set fascinating. Time will tell whether this show will be a hit or not." Michael Crawford is back on the West End stage after 18 years because he finally has a project to match the offers he gets from Las Vegas and other US cities, believes devotee Gale Lew.

She says: "His return indicates that he has found something worthwhile at home to do. "I read once that he said that he was spending so much time out of the country, mainly the US, because he had to be where the work was." Michael Crawford fan site chief Gale Lew says the actor is appealing because he is "fairly attractive, even sexy".

She says: "What I think makes him more appealing than some other performers is that he puts a lot of passion in his performance. "He is sexy when he performs, no matter what role he plays. It's like he makes love to his audiences. Personally, I like Michael's twinkle in his eyes when he is giving interviews on TV."

Devoted Michael Crawford fan Gale Lew says it is timely that the performer is working with Andrew Lloyd Webber on West End musical The Woman In White. American Gale says: "If it weren't for Sir Andrew, he wouldn't be as famous as he is now. "It was a chance encounter when Michael was having a voice lesson which led to Sir Andrew casting him in his most famous role of the Phantom."

Michael Crawford devotee Gale Lew has her own ideas of his highs and lows.

She says: "His best performance is playing the role of the Phantom. He is very versatile and can do well in any type of role that he would like.

"The most disappointing is Count Von Krolock in Dance Of The Vampires. It was unfair how critics lambasted him for having taken on the role. I've heard one song and it sounded pretty good. He seemed a sexy vampire to me."

Devoted Michael Crawford fan Gale Lew dismisses some critics' suggestions that the star is cheesy.

She insists: "They're mistaken. Michael has a lot of talent and class. He has worked hard to get to where he is."

Gale has her own ideas on the future for the performer: "Perhaps he could have his own talkshow. Maybe he could jump on to the reality show bandwagon and do a show where he chooses someone to perform with him in a concert."

Gale Lew's Michael Crawford website gets hits from admirers as far afield as Greenland, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.

She says Crawford is kinder than some stars: "Michael shows his appreciation of his fans. When the fan club has a birthday party for him and he's not there, he writes a letter. He gets tons of fan mail but he recalls a fan on sight from the photos they send him."

Visit Gale's Crawford website at megspace.com/entertainment/mcfan/(This was the server where the site used to be hosted on.)