Chris Mann has become used to the spotlight. After becoming a finalist on Christina Aguilera’s team for the hit show “The Voice” in 2012, Mann is now playing the lead role of the Phantom on the North American tour of “The Phantom of the Opera” — and he’s using that fame to draw attention to a disease that has touched his life personally: Alzheimer’s.
Mann’s paternal grandmother was diagnosed with early-onset in her 40’s, as were two of her three sisters and her mother. His maternal grandmother also had begun showing signs of the disease at the time of her death. Mann naturally fears that the disease will eventually be passed down to his father, his sister, and himself.
So when Mann met neuroscientist Rudolph Tanzi when they were working on separate PBS specials in Atlanta, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to pick his brain about Alzheimer’s research. They instantly hit it off. Tanzi was a musician himself, and about a year after they met, Tanzi sent Mann lyrics to a song he and his wife had written about Alzheimer’s — and asked if Mann would co-write it with them. The song was inspired by the book “Still Alice”, written by Tanzi’s friend Lisa Genova. The book was adapted a major motion picture starring Julianne Moore (who won a 2015 Grammy Award for the role and an Academy Award nomination).
After the initial positive response to the song, Mann and his wife Laura decided to create a music video to go along with it. Relying on the cast of “The Phantom of the Opera,” the music video features dancer Christina Dooling shedding the sadness and confusion (and prosthetic make-up) of Alzheimer’s throughout the piece to reveal a younger, vibrant self.
When I can’t find the words that I trying to speak
When I don’t know the face in the mirror I see
When I feel I’m forgotten and lost in this world
Won’t you please remember me