Broadway's Kevin Gray Dies at 55; Starred in PHANTOM, THE LION KING, SHOWBOAT, SPIDER WOMAN & More
BroadwayWorld.com has just learned the sad news that Kevin Gray, who most recently was seen in New York at the 25th Anniversary Gala for The Phantom of the Opera, passed away suddenly of a heart attack last night at the young age of 55. Gray leaves behind his wife, Dodie Pettit, who he met while starring in Broadway's Phantom.
In 2011, Gray had begun as an associate professor of theatre at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford.
Prior to that, Kevin Gray recently starred as Scar in the National Tour of Disney's The Lion King, directed by Julie Taymor. Before that, Mr. Gray toured the United Kingdom as The King in The King and I, reprising his role from the Broadway revival of Rogers and Hammerstein's classic, in which he became only the third actor in history to play the role on Broadway. Gray starred as Pontius Pilate in the Broadway revival of Jesus Christ Superstar and starred in Harold Prince's production of Showboat, as Gaylord Ravenal. He toured as the star of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Music of the Night, and appeared as The Engineer in the Los Angeles and Toronto productions of Miss Saigon, receiving the Dora Mavor Moore (Canada's Tony Award) and Los Angeles Dramalogue awards for his performances. He appears on The Complete Miss Saigon, recorded in London. He was the youngest actor to play the title role in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and on the U.S. National Tour, receiving The Carbonelle Award for his performance as The Phantom. Before that, he played Raoul in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and created the role of Valentin opposite John Rubinstein in the world premiere of the musical Kiss of the Spider Woman.
Kevin first came to the attention of New York audiences for his portrayal of Kayama in the 1985 revival of Stephen Sondheim's Pacific Overtures, and subsequently was seen on Broadway as The Prince in Chu Chem and Off-Broadway in The Knife, written and directed by David Hare, and starring Mandy Patinkin and Mary Elizabeth Mastroantonio, and The Death of Garcia Lorca, directed by Carlos Jimenez, both at The New York Shakespeare Festival. In addition, he appeared Off-Broadway in The Young Playwright's Festival at Playwright's Horizons, and as Dominique in The Baker's Wife at the York Theatre, directed by Stephen Schwartz. He appeared in the pre-Broadway revival of Night of the Iguana starring Jean Moreau, Michael Moriarity, Eileen Brennan, and Roy Dotrice, and in Romance Language at the Mark Taper Forum with Frances Conroy, Concetta Tomei, and John Vickery. Other Regional credits include The Real Thingat The Portland Stage Company, Irma La Douce at The Goodspeed Opera House, and The Tempest, Macbeth, All's Well That Ends Well, and Richard III at The Boston Shakespeare Company. Mr. Gray also created the title roles in Dracula The Covenant at the Stonington Opera House, written by Mr. Gray and his wife Dodie Pettit, and Billie Brown's Colorados, directed by Paul Giovanni at The Mount Gretna Playhouse.
In 1987, he sang the lead in Heitor Villa-Lobos' Magdalena in New York, with George Rose, Judy Kaye, Faith Esham, and Jerry Hadley, a production recorded for CBS Masterworks. His musical credits include Che in Evita, the dual leads in Jekyll and Hyde, Zach in A Chorus Line, Henrik in A Little Night Music, Nick Arnstein in Funny Girl, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, Macheath in The Three Penny Opera, the Caliph in Kismet, Billy Bigelow in Carousel, Lamar in Godspell, Lancelot in Camelot, Hero in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Minstrel in Once Upon a Mattress, Matt in The Fantasticks, and Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof.
Kevin has guest starred on Law and Order SVU, Law and Order C.I., Linc's Miami Vice, and The Equalizer; played roles on Ryan's Hope and The Guiding Light; and co-starred in the film White Hot.
Mr. Gray's also recently appeared with the symphony tour Three Phantoms in Concert. His many concert appearances include performances at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Alice Tully Hall, and he was the recipient of the National Institute For Music Theatre Award in 1989.
In addition to Magdalena and The Complete Miss Saigon, Mr. Gray also can be heard on his solo albumIt's My Time to Shine, Broadway's Fabulous Phantoms, and two recordings by Dodie Pettit: Voices of Broadway, a joint venture with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and Songs from the Journey.
Kevin has been the audio voice of many books including works by Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Nick Hornby, Lian Hearn, Alvin and Heidi Toeffler, John Yokoyama, Larry Bossidy, and Ram Charan. He has just completed recording of a musical children's book, A Frog's Tale, which he co-authored with Ms. Pettit and will be released as an EBook this year.
A graduate of Duke University, Mr. Gray has studied with William Alderson of The Neighborhood Playhouse School, Julia Wilson Dickson of The Central School of Speech and Drama, Michael MacGowan of the Royal Academy Of Speech and Drama, and at LAMDA. For the past two years, Mr. Gray served on the faculty at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where he taught Meisner Technique, Acting For Musical Theatre, Acting for Opera, and Comparative Literature, and where he has directed Cabaret, Grease, and the Humperdinck opera Hansel and Gretel.
Photo Credit: Genevieve Rafter-Keddy