Obituaries

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling

As BroadwayWorld reported earlier, Broadway actor Derek Keeling's family today announced his recent passing on December 12, 2018. As we mourn the loss of this young talent, BroadwayWorld looks back on Derek's appearances on the Great White Way. See photos from Derek's Broadway appearances below.

Keeling starred as "Danny Zuko" on Broadway in both the revival and National tour of Grease. He appeared as "Johnny Cash" in the 1st Broadway tour of Million Dollar Quartet and the Las Vegas Company. Derek also appeared as Johnny Cash in the regional tour of Ring of Fire including a stop at the Tony Award winning, Cincinnati Playhouse. Off-Broadway he won the MITF Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role as "Barry" in Connect-Disconnect. He also appeared on NBC's Grease: You're the One That I Want and finished as 2nd Runner-up.

Other credits included originating the role of "Charles Darnay" in the World Premiere of the Broadway musical A Tale Of Two Cities, "Chad" in All Shook Up (regional premiere), "The Fonz" in Happy Days the Musical (The Falcon Theatre, LA), "Glen" in The Wedding Singer (regional premiere), and "Skip" in the New York-bound new Roger Bean musical Life Could Be A Dream. Concerts include: Feinstein's in NYC, starring soloist with the California Philharmonic at Disney Hall in LA and his Tribute to the Music of Johnny Cash concert tour. Derek is a graduate of the University of Kentucky where he studied theatre and opera.

Derek was a graduate of Winfield High School and attended Mars Hill College where he was a brother of Delta Kappa Theta, and graduated with honors from the University of Kentucky.

After graduating, Derek went straight to New York where he landed his first National Tour as Danny Zuko in Grease. He performed that role over 700 times, including on Broadway, with the last time being in Istanbul, Turkey.

Derek performed all over the United States in various leading roles, including The Fonz in "Happy Days," Chad in "All Shook Up," Skip in "Life Could Be a Dream," and with the Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles with sold out shows.

While touring, he recorded some of his original songs at SUN Records in Memphis, TN. He later recorded his own album and included these songs. He wrote all of his own music and lyrics.

As per Derek's wishes, the family will host a party, a Celebration of Life, on Sunday, January 20, 2019, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Valley Park Conference Center in Hurricane. Everyone welcome. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Musical Theatre Department at the University of Kentucky Scholarship Fund in Derek's name.

Condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting www.curryfuneralhome.org.

He is survived by his parents Roger and Sandi Keeling, sister Erin Stulgis and her husband Steve Stulgis, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins and friends.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Derek Keeling ( GREASE ) attending BROADWAY on BROADWAY 2008 in Times Square, New York City. September 14, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Derek Keeling ( GREASE ) attending BROADWAY on BROADWAY 2008 in Times Square, New York City. September 14, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Derek Keeling & Ashley Spencer poster Atmosphere at GREASE playing at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre during "Black Sunday on Broadway" with nine productions closing all on the same Sunday afternoon. January 4, 2009

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Atmosphere at GREASE playing at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre during "Black Sunday on Broadway" with nine productions closing all on the same Sunday afternoon. January 4, 2009

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Derek Keeling & Ashley Spencer theatre poster for GREASE at the Brooks Atkinsoon Yheatre in New York City. October 7, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Derek Keeling & Ace Young & Keven Quillon ( GREASE ) attending BROADWAY on BROADWAY 2008 in Times Square, New York City. September 14, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Ryan Patrick Binder & Ace Young & Keven Quillon, Jose Restrepo & Derek Keeling ( GREASE ) attending BROADWAY on BROADWAY 2008 in Times Square, New York City. September 14, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Ryan Patrick Binder & Derek Keeling & Ace Young ( GREASE )attending BROADWAY on BROADWAY 2008 in Times Square, New York City. September 14, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Derek Keeling ( GREASE ) attending BROADWAY on BROADWAY 2008 in Times Square, New York City. September 14, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Derek Keeling & Ashley Spencer take a bow during Olivia Newton-John is headed back to Rydell High to promote Breast Cancer Awareness after the Curtain Call for GREASE at the Brooks Atkinsoon Yheatre in New York City. October 7, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Derek Keeling & Ashley Spencer take a bow during Olivia Newton-John is headed back to Rydell High to promote Breast Cancer Awareness after the Curtain Call for GREASE at the Brooks Atkinsoon Yheatre in New York City. October 7, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Derek Keeling & Ashley Spencer take a bow during Olivia Newton-John is headed back to Rydell High to promote Breast Cancer Awareness after the Curtain Call for GREASE at the Brooks Atkinsoon Yheatre in New York City. October 7, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Derek Keeling & Anna Aimee White during bows asAmerican Idol Heartthrob Ace Young makes his Broadway Debut in the Broadway Revival of GREASE at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York City.

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Derek Keeling & Anna Aimee White take bows as American Idol Heartthrob Ace Young makes his Broadway Debut in the Broadway Revival of GREASE at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York City. September 11, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Derek Keeling & Anna Aimee White taking bows during American Idol Heartthrob Ace Young makes his Broadway Debut in the Broadway Revival of GREASE at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York City. September 11, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Olivia Newton John and Derek Keeling during Olivia Newton-John is headed back to Rydell High to promote Breast Cancer Awareness after the Curtain Call for GREASE at the Brooks Atkinsoon Yheatre in New York City. October 7, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Olivia Newton John and Derek Keeling during Olivia Newton-John is headed back to Rydell High to promote Breast Cancer Awareness after the Curtain Call for GREASE at the Brooks Atkinsoon Yheatre in New York City. October 7, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Olivia Newton John, Derek Keeling, Ashley Spencer during Olivia Newton-John is headed back to Rydell High to promote Breast Cancer Awareness after the Curtain Call for GREASE at the Brooks Atkinsoon Yheatre in New York City. October 7, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Olivia Newton-John is headed back to Rydell High to promote Breast Cancer Awareness after the Curtain Call for GREASE at the Brooks Atkinsoon Yheatre in New York City. October 7, 2008 ( pictured: Olivia Newton John, Derek Keeling, Ashley Spencer, Ace Young )

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Olivia Newton-John is headed back to Rydell High to promote Breast Cancer Awareness after the Curtain Call for GREASE at the Brooks Atkinsoon Yheatre in New York City. October 7, 2008 ( pictured: Olivia Newton John, Derek Keeling, Ashley Spencer, Ace Young )

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Derek Keeling attends Olivia Newton-John is headed back to Rydell High to promote Breast Cancer Awareness after the Curtain Call for GREASE at the Brooks Atkinsoon Yheatre in New York City. October 7, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Derek Keeling & Ace Young attend American Idol Heartthrob Ace Young after making his Broadway Debut in the Broadway Revival of GREASE at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre presented Planet Hollywood Times Square with a T - Bird Leather Jacket as a donation to the new Broadway Memorabilia Museum in New York City. September 11, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Derek Keeling & Ace Young attend American Idol Heartthrob Ace Young after making his Broadway Debut in the Broadway Revival of GREASE at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre presented Planet Hollywood Times Square with a T - Bird Leather Jacket as a donation to the new Broadway Memorabilia Museum in New York City. September 11, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Derek Keeling & Ace Young attend American Idol Heartthrob Ace Young after making his Broadway Debut in the Broadway Revival of GREASE at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre presented Planet Hollywood Times Square with a T - Bird Leather Jacket as a donation to the new Broadway Memorabilia Museum in New York City. September 11, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Lindsay Memdez, Ace Young, Derek Keeling & Anna Aimee White during American Idol Heartthrob Ace Young makes his Broadway Debut in the Broadway Revival of GREASE at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York City. September 11, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Janine DiVita, Ace Young, Derek Keeling & Anna Aimee White during American Idol Heartthrob Ace Young makes his Broadway Debut in the Broadway Revival of GREASE at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York City. September 11, 2008

Photo Flashback: Remembering GREASE And MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Star Derek Keeling
Derek Keeling ( GREASE ) attending BROADWAY on BROADWAY 2008 in Times Square, New York City. September 14, 2008

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