Broadway veteran Kevin Gray, one of only a handful of actors to portray both Raoul and the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, has died of a heart attack at the age of 55, it was confirmed by the musical's publicist, Michael Borowski.
A consistently working actor and director, Gray, in his early thirties, became the youngest person to portray the Phantom in Lloyd Webber's gothic romance when he took on the title role in 1990, playing the role over 1,200 times. He also toured with the musical, receiving a Carbonell Award for his performance. Gray's career-long association with Lloyd Webber's work also includes the 2000 Broadway revival of Jesus Christ Superstar (in which he played Pontius Pilate) and a tour of the Lloyd Webber tribute show, Music of the Night.
Gray first gained notoriety with his performance as Kayama in the 1985 off-Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Pacific Overtures. His New York credits also include Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I (in which he became one of only three actors to play the King of Siam on Broadway), the musical Chu Chem, and off-Broadway productions of The Knife and The Death of Garcia Lorca at the New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theater. One of his most recent stage appearances came in August 2012, where he reprised his King of Siam in the St. Louis Muny's production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I.
As an actor, Gray was not limited to New York, starring as Scar for two years in the national tour of Disney's The Lion King, playing opposite John Rubinstein in the world premiere production of the musical Kiss of the Spider Woman, and playing The Engineer in the Los Angeles and Toronto productions of Miss Saigon, for which he received both a Dora Mayor Moore Award and a Los Angeles Dramalogue award. His vast list of touring and regional credits includes the shows A Little Night Music, Jesus Christ Superstar, Showboat, Titanic, Man of La Mancha, and Jekyll & Hyde.
Since 2011, Gray has served as an associate professor of theatre at the University of Hartford's Hartt School Conservatory, where he directed productions of A View from the Bridge, Sunday in the Park with George, and Miss Saigon.
He is survived by his wife, actress Dodie Pettit, whom he met while performing in The Phantom of the Opera.