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Broadway actor Kevin Gray dies at 54

Was youngest actor to play Phantom on Rialto

Legiter Kevin Gray, who billed top roles in “Miss Saigon,” “Music of the Night” and “The Phantom of the Opera” and taught at U. of Hartford, died of a heart attack on Feb. 11 in Hartford, Conn. He was 54.

Gray first grabbed Gotham’s attention with perfs in “Chu Chem” and the 1985 revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “Pacific Overtures,” as well as Off Broadway’s “The Knife” and “The Death of Garcia Lorca.” Working his way up, Gray sang lead in Heitor Villa-Lobos’ “Magdalena,” a prod recorded for CBS Masterworks and progressed to snag key spots in a handful of mega-musicals.

Most recently he played Scar in a national tour of “The Lion King” and toured Blighty as the King in “The King and I.” Gray starred in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Music of the Night,” as well as “Jesus Christ Superstar” and as the Engineer in the L.A. and Toronto prods of “Miss Saigon.”

Gray was the youngest actor to play the titular role in Broadway’s “The Phantom of the Opera.” He also played Raoul.

Regionally he put in work with Boston Shakespeare Company, the Mount Gretna Playhouse, the Portland Stage Company and Stonington Shakespeare Company.

Gray appeared on TV and film as well, guest starring on series such as “Miami Vice” and “Ryan’s Hope” and appearing in feature film “White Hot.”

Voice appears on “The Complete Miss Saigon,” recorded in London, as well as his solo album “It’s My Time to Shine, Broadway’s Fabulous Phantoms,” and two records by his wife, Dodie Pettit: “Songs From the Journey” and “Voices of Broadway.”

In 2011 Gray began a stint as an associate professor of theater at the Hartt School at the U. of Hartford.

Gray is survived by his wife, Pettit.

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