The Westport News

Friday, January 6, 2006

Phantom Alumni Kevin Gray and Dodie Pettit
To Take Part in History on the Great White Way.

By Carol King

Local celebrities Kevin Gray and his wife, Dodie Pettit, will be on hand this Monday when history is made on the Great White Way.

The Westport-based couple – who met in 1989 while holding roles in the Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera – will return to New York’s Majestic Theatre Jan. 9 when the production takes on the title of “longest-running show on Broadway.”

When the Phantom cast presents the production’s 7,486th show, it will surpass the 7,485-show record held by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS.

Pettit and Gray will take part in the Phantom celebration, which includes a one-night-only on –stage presentation marking the historic occasion as well as a private masked ball at the a Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

Pettit, who also performed in CATS, is among few Broadway performers to have held roles in two record-holding productions.

An actress, singer, dancer and songwriter, Pettit was an original cast member of The Phantom of the Opera, completing a six-year run of the show, including a two-and-a-half year U.S. national tour of 13 cities, appearing in the role of Christine Daae in Philadelphia and Boston.

“In all, I have played about nine different riles in the show and I spent about three and a half years on the road,” she told the Westport News. “It was wonderful. It was like being in the same show but experiencing it from different characters’ points of view.”

Prior to her Phantom performances, she completed a four-year-run in CATS on Broadway. “ I played a few different roles in CATS,” she said. “I was Victoria, Jellylorum, Gumbycat, Sillabub, and Rumpleteaser. I worked with the great leading ladies, Betty Buckley and the late Laurie Beechman, who was phenomenal.”

Additionaly, Pettit appeared in an MTV-style video of CATS “Rum Tum Tugger”.

Prior to her Broadway career, Pettit was principal dancer with the Garden State Ballet and Princeton Ballet.

A BMI songwriter and arranger whose credits include songs on the Billboard Pop and Dance charts, Shel Silverstein’s Grammy-nominated “A Light in the Attic” and the film Critters, she has released two CD’s of original pop/country songs, titled Songs From the Journey and Playin’ With the Boys.

She also produced Voices, an album of her songs featuring the voices of many of Broadway’s best-known names. Regional credits include the role of Patsy Cline, in A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline at Kawartha Theater, Lindsay Ontario, A Chorus Line (Cassie), Footloose (Vi) Singin’ In The Rain (Miss Dinsmore and Girl in the Green Dress.)

As a vocal and dance instructor, she is focusing her efforts locally, assisting with the upcoming Bedford Middle School musical production, Just So, which will be performed this month. Her web site is expected to be fully running in a few weeks.

Gray, who graduated from Staples High School in 1976, is one of only 11 performers to hold the title role of “The Phantom” in Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera.

Although he was not a member of the Staples Players during high school, he was in Jacques Brel, sang in the pit for Godspell and walked across the stage singing in Comedy of Errors.

He recently returned from a yearlong tour of the United Kingdom as “the King” in The King and I.

Prior to the he was history’s third and most recent king in The King and I on Broadway.

While playing the title rile in The Phantom of the Opera and national tour, he received the Carbonelle Award for his performance.

His Broadway and national tour appearances include Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar, Thomas Andrews in Titanic, Gaylord Ravenal in Harold Prince’s production of Show Boat, Raoul in Phantom of the Opera, The Prince in Chu Chem and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Music of the Night.

His off-Broadway and regional appearances include Pacific Overtures, the Baker’s Wife, The Knife, The Death of Garcia Lorca, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Night of the Iguana, Irma La Douce, Romance Language, Macbeth, Richard III and All’s Well That End’s Well.

On television Gray has appeared on “Law and Order SVU” “Criminal Intent,” “Linc’s,” “The Guiding Light,” “Ryan’s Hope,” and the Feature “White Hot”.

He is a recipient of The National Institute for Music Theatre Award, and has sung at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall, and recorded for CBS Masterworks and First Night Records.

The regular schedule of The Phantom of the Opera is Monday and Wednesday through Saturday at 8p.m. and Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m.