Kevin Gray — the 1976 Staples High School graduate who became the youngest actor to play the lead role in “Phantom of the Opera,” and acted in or directed more than 150 productions — died in 2013, of a heart attack. He was just 55.
Kevin met his wife, Dodie Pettit, in “Phantom.” Quite a performer herself, she starred in “Cats” on Broadway, was in 3 Tony-winning shows, and worked with Staples Players (where her husband learned his craft) in a summer production.
Since then, Dodie has kept Kevin’s memory alive. She produced a tribute CD, with over 170 Broadway singers. She also hosted and organized an evening of songs at the Levitt Pavilion, dedicated to her husband.
But life goes on. Now Dodie’s life has taken a wonderful turn.
In 1979 she met Rex Fowler. He was Aztec Two-Step’s singer/songwriter. She was hired to play guitar and sing on the folk rock band’s 5th album.
Nearly 40 years later they ran into each other again.
On August 4, they got married.
The ceremony — in Dodie’s Meeker Road back yard — included locals Terry Eldh, Raissa Katona Bennett and Frank Mastrone. All were in “Phantom,” and all sang at the ceremony.
Mary Jo Duffy was there; she sang too. Many musician friends of Rex’s performed, including his Aztec Two-Step partner of 47 years, Neal Shulman.
Of course, Dodie and Rex sang as well.
Rex has adopted Dodie into his band, on guitar, piano and vocals. They’ve toured often since the spring, when they announced their engagement.
They play Saturday, September 15 at the Mitchell Farm Fest in East Haddam, Connecticut. Jonathan Edwards is also on the bill.
A Westport date may be in the works.
Congratulations, Dodie and Rex!