Brent Carver, a delicate, soft-spoken but nakedly emotional Canadian actor and singer who gained a Tony Award for his starring position within the 1993 musical “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” died on Tuesday at his dwelling in Cranbrook, British Columbia. He was 68.
The dying was introduced by his household. No trigger was given.
In his evaluate of “Kiss of the Spider Woman” for The New York Times Frank Rich praised Mr. Carver’s portrayal of Molina, a homosexual window dresser who escapes the psychological horrors of a Latin American jail by movie-musical fantasies (carried out by Chita Rivera), and “arrives at his own heroic definition of masculinity.” Mr. Carver, Mr. Rich wrote, was “riveting.”
J. Kelly Nestruck, chief theater critic for The Globe and Mail, the Canadian newspaper, referred to as Mr. Carver “an utterly compelling, otherworldly performer.” The Washington Post referred to as his Molina — a task he additionally performed in London and Toronto — a “star-making performance.”
“Kiss of the Spider Woman,” a Kander and Ebb musical with a guide by Terrence McNally, primarily based on the Oscar-winning 1985 film and directed by Harold Prince, might have been Mr. Carver’s Broadway debut, however he already had a powerful theater profession in Canada. He spent 9 seasons at the Stratford Theater Festival in Ontario; there and elsewhere in Canada, his roles had been legion.
From the 1980s onward, he performed tragic heroes like Hamlet and Cyrano; robust guys like Pontius Pilate (“Jesus Christ Superstar”) and the Pirate King (“The Pirates of Penzance”); sorcerers and spirits like Merlin (“Camelot”), Gandalf (“Lord of the Rings”) and Ariel (“The Tempest”); a 16th-century actor who performs ladies’s roles, in “Elizabeth Rex”; and even a hard-working milkman, as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Mr. Carver by no means recognized with the idea of actors shedding themselves in a task; for him, it was simply the other. “If all things are equal, you are allowed to be more of yourself onstage than off it,” he advised The Times in 1993. “You allow that — those emotions you wouldn’t or couldn’t get in touch with in ordinary life.”
Brent Christopher Carver was born on Nov. 17, 1951, in Cranbrook, a small metropolis close to the Rocky Mountains southwest of Calgary. He was certainly one of eight youngsters of Kenneth Carver, who drove a lumber truck, and Lois (Wills) Carver, who typically labored as a waitress or a clerk.
As slightly boy, Brent usually sang along with his father, who performed guitar. Brent’s stage debut was because the lead in a fifth-grade manufacturing of “Dick Whittington and His Cat.” He studied drama at the University of British Columbia for 3 years.
When he left college in 1972, he made his stage debut as a swing forged member at the Vancouver Arts Club Theater in “Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.” When he made his Stratford debut, in 1980, it was as Edmund Tyrone, the tubercular son in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”
Mr. Carver’s comparatively few films included “Shadow Dancing” (1988), a thriller starring Christopher Plummer; “Millennium” (1989), a science fiction drama with Kris Kristofferson; and “The Event” (2003), about assisted suicide amongst New Yorkers with AIDS, with Olympia Dukakis and Parker Posey.
His tv roles included Ichabod Crane in a 1999 manufacturing of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” Leonardo da Vinci in “Leonardo: A Dream of Flight” (2002) and the title position within the short-lived Canadian sequence “Leo and Me” (1977-78). His co-star was an unknown teenage actor, Michael J. Fox.
He additionally acquired glowing notices for his solo cabaret present.
Mr. Carver returned to Broadway thrice: in “King Lear” (2004) as Edgar, in “Romeo and Juliet” (2013) as Friar Lawrence, however most notably in “Parade” (1998), as Leo Frank, the doomed factory manager wrongly convicted in 1913 of an adolescent girl’s murder. That performance brought him his second Tony nomination and a Drama Desk Award for best actor in a musical.
But his most treasured prize may have been his Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for lifetime achievement in theater in 2014. After the ceremony, he was asked what advice he would give to young performers. He talked a bit about the fear of taking on a new project and advised them to say, “I need to do this, and grace will take over.”
After a six-year break from Stratford — for decades, he lived much of the year in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario — he returned in 2017. His final festival roles were Feste the clown in “Twelfth Night” — when Kevin Tierney of The Montreal Gazette reviewed the play, he referred to Mr. Carver as a “national treasure”— and Rowley the servant in “The School for Scandal.”
Mr. Carver never married. He is survived by two brothers, Randy and Shawn, and two sisters, Vicki Stanley and Frankie Reekie.
He was a devoted theatergoer as well as an untiring performer. “I like being in a theater, like in a theater or even what someone calls a theater,” he told a Toronto Star writer interviewing him in a cafe in 2016. Then he gestured around the room. “If someone calls this a performance space, I’d be like, ‘Here we go!’”