Born in Rockville Center, New York, in 1950, David Carroll (sometimes billed as David-James Carroll) is best known for his work in musical theater. At Dartmouth College, where he was an undergraduate, he helped found the repertory company. In 1974 he was an understudy in the Circle in the Square Theatre’s revival of Frank Loesser’s Where’s Charley?, and in 1975 he was an original cast member of the revue Rodgers & Hart at the Helen Hayes Theatre.
In the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 1976 production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Biblical musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – the first major production of Joseph in New York – Carroll played the title role.
In 1981, he played Eastern Mousada in Valenti and Driver’s short-lived musical Oh Brother! at the ANTA Playhouse (now called the August Wilson Theatre). In Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1982), a musical based on the 1954 film of the same name (with a book by Lawrence Kasha and David Landay; music by Gene de Paul, Al Kasha, and Joel Hirschhorn; and lyrics by Johnny Mercer, Al Kasha, and Joel Hirschhorn), Carroll played Adam in the original Broadway cast.
At the Public Theatre in 1984, playing opposite Linda Ronstadt’s Mimì, Carroll sang Rodolpho in a new version of Puccini’s La bohème, offering a convincing portrayal of a sensitive romantic who could also, as the New York Times noted, “deliver the score forcefully in pop terms.”
In 1985, Carroll played Rat in the musical based on Kenneth Grahame’s classical children’s tale The Wind in the Willows. The musical – by William Perry, Roger McGough, and Jane Iredale – earned two Tony® nominations, for Best Book of a Musical and for Best Original Score. At the Imperial Theatre in 1988, Carroll took the lead part of the Russian chess master Anatoly in Chess – a musical by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (both of ABBA fame) and Tim Rice – for which Carroll received a Tony Award® nomination for Best Actor in a Musical and a Drama Desk Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Musical.
At the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in 1989, Carroll played Walter in Hy Kraft’s 1942 comedy Cafe Crown, which earned a Tony® nomination for Best Revival.
Carroll is particularly remembered for his portrayal of Baron Felix von Gaigern, a role he created in the 1989 musical Grand Hotel (book by Luther Davis, music and lyrics by Robert Wright and George Forrest, additional lyrics and music by Maury Yeston). The musical, which ran on Broadway for 1,017 performances, won five Tony Awards®; Carroll earned both Tony® and Drama Desk nominations for his performance. He was in the process of making the original cast recording in 1992 when he died, at age forty-one, of a pulmonary embolism at the recording studio.
Carroll’s television credits include Ball Four, The Rockford Files, CHiPs, Knots Landing, and The Seduction of Miss Leona.