Honorary Ph.D.: Seton Hall University of New Jersey recognized Davis and his talents by presenting him with an honorary Doctor of Music Degree. Honorary degrees are commendations bestowed upon people who are outstanding in and have made notable contributions to their chosen field, and through hard work and experience acquired the knowledge and expertise befitting someone with that degree. An honorary Ph.D. comes with all of the privileges and respect which that degree carries, including the right to use the title "Doctor" at the beginning of your name. Davis is now officially, "Dr. Davis Gaines".
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Davis Gaines is a versatile actor who has received much acclaim for his work in many areas of the performing arts. Gaines has the distinction of having played the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA for 1,937 performances, more than any other actor worldwide. After appearing as Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, in the Broadway production in early 1990, Gaines took over the title role from Michael Crawford in the Los Angeles company beginning in April of 1991. In a Los Angeles Times interview, "Phantom" director, Hal Prince boasted "When I heard him (sing) I said 'My God, this is the Phantom. Not just a Phantom but an extraordinary Phantom.' I want everyone to go into the theater ready to discover a star, and that's what I think he is." Playing to more than two million people over his two and a half year run, he carried the show into its fourth year, making it the longest-running musical in Los Angeles history. He also became L.A.'s longest- running Phantom, and was presented with a proclamation from Mayor Tom Bradley for his contribution to the city and the arts. Gaines subsequently opened the San Francisco production in December of '93 and won the Bay Area Critic's Award for Best Actor. At the request of Prince, Gaines opened on Broadway in the title role on July 4, 1994, where Ken Mandelbaum of TheaterWeek reviewed his performance as one that "energizes an almost seven-year-old production to the point where the audience is reacting as they did in the early months of the run," and urged his readers to "run, don't walk, to catch this sensational performance." He became Broadway's longest-running Phantom, continuing in the role through October of '96, at which time he was chosen by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Hal Prince to play the leading role in the world premiere of "Whistle Down The Wind" at the National Theatre in Washington, DC.
Other Broadway and National Tour credits include Cornelius Hackl in HELLO, DOLLY! with Carol Channing; CAMELOT with Richard Burton and THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS with Alexis Smith. His Off-Broadway appearances include Des McAnuff's THE DEATH OF VON RICHTHOFEN AS WITNESSED FROM EARTH; the Maury Yeston/Larry Gelbart musical, ONE, TWO THREE, FOUR FIVE; Stephen Sondheim's ASSASSINS; SHE LOVES ME; and FORBIDDEN BROADWAY.
He made his New York City Opera debut in THE NEW MOON and appeared in New York in concert versions of SITTING PRETTY, THE CAT AND THE FIDDLE, PIPPIN and the Encores! production of THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE. Gaines has worked extensively in regional theatre which included the honor of being directed by the legendary George Abbott as Joe Hardy in DAMN YANKEES; playing Mortimer Brewster in ARSENIC AND OLD LACE opposite Kate Reid; appearing with Lainie Kazan in THE RINK and with Tony Randall in TWO INTO ONE.
Film work includes a co-starring role in WARLOCK:THE ARMAGEDDON with Julian Sands and television credits include CHICAGO HOPE, VERONICA'S CLOSET, MURDER, SHE WROTE; BODIES OF EVIDENCE; and several daytime dramas. He also made appearances on PBS's GREAT PERFORMANCES with the Boston Pops and JERRY HERMAN'S BROADWAY AT THE BOWL, as well as the 1994 KENNEDY CENTER HONORS in a tribute to Phantom's director, theatre legend Hal Prince.
Gaines has sung with virtually every major symphony orchestra in North America, including appearances with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall and The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra at The Hollywood Bowl. In cabaret, he has enjoyed successful engagements at New York's Rainbow and Stars and Los Angeles' Cinegrill.
In addition to Gaines' debut solo CD, "AGAINST THE TIDE," on LAP Records, his voice can be heard on 18 compilation albums and cast recordings, (SEE DISCOGRAPHY) the most recent being the 1997 cast recording of "THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE" and a musical adaptation of the powerful, epic tale, "MASADA," released in Israel on New Year's Day.
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