DIRECTOR, EDUCATOR & ADVOCATE
Photo: David Leyes
David Connolly is currently helming the brand-new Drayton Entertainment Youth Academy while enjoying the launch of the 52-episode, CBC Kids' television series that he directed and choreographed called, "Ukulele U."
David is a recipient of The Premier of Ontario’s Award of Excellence who happens to be a double below-knee amputee; the first and only male amputee to have performed on Broadway. In his thirty-year career that Dance Magazine wrote, “demonstrates the quintessential balancing act between career and community service,” he has collaborated with artists including Katy Perry, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Elton John, Sarah Jessica Parker, kd lang, Sarah Brightman and many others.
As an Educator, David has been an Adjunct Professor and Advisor to Western University, Wilfred Laurier University, Sheridan College, Randolph College, St Lawrence College, VanderCook College and most recently, the Hopkins Centre for the Arts at Dartmouth College. He is a proud member of the DEI Committee of the Musical Theatre Educators’ Alliance who who holds an Honours Bachelor Degree in Musical Theatre Performance from Sheridan College, is a recipient of The Ontario Premier's Award of Excellence, and is an Ambassador for both The War Amps’ Child Amputee Program and The Shriners Hospitals for Children.
As the Associate Artistic Director of Drayton Entertainment, he has helmed over thirty productions including the Canadian premieres of Kinky Boots, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Mama Mia!, Newsies and in 2023, The Prom. For the screen, David has directed and choreographed several series for CBC Kids as well as projects for CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS and two feature films by director, Deepa Mehta.
He was proud to serve as the Director of Pauletta Washington and Diane Louie’s United Nations Development Programme concert, "Chronicle," which toured North America, and culminated in a performance at the United Nations General Assembly Hall. Their short film collaboration, "Moonlight Sonata" was selected to premiere at the Smithsonian Film Festival presented by the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC in 2019.
For the past three years, David has curated and moderated a disability inclusion panel at BroadwayCon in New York City to help develop actionable steps to improve disabled representation in arts.
"David is, by anyone's definition, a leader in the field. What impresses me most is the high standard he has set for himself." -Stephanie Gorin, Emmy Award-winning Casting Director of The Toronto Productions of Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away, Kinky Boots, The Lion King, Beauty and The Beast, Rent, Crazy For You, Hairspray and Miss Saigon.
"David has created a career and reputation for himself as one of the most well-rounded and dedicated professionals of today." -Scott Barnes, Board of Trustees of Broadway Cares
"David is the kind of a person that the entertainment community needs more of." -David Friedman, conductor of the Disney animated features Beauty and The Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and vocal contractor for Mulan.