Photo: David Leyes
David Connolly is a recipient of The Premier of Ontario’s Award of Excellence in Applied Arts and holds an Honours Bachelor Degree in Musical Theatre Performance from Sheridan College. Immediately upon graduating, David made his Broadway debut and became the first and only amputee to perform there. Thirty years later, he remains an optimistic, highly creative idea generator of whose life Dance Magazine wrote, “demonstrates the quintessential balancing act between career and community service.”
David remains deeply committed to matters concerning inclusivity and the welfare of children. In January, 2020, David curated and moderated the first-ever disability inclusion panel at BroadwayCon in New York City to help develop actionable steps to improve disabled representation in theatre. He is also a Volunteer Ambassador for the Shriner's Hospital for Children, The War Amps Child Amputee Program and for twelve years, was a producer for Fashion Cares, Canada's largest AIDS fundraising event. He has also volunteered with The Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, Easter Seals, Project Angel Food and The Hincks-Dellcrest Centre for Children's Mental Health.
Currently, he serves as the Associate Artistic Director at Drayton Entertainment, one of Canada’s most successful not-for-profit, professional theatre companies. During his time there, he has led the creation and implementation of Drayton’s Youth Education Program, created an Actor’s Fund of Canada Benefit Cabaret Series and helmed over thirty productions including the Canadian regional theatre premieres of Kinky Boots, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Mama Mia! and Disney’s Newsies.
For the screen, David has directed and choreographed several series for CBC as well as projects for CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS and choreographed two feature films with director, Deepa Mehta. He has collaborated with artists including Katy Perry, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Elton John, Sarah Jessica Parker, kd lang, Patti LaBelle, Sarah Brightman and many others.
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.
Most recently, David has become the producer and host of a musical theatre master class series, "Matinee to Z" with the goal of keeping the theatre community engaged and moving forward in response to COVID-19. Over 50 guests have included deaf Broadway actor, John McGinty, the first disabled Rockette, Sydney Mesher, one-legged tap dancer, Evan Ruggiero, trans actor, Sandra Caldwell and TONY Award-winners Stephanie J Block, Karen Olivo, Sergio Trujillo and Jerry Mitchell.
He is a proud member of The Directors Guild of Canada, ACTRA, Equity and The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.
"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.