Cray began singing when he was nine years old. Possessing a true boy soprano
voice, he was in great demand appearing in more than twenty plays, concerts
and musicals before the age of twelve, including a co-star role as "Patrick
Dennis" with Broadway actress Denise Lor in "Mame".
A native of North Carolina, Richard was chosen as a teenager to participate
in a unique educational program called The "Governor's School of North
Carolina". This program was the first of its kind for gifted students in
the United States. Every year students compete for one of the precious
slots in their artistic or academic field.
Richard received his formal education at The
North Carolina School of the
Indiana University. While attending IU School of Music
(Bloomington), he studied voice with Walter Cassel, a twenty-five year
veteran of the Metropolitan Opera. Richard also studied vocal jazz styles
with Eileen Farrell, and coached lieder with John Wustman. Opera roles
performed include Count Almaviva in Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro"
Papageno in Mozart's "The Magic Flute", and Escamillo in Bizet's "Carmen".
After formal schooling Richard spent a year traveling around the world as a
solo artist aboard The Royal Viking Star. Ports of call included; Australia,
New Zealand, Bora Bora, Moorea, Singapore, Bangkok, Bali, Hong Kong,
Shanghai, Bejing, Japan, Hawaii, Canada, Alaska and South America.
Following his life long friend and mentor Keith Keen to New York City,
Richard made his Broadway debut in the New York Shakespeare Company's Tony
award winning production of "The Mystery of Edwin Drood". Soon after,
Richard starred off-Broadway, opposite George Hearn, in the musical version
of Chiam Potok's celebrated novel "The Chosen". Other New York credits
included, "Windy City" at the Paper Mill Playhouse, a new musical workshop
recording for Sheldon Harnick, and appearing as Billy Bigelow in the Lake
George Opera Festival production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Carousel". In
New York, Richard studied acting at HB Studios, also with John Hirsch and
Sanford Meisner. Richard's NYC vocal coach was Andrew Cooke. During his
first year in New York, Richard performed with "Harbor Lights" a vocal
quartet that opened for headliners in the Catskills.
A solo appearance with the San Diego Symphony celebrating the 100th birthday
of Cole Porter (Jack Everly Conductor) and a guest appearance at the Crystal
Cathedral brought Richard to the West Coast, where he performed in the
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra's musical recording for the classic science fiction
movie "Thing's to Come".
In the summer of 1993, Richard was asked to perform in The "Tomorrows
Realities Gallery" at the annual
SIGGRAPH convention held in Anaheim, CA. as
“Dynamation Man” giving voice and movement to a live, animated character.
This event turned out to be the first live, operatic performance in digital
real-time computer generated animation using a full upper-body Waldo and
data glove with a single performing vocal artist interfaced with a character
in total control. This project led Richard to perform and direct "A Musical
Performance Animation" with composer Steven Bowen, an accomplished musician
and arranger for the creation of a seven-minute singing musical story giving
life to three computer generated characters; Pirate King, Reggae Man and the
Sunny Boy, featured on CNN and in
Computer Graphics World Magazine.
Richard founded the "Performance Animation Society" a special interest group
catering to the needs of performing and creative professionals involved with
the emerging technologies of performance capture.
He developed and
created dynamic and ongoing innovative and entertaining projects with what
he calls "the future of performing artists" through this innovative forum.
Richard lived for two years on Maui,
singing, performing, swimming, hiking and taking in the local culture. He
performed regularly at
La Jazzerie, WOW (Wednesdays On Wailea) at the Shops
at Wailea and as a guest artist for Unity Church.
Richard is the featured
artist on the OZmosis records CD release of "Lost Love Letters in the Sand"
composed and produced by Cody Gillette at Emerald City Studios in Paia,
In May, 2003, Richard
starred in the title role of the Maui Civic Light Opera’s production of
opposite Debra Lynn as Christine at the Maui Art's &
Cultural Center Castle Theatre
most recently performed in the
Long Leaf Opera Company (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
production of "Kismet" as the "Wazir".
resides in Long Beach, CA. where he teaches voice privately.
A solo, debut CD is scheduled for release in 2008.