‘America’s Got Talent’ finalist and Tyler Perry player Zuri Craig dies at 44
The musician is best known for his album “Zuri’s World Famous Jazz Band.” He was an original Broadway cast member of “Avenue Q” and a member of the “Mozart in the Jungle” production.
Craig was nominated for a Tony award earlier in his career for his role as a teacher in the revival of “The Music Man.”
Perry, who was with Craig on the “Mozart in the Jungle” stage production, described Craig’s death as “unexpected.”
“I’m just sad for the family. There were no kids involved in the family this time,” Perry said. “So it’s just bad timing.”
Craig died of a heart attack at his Los Angeles home.
He was also known for his work as a producer of documentaries and children’s television specials.
Craig first gained national attention as a vocalist and singer with the legendary “Zuri’s Jazz Band.” In 1995, he won his first Tony Award for Best Performance in a Musical for his role in “The Music Man.” He went on to win Tony Awards for Best Performance by a Leading Actor for his roles in “Avenue Q” and “The Light in the Piazza” (as a teacher), “Kabaret” (as a singer), and “Ragtime” (as a bassist).
On NBC’s “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno in 2012, he performed “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” his composition for the musical “Kiss Me, Kate.”
He was also a prolific composer and arranger of musicals and film scores. His most famous musical — “The Music Man” — had its Broadway premiere in 1976.
He wrote the music for five musicals on Broadway – “Kiss Me Kate,” �