His family shared the news in a statement, noting that he passed at home in “his favorite place on Earth,” his birthplace of Cranbrook, British Columbia.
Shortly after graduating from the University of British Columbia and prior to heading to New York, Mr. Carver appeared in various Canadian small screen projects, including the CBC series The Beachcombers, the TV movie One Night Stand (based on Carol Bolt’s play), and the sitcom Leo and Me. In the latter, Carver played the titular Leo, opposite a 15-year-old Michael J. Fox.
In 1979, Mr. Carver made his U.S. debut in 1979, as Ariel in The Tempest (starring Anthony Hopkins) at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. He became attached to John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Terrence McNally’s musical adaptation of Kiss of the Spider Woman in June 1992, first in Toronto before a West End bow later that year. In 1993, the musical opened on Broadway, marking Mr. Carver’s Main Stem debut.
In the musical, Mr. Carver starred as Molina, a gay window dresser locked away in an Argentine prison who mentally escapes humiliation and torture through a fantasy world inhabited by the diva Aurora. He was among the trio of performers to win Tony Awards for their performances, joined by co-stars Chita Rivera and Anthony Crivello. Mr. Carver also earned a Drama Desk Award and a Theatre World Award for his work.
He next appeared on Broadway playing another Leo—Leo Frank—in the Jason Robert Brown-Alfred Uhry musical Parade, earning a second Tony nomination.
Mr. Carver returned to his Shakespeare roots twice on Broadway: in revivals of King Lear (in 2004 with Christopher Plummer) and, most recently, the 2013 revival of Romeo and Juliet (in which he played Friar Laurence).
In addition to his work in New York, Mr. Carver frequently appeared on the Canadian stage, including a 2000 production of Fiddler on the Roof at Stratford Shakespeare Festival, a Toronto production of Bent, about the persecution of gay men in Nazi Germany, and the big-budget Lord of the Rings musical, before its ill-fated London run.
“Brent, in his humble fashion, will be remembered as the kind, gentle, and gifted man he was, with the deepest love as a true friend and family member,” his family said. “His love of performing was matched only by his zest for life and lifetime devotion to family, friends, and treasured pets.”