Amazing Grace, a Tale of Song and Slavery, With Chris Peluso, Whitney Bashor, Harriett D. Foy, Begins in CT
By Kenneth Jones
Chris Peluso, Dennis Parlato, Whitney Bashor, Chris Hoch, Harriet D. Foy and more bring the story behind the famed spiritual "Amazing Grace" to life in a new musical, aptly titled Amazing Grace, starting May 17 at the Goodspeed Musicals' Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT.
The musical directed by Gabriel Barre (Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party) features music and lyrics by Christopher Smith and book by Arthur Giron and Smith. Performances play to June 10 at the Terris.
Goodspeed bills the large-cast musical as the "stirring tale about a slave trader who sees the light and dedicates himself to ending slavery."
The Norma Terris is Goodspeed's home for developing new works; critics are not invited to the productions.
Expect a story of "storms," "slavery," "romance" and "redemption," according to Goodspeed. "Prepare to be swept away by this epic musical saga about John Newton, a rebellious slave trader, and the woman who never lost faith in him. While fighting the raging seas and his own despair, Newton's life is suddenly transformed — igniting a quest to end the scourge of slavery. Based on a true story of the man who penned the world's most recognizable song, it's a powerful musical you will never forget."
Chris Peluso (Broadway's Mamma Mia!, Lestat) will play John Newton; Whitney Bashor will play Mary Catlett; Laiona Michelle will play Nanna/Ayotunde; Mike Evariste will play Thomas/Keita; Dennis Parlato (Broadway's Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Sound of Music, Chess and A Chorus Line) will play Capt. Newton; Chris Hoch (Broadway's Shrek, Beauty and the Beast, La Cage aux Folles) will play Maj. Gray; Harriet D. Foy (The American Plan, Mamma Mia!) will play The Princess.
The ensemble includes Jonathan Burke, Merideth Kaye Clark, Rheaume Crenshaw, Andrew Crowe, Tyrone Davis Jr., Rachael Ferrera, Liam Forde, Logan Rose Nelms, Adbur Rahim Jackson, Olivia Bowman Jackson, Allen Kendall, Alex Krasser, Kate Marilley, Danny Rothman, Gavriel Savit, Victoria Thornsbury, Paul Michael Valley, Charles E. Wallace, Toni Elizabeth White and Noah Zachary.
The creative team includes choreographer Benoit-Swan Pouffer (artistic director of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in New York City), fight movement/military director David Leong; music supervisor Kimberly Grigsby (Broadway's Spider-Man; Caroline, or Change; Spring Awakening; The Full Monty), music director Jodie Moore, scenic designer Beowulf Boritt (The Scottsboro Boys, Sondheim on Sondheim, Rock of Ages), costume designer Toni-Leslie James (The Scottsboro Boys, Finian's Rainbow), lighting designer Ken Billington (Don't Dress for Dinner, Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway, The Scottsboro Boys), sound designer Jay Hilton.
For more information, visit goodspeed.org.
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