Amazing Grace Musical's NYC Reading Welcomes Robert Petkoff; Robby Benson and Josh Young Also Star

News   Amazing Grace Musical's NYC Reading Welcomes Robert Petkoff; Robby Benson and Josh Young Also Star
Robert Petkoff, of Broadway's most recent Ragtime and Fiddler on the Roof, has joined the special reading presentation of the new musical Amazing Grace, the backstory of the famous spiritual song of the title. It gets a Manhattan invitation-only showing Dec. 11-12, featuring the previously announced Broadway and film star Robby Benson as Capt. Newton and Tony Award nominee Josh Young as John Newton.

Josh Young
Josh Young

Selections of the show by Christopher Smith and Arthur Giron will be sung in the private presentation at Lincoln Center's Clark Studio Theater. Gabriel Barre (Off-Broadway's The Wild Party; Summer of '42; Stars in Your Eyes; Honky-Tonk Highway; john & jen and Almost, Maine) directed the developmental full production by Goodspeed Musicals last spring, and returns. Musical supervision is again by Kim Grigsby (Spring Awakening, The Full Monty, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark).

Amazing Grace, with music and lyrics by Smith and book by Smith and Giron, appeared at Goodspeed's Norma Terris Theatre in April and May 2012. Members of that company will appear in this highlights performance. Petkoff is the narrator. The principal cast will also feature Whitney Bashor (The Fantasticks, Happy Days), Chris Hoch (Beauty and the Beast, Spamalot), Quentin Earl Darrington (Ragtime, Memphis) and Harriett D. Foy (Mamma Mia!, Once on This Island).

According to producers, Amazing Grace "is an epic musical love story based on the life and trials of John Newton, the former slave-trader who authored one of the world's most recognized songs. The story is told from the point of view of his childhood friend Mary Catlett, the woman who never lost faith in him and whose love, courage and unshakable conviction helped to transform his life. Their journey to find the meaning of their own existence will lead them to love, heartbreak and an epic quest to end the scourge of slavery."

The show "encompasses everything from triumphant anthems to heart-rending ballads all set within a love story which transcends time and distance."

Benson appeared in the Broadway musicals The Pirates of Penzance and The Rothschilds, and his numerous film and TV credits include Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," "One on One," "Tribute," "Ice Castles" and "Ode to Billy Joe." Young was nominated for a 2012 Tony Award for playing Judas Iscariot in Jesus Christ Superstar. At the Stratford Festival, he played principal roles in Evita, Kiss Me Kate and The Grapes of Wrath. His solo recording, "Still Dreaming of Paradise," is available on iTunes and Amazon.

Also featured in the cast are Laiona Michelle, Jonathan Burke, Alison Cimmet, Merideth Kaye Clark, Rheaume Crenshaw, Tyrone Davis Jr., Brandon Ellis, Rachael Ferrera, Rita Harvey, Allen Kendall, Kevin Smith Kirkwood, Alex Krasser, Elizabeth Ward Land, Danny Rothman, Gavriel Savit, Dan Sharkey, Paul Michael Valley, Robin Walker, Charles E. Wallace, Toni Elizabeth White, and Christopher Wood.

Amazing Grace is produced by Carolyn Rossi Copeland, in association with Alex Rankin, Michael Jenkins, AG Funding and Larry Payton.

For more information, visit

Read about the earlier Goodspeed production in Connecticut

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