The Verdict: Critics Review Broadway-Bound Musical Amazing Grace in Chicago | Playbill

The Verdict The Verdict: Critics Review Broadway-Bound Musical Amazing Grace in Chicago The world premiere of the Broadway-bound new musical Amazing Grace officially opened Oct. 19 at 6 PM following previews that began Oct. 9 at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre.
Josh Young
Josh Young Photo by Joan Marcus

The new musical, which continues in Chicago through Nov. 2, has music and lyrics by Christopher Smith and a book by Smith and Arthur Giron. Gabriel Barre directs with choreography by Tony winner Christopher Gattelli.

The cast is headed by Tony nominee Josh Young, Erin Mackey, Tony nominee Tom Hewitt, Tony winner Chuck Cooper, Chris Hoch, Stanley Bahorek, Harriett D. Foy and Laiona Michelle.

The critics have filed their reviews and has collected them for our readers. will continue to update our list as the reviews come in.

Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago Tribune Variety


Produced by Carolyn Rossi Copeland and presented by Broadway In Chicago, Amazing Grace, according to press notes, is a "world-premiere musical based on the awe-inspiring true story behind the world’s most beloved song. A captivating tale of romance, rebellion and redemption, this radiant production follows one man whose incredible journey ignited a historic wave of change.

"John Newton (Josh Young), a willful and musically talented young Englishman, faces a future as uncertain as the turning tide. Coming of age as Britain sits atop an international empire of slavery, he finds himself torn between following in the footsteps of his father – a slave trader – and embracing the more compassionate views of his childhood sweetheart (Erin Mackey)."

The ensemble features Marie Juliette Abney, Erica Aubrey, Leslie Becker, Sara Brophy, Rheaume Crenshaw, Miquel Edson, Mike Evariste, Sean Ewing, Rachael Ferrera, Savannah Frazier, Christopher Gurr, Abdur-Rahim Jackson, Allen Kendall, Elizabeth Ward Land, Michael Dean Morgan, Vince Oddo, Oneika Phillips, Clifton Samuels, Gavriel Savit, Dan Sharkey, Bret Shuford, Evan Alexander Smith, Uyoata Udi, Charles E. Wallace, Toni Elizabeth White and Hollie E. Wright.

The production and design team also includes scenic designers Eugene Lee and Edward Pierce, costume designer Toni-Leslie James, lighting designers Ken Billington and Paul Miller, sound designer Jon Weston and hair designer Robert-Charles Vallance, with fight and military movement by David Leong, music direction, arrangements and incidental music by Joseph Church and orchestrations by Kenny Seymour. The general manager is Marshall B. Purdy, and the production stage manager is Paul J. Smith.

Tickets range from $33-$100; a select number of premium seats are also available for many performances. Tickets may be purchased at all Broadway in Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at

A First Look at Josh Young, Erin Mackey, Chuck Cooper and Tom Hewitt in Broadway-Bound Musical Amazing Grace

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