COMPLETE CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR WORLD PREMIERE PRE-BROADWAY ENGAGEMENT OF AMAZING GRACE BEGINNING OCTOBER 9 AT THE BANK OF AMERICA THEATRE IN CHICAGO
Broadway In Chicago is pleased to announce complete ensemble casting for the world premiere of AMAZING GRACE, the new musical with music and lyrics by Christopher Smith and a book by Christopher Smith and Arthur Giron, directed by Gabriel Barre (Andrew Lippas’ The Wild Party) and choreographed by Tony Award® winner Christopher Gattelli (Newsies).
Following the run at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre, the production plans a Broadway transfer with dates and a theater to be announced.
As previously announced, AMAZING GRACE will star Tony Award nominee® Josh Young (Jesus Christ Superstar), Erin Mackey (NY Philharmonic’s concert production of Sweeney Todd, Chaplin), Tony Award nominee® Tom Hewitt (Jesus Christ Superstar, The Rocky Horror Show), Tony Award winner®Chuck Cooper (Act One, The Life), Chris Hoch (Matilda, Far From Heaven), Stanley Bahorek (Nerds, Honeymoon in Vegas), Harriett D. Foy (Mamma Mia!), and Laiona Michelle (The Book of Mormon national tour).
The ensemble will also feature Marija Abney, 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,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.
AMAZING GRACE begins performances at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre (18 W Monroe) onThursday, October 9 and opens on Sunday, October 19. The run is currently scheduled through Sunday, November 2.
Produced by Carolyn Rossi Copeland and presented by Broadway In Chicago, AMAZING GRACE 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). An unforgettable musical saga,AMAZING GRACE captures the spirit of history’s sweetest and most powerful sound: freedom.
AMAZING GRACE will be part of the next Broadway In Chicago Season. Group tickets for 10 or more are now on sale by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. Individual tickets forAMAZING GRACE will go on sale to the general public on Friday, August 1.
For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.
JOSH YOUNG (John Newton) Josh originated and currently stars in the role of “Che” in the first national tour of the Tony® Nominated Broadway revival of Evita. He received a 2012 Tony® Award nomination and Theatre World Award for his critically acclaimed Broadway debut as “Judas” in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar, directed by Des McAnuff. He appeared in two seasons at The Stratford Shakespeare Festival where his credits include: “Judas” in Jesus Christ Superstar, “Connie Rivers” in Grapes of Wrath, and “Che” in Evita directed by Gary Griffin, earning Broadway World Awards for each. Josh also appeared as “Marius” in the US National Tour of Les Miserables and “Tony” in the International Tour ofWest Side Story. Josh has performed in North America’s finest regional theaters including La Jolla Playhouse, Walnut Street Theater, St. Louis MUNY, Baltimore Center Stage and North Carolina Theatre. He’s been involved in new works with NYC’s Roundabout Theatre Company, The Transport Group and The New York Musical Theater Festival. Josh is the co-founder of Cutting-Edge Composers (cuttingedgecomposers.com), a concert and weekly web series on broadwayworld.com, created to give exposure to musical theatre’s next generation of songwriters. BFA Syracuse University. Tweet @joshpaulyoung.
ERIN MACKEY (Mary Catlett) was last seen on Broadway in Chaplin: The Musical as Oona O’Neill. Other Broadway credits include Anything Goes (Hope), Sondheim on Sondheim and Wicked (Glinda). She recently appeared at Lincoln Center in the NY Philharmonic’s concert production of Sweeney Todd as Johanna, which will be broadcast on PBS later in 2014, and as Nellie Forbush in Paper Mill’s South Pacific. Her regional and Off-Broadway credits include Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera’s production of Phantom (Christine), The Light in the Piazza (Clara) at South Coast Repertory and I Remember Mama(Katrin) at the York Theatre. Film and TV: Blue Bloods, Gossip Girl, Family Affair, Do Over and The Parent Trap. She has had the pleasure of performing with the Long Beach Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Pops and Florida Orchestra and can be heard on the original cast albums of Chaplin and Sondheim on Sondheim.
TOM HEWITT (Captain Newtown). Broadway: Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar, Billy Flynn inChicago, Dracula in Dracula: The Musical, Frank N Furter in The Rocky Horror Show (Tony, Drama Desk nominations), The Boys from Syracuse, Scar in The Lion King, School for Scandal, The Sisters Rosenzweig. National Tours: Urinetown, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Touring Broadway Award), Peter Pan. Off Broadway: Treasure Island, Jeffery, Beau Jest (Outer Critics nomination), Richard III, Othello. Recent Regional Credits: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (La Jolla Playhouse), Kiss Me, Kate (Reprise!, Muny), Flea in Her Ear (Williamstown),Private Lives and Travesties (Long Wharf, CT Critics Circle Award), Compleat Female Stage Beauty (Old Globe), Zhivago and Dracula: The Musical (LaJolla Playhouse), Uncle Vanya (Arena Stage), Racing Demonand Blithe Spirit (Guthrie), Antony and Cleopatra (Shakespeare Theater). Performances throughout Japan, Europe, and the U.S. with the Suzuki Company of Toga. TV and Film: “Law and Order,” “Third Watch,” “Frasier,” “All My Children,” narration for The Discovery, History and National Geographic channels and Julie Taymors’ Fools’ Fire. Training: PTTP currently at U. of Delaware. Tom is a native of Montana.
CHUCK COOPER (Thomas). Tony Award: Best Featured Actor for The Life. Other Broadway: Originated “Bus/Dryer” in Caroline Or Change, Act One, Finian’s Rainbow, Lennon, Chicago, Passion, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, Rumors, Amen Corner and Getting Away With Murder. National tour: The Tap Dance Kid, Eubie and Whistle Down The Wind. Off-Broadway: Caroline Or Change, Avenue X, Police Boys and Colored People’s Time. Regional: Premiere of Dance Of The Holy Ghosts, Othello, Julius Caesar, Coriolanus and The Tempest. TV: “House of Cards,” “Without a Trace,” “Hack,” “Law & Order,” “100 Centre Street,” “Law & Order SVU,” “Paul Reiser TV Project,” “Third Watch,” “Oz,” “Strangers with Candy,” “NYPD Blue,” “The Cosby Mysteries,” “New York Undercover” and “I’ll Fly Away.” Film: American Gangster, Find Me Guilty, Boy Wonder, Downtown, Requiem For A Dream, Our Song, The Hurricane, The Opportunists, Gloria, The Peacemaker and The Juror. Favorite role: Eddie, Alex and Lilli’s father. www.chuckcooper.net
CHRIS HOCH (Major Archibald Gray). Broadway: Matilda, La Cage aux Follies, Shrek, Spamalot, Dracula, Beauty and the Beast. National Tours: Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast. Off-Broadway: Far From Heaven, Die, Mommie, Die!, Face the Music (Encores!). Regional: Dracula, Zhivago, Palm Beach, Private Fittings (all La Jolla Playhouse); Far From Heaven (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Amazing Grace (Goodspeed); Next To Normal (Hangar Theatre); Spamalot (Muny); Kiss Me, Kate (Barrington Stage); Picasso at the Lapin Agile (City Theatre). Television: “30 Rock,” “Guiding Light,” “All My Children,” “The Good Wife,” “Gossip Girl.” BFA: Carnegie-Mellon University.
STANLEY BAHOREK (Robert Haweis). Broadway and Off-Broadway: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, February House (The Public), Queen Of The Mist (Transport Group), See Rock City (Transport Group), Inventing Avi (Abingdon Theatre), and The Explorers Club (Manhattan Theatre Club). Most recently he played Bill Gates in the new musical Nerds and appeared in the world premiere of Honeymoon In Vegas. Regionally he played Mozart in Amadeus (The Alley Theatre), Candide in Candide (The 5th Avenue), and has performed at The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Goodspeed Opera House, Syracuse Stage, Music Theatre of Wichita, and Paper Mill Playhouse. He played Tom Sawyer in the national tour of DeafWest’s Big River. A founding teaching artist with Broadway in South Africa, he currently teaches classes to Deaf and Hard of Hearing students for the Theatre Development Fund. He made his directing debut this year with the new play Act Normal (Senses Askew Company), and is a graduate of The University of Michigan. www.stanleybahorek.com
HARRIETT D. FOY (Princess Peyai). Broadway: Mamma Mia, The American Plan, Once on This Island. Off-Broadway: The Total Bent, On the Levee (AUDELCO nomination) and Crowns (AUDELCO Award).Regional: LMNOP and Amazing Grace (Goodspeed Chester); F2M (NYS &F Powerhouse Theater); The Women of Brewster Place and Polk County (Arena Stage, Helen Hayes nominations for both plays); After the War (ACT); Seven Guitars (Center Stage) and Ambassador Satch in Dubai. Film: Winter’s Tale, In the Family. Television: “Hostages,” “Orange is the New Black,” “Unforgettable,” “Law & Order” and “Rescue Me.” Training: Howard University. WGATAP! harriettdfoy.com
LAIONA MICHELLE (Nanna). Recipient of a NAACP award. Nominated Best Lead Actress by the Helen Hayes 2005 Awards for Yellowman (Arena Stage). Nat’l Tour: Book of Mormon. World Premieres: Dan Dietz’s Clementine in the Lower 9 and Robert O’Hara’s Booty Candy. Additional Theatre: Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Shakespeare Theatre Company and Goodspeed Opera House. TV and Film: “Law and Order” and “All My Children.”
MARIJA ABNEY (Ensemble). Marija Juliette Abney, Ailey/Fordham BFA graduate, performed in Broadway’s After Midnight while pursuing an MA in performance studies at NYU. She was featured as “The Cheetah” in Disney’s The Lion King and performed in New York City Opera’s last production Anna Nicole. Credits include: FOX Searchlight’s Black Nativity, The Night Sun (Italy), Latin Grammy Awards, and “Dancing with the Stars.”
LESLIE BECKER (Ensemble). Broadway/National Tours: Wicked, Bonnie & Clyde, Anything Goes,Cinderella, Nine, Show Boat and Beauty and The Beast. Regional: Starred in over 100 productions includingHello, Dolly, The King And I, Little Women, Baby, 42nd Street, and others. Also a writer, her musical A Proper Place was recently in festivals at Goodspeed Musicals and The Village Theatre, and her book “The Organized Actor®” has remained a best seller for 20 years. www.LeslieBecker.com
SARA BROPHY (Ensemble) is currently playing Westchester Broadway Theatre in Mary Poppins! Prior toPoppins, she was “happy all the time” in Elf at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre. Sara has been off-Broadway in Iron Curtain and Chris March’s Butt-Cracker Suite, on tour with Damn Yankees! (Lola), and on camera in In the Night (Laura.) Regional favorites include Chicago (Velma), Singin’ in the Rain (Kathy),Cinderella (u/s Cinderella), and White Christmas. Brophy holds a BFA from the University of the Arts. Offstage, she can usually be found in the kitchen, baking unique cookies, or with her nose in a book!
RHEAUME CRENSHAW (Ensemble). Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Riverside Theatre), Kiss Me Kate (Cape Playhouse), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Andre DeShields/Crossroads Theater Company), Yeast Nation: The Triumph of Life (NY Fringe), 8 Minute Musicals! (NYMF), Full Monty (w/ Elaine Stritch at Paper Mill Playhouse), Wig Out! (New Dramatists); Black Nativity (Goodman Theatre); Home: The Musical and Raisin(St. Louis Black Rep.) for which she received a Woodie King, Jr. Award for “Best Supporting Actress in a Musical”; The Princess and the Blackeyed Pea (NY Theatre Workshop); The Golem of Havana (Barrington Stage); and Amazing Grace (Goodspeed).
MIQUEL EDSON (Ensemble) is originally from Suriname, South America. His theater credits include:Carnival (Goodspeed Opera), West Side Story (West End). Opera: Enchanted Island, Armida (Met Opera),Aida (LA Opera). Film: Something New. Companies: Philadanco and The Lula Washington Dance theater. Much love and thanks to my foundation: family, friends, coaches, and my agent Lisa Price at The Price Group!
MIKE EVARISTE (Ensemble). Broadway: Hair: Summer of Love Revival, South Pacific (Original Cast), Les Misérables (Montparnasse/Pimp). National Tours: The Book of Mormon (Jumamosi), Hair (Hud), South Pacific(Henry), Rent, Smokey Joe’s Café, Fame. NY/Regional: Goodspeed premiere of Amazing Grace (Thomas),Motown The Musical (Workshop), Bliss (The Public Theatre), Hairspray (Northshore Music Theatre). Bachelor of Music from Florida State University. Thanks and Love to Nanny, Maya, my family, my beautiful wife Tiffany, the Posse, the FAME-ly and The Mine.
SEAN EWING (Ensemble) is honored to be a part of this inspiring production! Most recently seen originating the role of Hernandez in Damn Yankees at Goodspeed Opera House. Broadway: West Side Story.Company with the NY Philharmonic, Fanny (Encores!) Avenue X (Pasquale). Numerous productions of Susan Stroman’s Contact. Thanks to CGF, my friends and family for their endless love, belief and support especially Mom and Dad.
RACHAEL FERRERA (Ensemble) is thrilled to be continuing her journey with Amazing Grace! Favorite roles include Ragtime (Sarah), West Side Story (Maria), Marie Christine (Lisette), and Boeing Boeing (Gloria). Rachael most recently appeared as Jermay’ne in the powerful new play The Lost: Or, How To: Just Be. BFA: New York University.www.rachaelferrera.com
SAVANNAH FRAZIER (Ensemble). Credits include: Little Mary Sunshine, L’il Abner (Theatre Row),Oklahoma! (Lyric Stage of Dallas), A Christmas Carol (StudioTenn), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Two Gentlemen of Verona (Nashville Shakespeare Festival), Much Ado About Nothing (American Theatre of Actors), Julius Caesar (Theatre 54), From The Fire (Edinburgh Fringe).
CHRISTOPHER GURR (Ensemble). Broadway: All The Way, starring Bryan Cranston. National Tours:Memphis and Spamalot. Regional acting credits include: Getting The Band Back Together, Copenhagen, 1776, The Who’s Tommy, The Lion in Winter, and Twelve Angry Men. Thanks to BRS/GAGE, McCorkle Casting. Proud union actor & director: SAG/AFTRA, SDC, and Actors’ Equity Association.
ABDUR-RAHIM JACKSON (Ensemble). BFA, Juilliard; Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Broadway: Soul Doctor (Holly Beggar, Sinner). Regional: Amazing Grace. Film/TV: Annie, “Black Nativity”, “Smash”. Choreography: JCPenney Hair & Fashion Show, Orlando Ballet, Beyoncé’s Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show “Crazy in Love” (LED screen), Beyoncé’s “Halo”music video, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
ALLEN KENDALL (Ensemble). New York: Sweeney Todd (NYCO), Annie (Madison Square Garden/Cast Recording); National Tours: Phantom of the Opera, Annie; Regional: Amazing Grace (Goodspeed’s Norma Terris Theatre), Les Miserables, 42nd Street (Weston Playhouse), The Most Happy Fella (North Shore Music Theatre), Yeston/Kopit Phantom (Westchester Broadway Theatre/RCA Cast Recording). So very grateful for the blessing of Amazing Grace.
ELIZABETH WARD LAND (Ensemble). Broadway/Off-Broadway/Tours: Scandalous, Memphis, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Passion, City of Angels, Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Les Miserables, Prisoner of Second Avenue, Green Heart, Hello Again; starring roles at many of the country’s finest Regional Theaters. TV/Film: “The Blacklist,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Young Adult,” “Boy Meets Girl,” “One Life To Live.”
MICHAEL DEAN MORGAN (Ensemble). Three years and 50 cities as Mr. Banks in Disney’s Mary Poppins; Zazu in The Lion King; Marlin in the world premiere of Disney’s Finding Nemo – The Musical by the team who wrote this season’s hit movie Frozen. TV: John Goodman’s series “Alpha House” and several incarnations of “Law and Order.” New York: The Goldstein Variations; Scrambled Eggs at Theater Row; The Mystery of Mrs. Shakespeare starring Betty Buckley. Regional: Currently appearing in Barrington Stage Company’s 2014 production of Kiss Me Kate; Rep. Theater of St Louis; Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; Utah Shakespeare. Michael is also founder of the Dialect Lab of Princeton (www.DialectLab.com) and is originally from Milwaukee, WI where he attended Carroll University, MFA from UC-Irvine. More atwww.MichaelDeanMorgan.com
ONEIKA PHILLIPS (Ensemble). Coined “the first Grenadian woman on Broadway”, Oneika celebrates her inclusion on the production team (assistant choreographer) of Amazing Grace, as well as serving as a cast member. Currently Ms. Phillips is playing the New York Stage and Film (NYSAF) Powerhouse Season with In Your Arms, directed and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli. Broadway credits include the Broadway, international, and national runs of FELA! (Astaire Award: Best Female Dancers on Broadway); Violet (assistant choreographer to Jeffrey Page). Touring: West Side Story 50th Anniversary International Tour (Anita); Abdel Salaam’s Forces of Nature Dance Theatre (NY); Busch Gardens’ Katonga(assistant choreographer to Abdel Salaam). Professional/Festival works include: George Faison, Doug Elkins, Elisa Monte, Renee Harris, Parsons Dancers, Urban Bush Women, Stephan Koplowitz. Commercial projects including Lauryn Hill, Rihanna, Pharell, Sean Paul, Seun Kuti, Alison Hinds, Collie Buddz, Fashion Rocks, ‘Pon de Reggae Tip”, MTV Music Video Awards, 2nd Stage Theatre Gala.
CLIFTON SAMUELS (Ensemble). Broadway/Broadway Tours: Follies (with Bernadette Peters), A Chorus Line, Urban Cowboy: The Musical. Off-Broadway: The York Theatre Company: Storyville, New World Stages: Twilight-The Unauthorized Musical Parody; UnSung Musicals: Bless You All. Regional: Kennedy Center/Ahmanson: Follies, A Chorus Line; Signature Theatre: (World Premiere) Beaches- A New Musical (Michael Barron); Merry Go Round: On The Town (Gabey); Goodspeed: Carnival (dir. Darko Tresnjak); Northshore: Guys & Dolls (The Greek/Sky u/s); Palace: West Side Story (Action). TV/Film/Web: “Boardwalk Empire,” Annie (with Jamie Foxx & Cameron Diaz), “Alphabet Boys,” “Dates, Mates & Clean Slates,” “The Pitch.” Education: Oklahoma City University. Mucho thanks to Gabe, Chris and the whole AG family! Love to God, my family, my stunning wife Regina and Pimptastic pup, Reggie! www.CLIFTONSAMUELS.com. “T’was Grace, that brought us safe thus far…”
GAVRIEL SAVIT (Ensemble) is thrilled to be returning to Amazing Grace after having performed in the inaugural Goodspeed production two years ago. In addition, he has performed off-Broadway (Voca People), at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera (The Student Prince), and throughout Japan with the Disney on Classic concert series. Gavriel has also premiered several new operas (3 Weeks, The Vienna Rite, andSphinx) and has sung at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC as a featured soloist with the 21st Century Consort.
DAN SHARKEY (Ensemble). Broadway: The Bridges of Madison County, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, The Music Man, Show Boat (London co.). Nationals: The Will Rogers Follies, Grand Hotel, The Sound of Musicw/Marie Osmond. He also played Herb Crocker HBO’s award winning “Boardwalk Empire.”
BRET SHUFORD (Ensemble). Broadway Credits include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Beauty and The Beast, andThe Little Mermaid. Other New York credits include Actors Fund Benefit performances of A Wonderful Life, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, On The Twentieth Century, also “The Radio City Christmas Spectacular.” Other credits include Bert in Mary Poppins for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the National tour of Lincoln Center’s South Pacific, Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden in Next To Normal at the Adirondack Theatre Festival, and Bret originated the role of Vernon Castle in Castlewalk a new musical part of the New York Music Theatre Festival. He has sung with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and the Fort Worth Symphony. Television/Webseries credits include “Submissions Only” and My Dirty Little Secret.” Film credits include Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, Bedfellows, andUncle Melvin’s Apartment. facebook.com/bretshuford – @bretshuford ;bretshuford.com
EVAN ALEXANDER SMITH (Ensemble) has played leading roles in theatres across his native Canada, most notably the title role in the Canadian company of The Toxic Avenger (Dora Award Nomination) and two seasons at the Shaw Festival (Ragtime, Lady Windermere’s Fan, Guys & Dolls, His Girl Friday.) Other favorites: The Rocky Horror Show, A Christmas Carol & The Fantasticks. www.evanalexandersmith.com
UYOATA UDI (Ensemble) is of Nigerian descent and hails from Los Angeles, California. He graduated from Alexander Hamilton High School and currently attends University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, with a full scholarship. Professional credit includes: FELA! (world tour). He has performed for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House. He additionally performed for the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. He currently holds a title, Akpa Mr. Akwa Ibom, through Akwa Ibom Association of Nigeria, USA Inc. His primary training began in Los Angeles with his mentor Karen McDonald. He also attended the Alonzo King Summer Intensive and studied musical theatre at US Performing Arts in New York City. He is honored to be a part of the Amazing Grace experience.
CHARLES E. WALLACE (Ensemble). Recent credits include Zinnias: The Life of Clementine Hunterdirected by Robert Wilson; Choir Boy at The Alliance Theatre and at Manhattan Theatre Club; The Road Weeps, The Well Runs Dry at Perseverance Theatre. Broadway: Miss Saigon (John), Smokey Joe’s Cafe andJekyll & Hyde. Off -Broadway: Dinah Was (Boss/Chase) and George C. Wolfe’s Harlem Song, at The Apollo Theatre. Regional: Urinetown (Lockstock), A Soldier’s Play (Davenport), Jesus Hopped the “A” Train(Lucius), Spunk (Joe/Slang Talk), Play On (The Duke) and Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Andre).
TONI ELIZABETH WHITE (Ensemble). California native. Off-Broadway: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Tours: Guys & Dolls National, Aida National (swing), Aida China(u/s Aida & Nehebka). Regional: Goodspeed Musicals- Amazing Grace; Walnut Street Theater- Peter Pan (Tiger Lily), Curtains; North Shore Music Theater- 9 to 5; Astoria Performing Arts Center- Allegro (Hazel). Proud AEA & SAG-AFTRA member.
HOLLIE E. WRIGHT (Ensemble) began her training with The Arthur Hall African American Dance Theater in Philadelphia, PA. Soon after Miss Wright met and began to study with Marion Cuyjet at La Cher Tari School of dance. Miss Wright Studied with Philadanco while earning her BFA in Dance Education. Upon graduation Miss Wright accepted a position with Philadanco’s first company. Miss Wright then made the leap to Broadway with Hot Feet as her first show. Miss Wright was a featured member of the ensemble and Kalimba cover (performed). Tours include The Color Purple (1st National Tour.) Regional: Jesus Christ Superstar Gospel, Sophisticated Ladies, Oklahoma (Dream Laurey). Miss Wright is on faculty at various schools in the metropolitan area. She is currently the Chair of the Jazz Department at the Ailey School. Thanks to family and friends.
CHRISTOPHER SMITH (Book, Music, and Lyrics) wrote his first musical at the age of 17, which was performed at the University of Delaware when Chris was a senior in high school. He began working on Amazing Grace after time spent as a police officer and a Youth Outreach and Education Director in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. When a chance stroll through the church school library led him to pick up a book about John Newton, a person he hardly knew, Chris became convinced that Newton’s story could bridge the gap between ordinary experience and deep struggles of the soul.
ARTHUR GIRON (Book)’s plays include Edith Stein, Boy Dies Dancing Mambo, Money, Innocent Pleasures, Dirty Jokes, Becoming Memories, Flight, A Dream of Wealth, Moving Bodies, The Golden Guitar, Memories of Our Women, The Coffee Trees, Emilie’s Voltaire, and St. Francis in Egypt, in addition to many one-acts. Among Arthur’s recent New York productions are The Coffee Trees (Beckett Theatre) and Emilie’s Voltaire (Beckett Theatre). His prizes include the Los Angeles Critics’ Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Writing (Twice) and the Galileo Prize. In addition, he has been awarded three commissions from The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as well as commissions from the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the New York Shakespeare Festival. He is the former Head of the Graduate Playwriting program at Carnegie-Mellon University and a Founding Member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre in NYC, currently in its 37th year, a theatre company in which he remains active and is dedicated to the production of new plays.
GABRIEL BARRE (Director) is an internationally acclaimed director having just returned from Seoul, Korea where he directed the world premiere of the Frank Wildhorn musical, Tears of Heaven. In Prague, Czech Republic, he directed another original musical, Carmen, now in its third sold out year, as well as a hit revival of Jesus Christ Superstar. His credits in the United States include the New York productions ofThe Wild Party by Andrew Lippa (nominated for 13 Drama Desk Awards and 5 Outer Critics Circle awards, both including Best Director and for which he won the Calloway Award), Summer of ‘42, Stars in Your Eyes, Honky-Tonk Highway, john & jen and Almost, Maine. He directed the US and Canadian tour ofPippin, as well as the national tour of Rodger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, starring Eartha Kitt. His regional theatre credits include Private Lives at Seattle Repertory Theatre, Tom Jones, Camelot and the world premiere productions of Memphis, at the North Shore Music Theatre in Boston and at Theatreworks in California; Sweeney Todd, Finian’s Rainbow, Houdini and many other new musicals at the Goodspeed Opera House; Stand By Your Man at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville; Hay Fever and Pericles at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey; Little Shop of Horrors and Flower Drum Song at the American Musical Theatre of San Jose; as well as Tommy, Hair and Love’s Labours Lost at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre. As an actor, he has been nominated for a Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical and appears often in film and on TV.
CHRISTOPHER GATTELLI (Choreographer). Currently: The Jungle Book (Goodman Theatre. Broadway: Newsies (Tony, Drama Desk, and OCC awards, future West End and US Tour), Godspell, South Pacific (Tony & OCC Noms) Women on the Verge…, Sunday In The Park With George, The Ritz, Martin Short-Fame Becomes Me, 13, High Fidelity. Off-Broadway: Dogfight (Lortel Award), Altar Boyz (Lortel & Callaway Awards, Drama Desk Nom., LADCC Award-Best Choreography 2013); Bat Boy (Lortel Award); 10 Million Miles, Adrift in Macao, tick,tick..BOOM!, I Love You Because. West End: South Pacific; Sunday In The Park; tick, tick…BOOM!. Regional: Newsies (Paper Mill Playhouse), Kander and Ebb’s All About Us (Westport Playhouse), The Baker’s Wife w/ Alice Ripley (Paper Mill Playhouse), Me And My Girl (Goodspeed Opera House), the world premiere of Tom Jones (North Shore Music Theater), O. Henry’s Lovers (Goodspeed-at-Chester). Director/Choreographer: SILENCE! The Musical (Best Off-Broadway Musical OBA), the world premiere of Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas (also co-writer), Radio Girl, Chance and Chemistry, How To Save The World…, Departure Lounge. Concerts: Hair w/Jennifer Hudson, Chess w/Josh Groban. TV: “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.” Upcoming, Director/Choreographer: Top Hat, In Your Arms, The Untitled Babyface Project, In Transit, Pump Up The Volume, Viva Mixtia.
CAROLYN ROSSI COPELAND (Executive Producer). Most recently Carolyn was lead producer forFreud’s Last Session which has had an unprecedented run Off Broadway and won Best Play for the 2010-2011 Off Broadway Season. Carolyn also produced Freud’s Last Session in Chicago for 8 months at The Mercury Theatre starring Mike Nussbaum. Freud’s Last Session continues to be performed in major markets in the United States as well as Mexico, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Brazil, Spain and Argentina, Japan, Australia, Hungry, Singapore and Hong Kong. Carolyn is a graduate of Tulane University where she majored in Political Science. Upon graduation she worked for The Honorable Peter W. Rodino, Jr as a Congressional Aide. She left the theatrics of Capitol Hill for a life in the theatre. She has been producing theatre since 1979 when she founded The Lamb’s Theatre Company in the heart of Times Square. As Producing Director she led The Lamb’s into an award winning and financially successful enterprise. She was dedicated to producing new American Musical and Plays musicals and gave birth to such shows asSmoke on the Mountain, Gifts of the Magi, the revival of GODSPELL, Johnny Pye and the Foolkiller, John and Jen,The Prince and the Pauper, and The Roads to Home written and directed by Horton Foote. The Lambs Theatre was the home of the PBS radio show “Prairie Home Companion” starring Garrison Keillor. Carolyn oversaw a complete renovation of the theatre and the creation of a second space known as The Lamb’s Little Theatre (www.lambstheatre.org for list of all productions). In 1998 Carolyn was sought out by Madison Square Garden/Radio City Entertainment to oversee the historic remount of The Scarlet Pimpernelon Broadway and following its success she became the Vice President for Creative Affairs for Radio City Entertainment (RCE). At RCE she oversaw The Christmas Carol at the world famous Madison Square Garden Theatre, The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall and developed new performance opportunities for the world famous Rockettes. She opened her own production company which has served as a producer for The Gaylord Group at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee and currently is the Executive Producer for Strouse IP, the company that controls and manages the works of the great American composer Charles Strouse. She is married to Architect James Masson Copeland and together they are the proud parents of Margaret, Beatrice and twins Marion and Eugenia. www.crcproductions.org