Amazing Grace is playing at the Nederlander Theatre located at 208 West 41th Street. The show runs two hours thirty minutes with one intermission. It is an opened run.
Amazing Grace premiered at the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago in the fall of 2014.
Gabriel Barre is the director. He is also an actor. Gabriel was nominated for a Tony Award in 1989 for best actor in Starmites.
Toni-Leslie James is the costume designer. He was nominated for a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award in 1991 for Jelly’s Last Jam.
Christopher Gatelli is the choreographer. He won a Tony Award in 2012 for Newsies and was nominated for a Tony Award in 2008 for South Pacific.
Tom Hewitt was nominated for a Tony Award in 2000 for the revival of The Rocky Horror Show.
Josh Young was nominated for a Tony Award in 2012 revival of Jesus Christ Super Star.
Chuck Cooper won a Tony Award in 1997 for The Life.
The place is Chatham, England, late December 1744.
John Newton (Josh Young) returns home after working on a ship for almost a year. His father Captain Newton (Tom Hewitt) is not happy that he was on the ship. John rebelled against his father. He did not want him to plan his life. Captain Newton wanted him to go to school. The Captain rips up John’s working papers so he can’t work on another ship. His father is a dealer in the slave trade. John decides to auction off the slaves to show his father how good he is. Things go bad when abolitionists cause a commotion when the auction takes place.
John’s sweetheart Mary Cutlet (Erin Mackey) gives one of the slaves her coat in order for her to escape. Mary is a singer.
Major Gray (Chris Hoch) is smitten with Mary. He is related to the future king.
Mary asks her servant Nanna (Laiona Michelle) about her life before she became a slave. Nanna hesitates but then tells her. Mary’s mother Mrs. Catlett (Elizabeth Ward Land)tells Mary that she needs to marry someone with money, not John who’s future is so unsure.
John’s servant Pakuteh/Thomas (Chuck Cooper) feels John is like a son to him and would go anywhere with him.
Things happen and John ends up on a ship as a force sailor. Thomas goes with him. The boat is attacked and John ends up on the coast of Sierra Leon. He becomes the slave of Princess Peyai (Harriett D. Foy). The Princess is a slave trader. Eventually he convinces her that he can help as her over seeing in the slave trade.
What happens I’m not telling you?
Things happened in Act One I did not tell you and in Act Two there are things that will surprise you.
The show ends with John Newton composing the song Amazing Grace in 1772.
This is an eye opening story.
The set is fantastic! When the ships are hit it is so realistic, especially if you are in the front rows. Act one the ship is attacked and is on fire, soot comes out to the audience and in Act two a storm hits the boat and a mist of water hits you.
The cast is excellent and work well together.
Josh Young has the most beautiful voice. When he sings it takes your breath away. Yes he is a great actor too.
Chuck Cooper and Laiona Michelle are so convincing at their roles that you feel their pain and sorrow.
Harriet D. Foy is so graceful in her dancing. Her action as slave trader will want you to take the whip out of her hand and whip her yourself.
Tom Hewitt has a lovely singing voice
The story got me wondering if the facts about John Newton were true. John Newton’s life may not have happened as in the show but the facts as to what was going on with slavery were. Newton did write Amazing Grace.
This is a must see show.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
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