Museum of the Bible’s World Stage Theater in Washington, D.C.
November 14, 2017 – January 7, 2018

  • Washington Post

    The sweeping musical, centering on the tumultuous life of John Newton, the hymn’s 18th-century author, tells the story of how the song came to be in the first place.
    The musical’s costuming and staging is superb, with some moments of genuine astonishment. An underwater scene, as spectacular as anything available on Broadway, elicited widespread gasps and cheering from the audience.

    The cast, without exception, bring unfailing earnestness and capable singing to their parts.
    The narrative heart of the work is optimistic, with an unabashed insistence that individuals can change dramatically for the better. The same individuals have the power, in turn, to influence society in a progressive direction.

    With a feel-good ending, you might call “Amazing Grace” a triumphalist view on advancement in persons and politics. Culture is a bolt that ratchets in only one direction in the play: toward greater freedom and compassion.

  • Chicago Tribune

    The message of “Amazing Grace” — that the most despicable, slave-owning wretch can see the light and the errors of past ways and become a force for reconciliation — is an aspiration devoutly to be wished for, given the deep-seated racial divisions in the union, rolling back to the era of slavery, America’s original sin.

    For sure, a vibrant Broadway should not just be for Blue State secularists. Spiritual notions of forgiveness and redemption are at the heart of most musicals, even those that hide their faith-based souls under layers of irony. And in the deeply emotional performance from Chuck Cooper, who plays Newton’s personal slave and surrogate father in this new musical, there is profound longing, pain and hope for the future.

  • NY Times

    Curious to know more? Make a beeline for the Nederlander Theater, where the show, with a score by a musical theater newcomer, Christopher Smith, and a book by Mr. Smith and Arthur Giron, opened on Thursday. The peculiar story of Newton’s life forms the spine of the musical, which traces the gradual moral awakening that led to his conversion from a trafficker in human flesh to a deeply religious writer of hymns.

    Ms. Mackey’s pure, radiant soprano delights the ear, and she infuses Mary with a touching sincerity that helps make convincing the rather unnatural moral perfection of her character. Mr. Young’s tenor matches Ms. Mackey’s in its bright, limpid richness.

  • Daily Herald

    Earning praise for its grand sound (the ensemble sings beautifully, especially leads Josh Young and Erin Mackey) and good looks (Toni-Leslie James’ period costumes are stunning), the lovingly crafted if overstuffed “Amazing Grace” suffers from narrative glitches (involving fine-tuning and motivation that would make us care about these characters) along with some curious choices in set design and staging.

    Seven years in the making, it marks the professional debut of Pennsylvania police officer turned composer/lyricist Christopher Smith, who co-authored the book with playwright Arthur Giron. The anthemic, ballad-heavy score (conducted by music director Joseph Church) starts off promisingly with “Truly Alive,” an urgent expression of youthful independence. Also impressive is the rousing, abolitionist anthem “We Are Determined” and the haunting “Nowhere Left to Run” exquisitely sung by Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper. (In a missed opportunity, the titular hymn comes as a coda.)


  • Variety

    It’s been a while since a serious, period epic of redemption amid political turmoil formed the basis of a large-scale original musical, and for that reason alone this Broadway tryout in Chicago — based on the true story of English slave-trader-cum-abolitionist-pastor John Newton, who penned the words of the beloved hymn “Amazing Grace” — possesses an admirable ambition.  That sincere earnestness, along with expert pacing and theatrical flair from director Gabriel Barre and superb, intense performances (particularly from Chuck Cooper and Tom Hewitt), carry this show along with moments of genuine potency.

    The pull of the historical and the realistic against the show’s undertow of implied providential miracle makes for a fascinating tension. There’s also the deeply personal and individual sense of God’s presence and mercy competing with the thrust of social justice that drives the larger story. Clearly Smith, a former Pennsylvania policeman who is a newcomer to writing musicals, wants to appeal both to faith-based audiences as well as to more skeptical ones. He and Barre strike a careful balance, but they may be sacrificing depth for breadth of appeal.

  • Something special about this new Broadway show compels people to stand

    Glenn Beck Program

  • Get a Rare, Behind-the-Scenes Look With Glenn Beck at the New Broadway Musical ‘Amazing Grace’

    Glenn Beck Program

  • Faith, Hope and Forgiveness: How the Powerful Story Behind a 236-Year-Old Christian Hymn Is Still Delivering a Major Lesson

    The Blaze

  • Amazing Grace Amazingly Staged

    Break Point

  • The History Lesson I Never Learned

    Love 146: The History Lesson I Never Learned

  • Amazing Grace musical inspires Broadway audiences with biography of hymn composer

    The Christian Examiner

  • “The Most Powerful Song Ever Written” – A Review Of The New Broadway Musical

    Patheos Audience Testimonial

  • Faith Restoring–Discovering “Amazing Grace” and its Backstage Tour

    Blogging From Broadway: Audience Testimonial

  • Final Bow: As Amazing Grace Comes to a Close, Chuck Cooper Considers Its Emotional Ending

    Theatermania Chuck Cooper Interview

  • Jazz hands for Jesus: Inside Broadway's religious revival

    The Week: Jonathan Merritt

  • “It was such a great pleasure to have the opportunity to book groups for AMAZING GRACE. It is rare to find a production that appeals to such a diverse market - tour and travel, seniors, students, faith based organizations of all denominations, private clubs and corporations are among those we booked. Our clients were enthusiastic in their response to this remarkable production. They loved that the story was based on true story but rivaled anything you might find in fiction. The characters were complex men and women that although flawed met challenges and triumphed. The audiences were touched and changed every night by their attendance.
    Thank you again for permitting us to be a part of AMAZING GRACE.”

    Gemma Mulvhill, Broadway in Chicago

  • “As great in message and execution as Les Miserables! If you haven’t seen the show—YOU MUST!”

    Kevin McCullough, Radio Host

  • “Amazing Grace is a powerful and important reminder of the need for equality and human rights for all.”

    Ruth Messinger, Politician and Author

  • “Blown away by the songs, the voices, the staging, everything! Go!”

    Sally Lloyd Jones, Author

  • “Love the music from Amazing Grace.”

    Telly Leung, Actor and Songwriter

  • “Had a lovely night at the theatre!! Congrats to the cast and crew of Amazing Grace!”

    Patina Miller, Actor

  • “Amazing Grace left me speechless. God is on Broadway and it is magnificent.”

    Jonathan Merritt, Journalist

  • “Amazing Grace will thrill the soul with a beautiful example of spiritual transformation.”

    Kevin Sorbo, Actor

  • “This show has the power of the spirit without ever preaching.”

    Glenn Beck, Host

  • “It’s powerful, inspirational and true…a rarity in this world.”

    Kathie Lee Gifford, Host

  • “Had time yesterday with my parents to see Amazing Grace on Broadway. If you don't know the story of John Newton who wrote this song, it is worth it to learn and even better to see the play. So powerful and moving and it was just amazing to share w my parents. Cherish your time with family & loved ones.”

    Kayla Riley, Sirius XM