“Amazing Grace” makes the second new musical set to open this summer — which is a lot by the standards of Broadway, where producers tend to leave the hot-weather months to the tourists who flock to well-established titles rather than newer fare. Also opening this summer is the transfer of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ultra-buzzy downtown hit “Hamilton,” starting performances in July. (Meanwhile, the new play “An Act of God,” which stars Jim Parsons as the Almighty, begins a limited engagement in May and runs through early August.)
“Amazing Grace” — with music and lyrics by tyro musical theater writer Christopher Smith, who also co-wrote the book with Arthur Giron — bowed in Chicago last year and earned reviews that ranged from mixed to positive. The storyline chronicles the life of John Newton, the Englishman who worked as a slave trader before a change of heart compelled him to become an abolitionist, writing the well-known song along the way.
Josh Young (“Jesus Christ Superstar”) will reprise the role of Newton in a Broadway cast that also includes Erin Mackey and Chuck Cooper, among others. Gabriel Barre (Andrew Lippa’s “The Wild Party”) directs, with choreography by Christopher Gatelli (“Newsies”).
“Amazing Grace” begins previews June 25 ahead of a July 16 opening at the Nederlander, the Broadway house where “Honeymoon in Vegas” closed earlier this month.