The story of an amazing 236-year-old song resonates even with jaded New York City audiences, it seems.
The story of an amazing 236-year-old song resonates even with jaded New York City audiences, it seems. The opening of “Amazing Grace” at Broadway’s Nederlander Theater on July 16, 2015, took place just two and a half weeks after President Obama sang the hymn in question during his eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney.
The tragic mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, has become the emotional backdrop for the show, and audiences are responding to its message of hope, faith, and redemption. The producer of “Amazing Grace,” Carolyn Rossi Copeland, said that “it speaks to their heart and it speaks to their soul,” as reported by The Blaze.
Events in the show describe how John Newton, the composer of “Amazing Grace,” experienced a moral awakening that led to his abandoning the family business in the slave trade and becoming an abolitionist, a preacher, and a writer of religious hymns. The timing of the show’s opening, coming close on the heels of the release of a viral video of the President’s eulogy, has inspired everyone involved with the production. The show had been waiting for months for a theater to open, and those connected to the show feel that the July opening date was “providential.”
Reviewers of “Amazing Grace” are less affected by the moral subtext of the show, and most feel that the high point of the production is the simplicity of the title song. An overly complicated plot, and a bombastic quality to the dialogue have led to mixed reviews overall. Reviewers seem to feel though, that the excellent quality of the singing is the show’s own amazing grace.
“Amazing Grace” comes at a moment in history when everyone has been touched and amazed at the forgiveness and love expressed by mourners in South Carolina. It is no wonder that the show has struck a chord in the hearts of audiences.