The Broadway community is in mourning as it bids farewell to the talented actor Chris Peluso, renowned for his remarkable performances in productions like “Mamma Mia” and “Wicked.” Peluso, aged 40, passed away on Wednesday, August 15, according to a statement from his family as reported by Playbill. While the exact cause of his death remains undisclosed, his unexpected passing follows his decision last year to step away from acting to seek treatment for a schizoaffective disorder.
An esteemed alumnus of the University of Michigan Theatre Department, Chris Peluso earned a reputation as a respected understudy on Broadway, endearing himself to audiences and colleagues alike. He initially garnered attention as The Balladeer’s understudy in the 2004 Tony-winning revival of “Assassins,” later taking on roles such as Louis and Nicolas in Elton John‘s “Lestat” and portraying all three leading male characters in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” His portrayal of Sky in the 2008 Broadway rendition of “Mamma Mia” solidified his place in the hearts of theatergoers.
Peluso’s talents extended beyond the Great White Way. He also shone as Fiyero in the touring company of “Wicked,” capturing the essence of a character beloved by audiences. Off Broadway, he made his mark in “The Glorious Ones.” Across the pond, Peluso’s performances in London’s West End were equally captivating, with roles including the revival of “Miss Saigon” alongside Eva Noblezada before its transfer to Broadway, as well as appearances in “The Woman in White,” “Death Takes a Holiday,” and “Show Boat.” His artistry was not confined to the stage; he also took center stage in a UK touring production of “Funny Girl.”
The Broadway and theater community expressed its grief and shared fond memories of Peluso on social media platforms, especially on Instagram. The University of Michigan Musical Theatre family released a heartfelt statement, remembering him as a beloved family member and a divinely gifted talent. Toni Trucks, an actor from “SEAL Team,” reminisced about Peluso’s kindness, professionalism, and generosity, while Desi Oakley shared her admiration for his impactful presence.
Chris Peluso’s legacy extends beyond the stage; he is survived by his wife, Jessica Gomes, their daughter Aria Li Gomes-Peluso, and their son Caio Lian Gomes-Peluso. As the theater community mourns his untimely departure, his contributions to the world of performing arts will continue to resonate and inspire generations to come.
The loss of Chris Peluso is a reminder of the profound impact artists have on our lives, leaving behind a legacy that will forever be etched in the annals of Broadway history.