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Broadway star who appeared in Wicked and Mamma Mia! dies aged 38

Written by on August 17, 2023

Broadway actor Chris Peluso, who starred in shows like Mamma Mia!, Wicked and The Woman in White, has died at the age of 38.

The news was confirmed by the University of Michigan’s musical theatre department’s interim chair Linda Goodrich, who posted a tribute on the theatre’s official Instagram page.

‘The Michigan Musical Theatre family is heartbroken as we announce the passing of our dear family member/alum, the loving, charismatic, and divinely gifted Chris Peluso,’ she wrote.

‘Chris appeared on Broadway in Mamma Mia!, Assasins, Lestat, The Glorious Ones and Beautiful, played Fiyero on tour in Wicked and starred in London in Miss Saigon and Showboat. Our hearts go out to his family.’

The father-of-one suffered from a ‘schizoaffective disorder’ and underwent treatment in 2022 to deal with his ‘debilitating paranoia’ which prevented him from working.

The cause of death is not clear.

In 2022, Peluso’s friends set up a GoFundMe page for him, in which they wrote of how he was receiving treatment in an inpatient mental health rehabilitation center in the US.

The disorder had left Peluso ‘unable to work any job’ and saw him leaving his wife Jess and child Aria to return to America for treatment, according to the page.

They were trying to raise funds for his healthcare prior to his insurance kicking in, with his inpatient treatment costing up to $90,000 (£74,000). They raised over $25,000.

‘It’s not easy to share with the world something you have kept hidden for a long time, and we hope you can appreciate how difficult a decision it was for Chris to allow us to share his story for this fundraiser,’ they added.

The page also quoted Peluso, as it ended with: ‘In his own words, “Hopefully this helps bring some awareness to how so many suffer from mental illness in silence. You never know what someone may be going through. Be kind to each other.”‘

The world of theatre and beyond are now paying their respects to the ‘kind,’ ‘funny,’ and ‘talented’ actor.

Actress Toni Trucks wrote: ‘This is devastating. I only have wonderful memories of Chris. I am holding tight to all of the light he shared. So kind. So funny. So giving. So talented and loving. ❤️’

‘Oh I am heartbroken. Some of the sweetest memories of summer musical theatre were with him and Mark Madama ♥️ sending so much love,’ wrote another friend.

Former co-star, John Haas, said: ‘I’m so very sad to hear about Chris Peluso’s passing and I’m so thankful to have shared the stage and barricade with him 15 years ago.’


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