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Amber Gray

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Amber Gray
EducationBoston University (BFA)
New York University (MFA)
Occupation(s)Actress, singer
Galen Hamilton
(m. 2011)

Amber Gray is an American actress and singer. She is known for originating the role of Hélène Bezukhova in the musical Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812[1] and the role of Persephone in the musical Hadestown, both off and on Broadway. For the latter 2019 role, she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, additionally earning the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Gray is a military brat and spent her early childhood across Europe and the United States.[3] She later settled in Wayland, Massachusetts, where she attended Wayland High School.

She attended Boston University where she received a BFA in acting and New York University where she received an MFA in acting.[4]


In 2007, she began her screen career by appearing in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, titled "Haystack", as a character named Raye.[5] She also worked as a photographer on Canada's Top Model in 2009 on the episode "Bright Lights: No Pity". In 2012, Gray first became involved with Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812. Gray portrayed Countess Hélène Bezukhova in the musical's performances at the Off-Off-Broadway Ars Nova Theater.[6] Gray continued with Great Comet when it moved to Kazino Meatpacking in 2013, Kazino Times Square in 2014, and when it opened on Broadway in late 2016. Gray was awarded a 2017 Theatre World Award for her performance as Hélène.[7]

In 2014, Gray reprised her leading role as Zoe in An Octoroon at Soho Repertory Theatre[8] An Octoroon utilized the plot of The Octoroon, an 1859 melodrama, but turned it into a contemporary new play that discusses America's slave history and both past and present racism. In an interview with The New York Times , Gray spoke of the part's difficulty due to many intense racial scenes/[3] Gray remained with the production when it went on to play at Theatre for a New Audience in 2015.

In 2016, Gray portrayed Persephone in New York Theatre Workshop's production of the new musical Hadestown, based on Anaïs Mitchell's album of the same name and the tragic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.[2] Gray was again directed by Rachel Chavkin, whom she collaborated with during Great Comet.[9] Gray was praised by critics, who were impressed by her "vocal dexterity,"[10] "charisma," and "powerhouse voice".[11] She reprised this role in the Edmonton Citadel Theatre, London National Theatre, and Broadway productions. For the Broadway production, she received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

In 2021, Gray appeared in the Amazon limited series The Underground Railroad as Gloria Valentine.[12][13]

Personal life[edit]

Gray married Galen Hamilton in 2011.[14] They have two children.[15]

Gray is biracial.[16][17]


Years Production Role Theatre Director
2004 Ain't Misbehavin Charlaine Huntington Theatre Company Marcia Milgrom Dodge
2005 Lady Windermere's Fan Lady Plymdale Williamstown Theatre Festival Moisés Kaufman
On The Razzle Lisette Williamstown Theatre Festival David Jones
Prudence Sarah Connecticut Repertory Theatre Tyler Marchant
2006 Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir Activist, Singer Internationally Savitri D
2009 A Midsummer Night's Dream Puck, Hippolyta, Theseus Florence's Villa La Pietra, NYC Bandshells, Classic Stage Company Jim Calder
2010 An Octoroon Zoe P.S. 122 Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Banished Children of Eve Eliza Irish Repertory Theatre, Off-Broadway Ciaran O'Reilly
2011 Sueño The Sun Atlas Theatre Jack Fletcher
2011–13 The TEAM's Mission Drift Joan P.S. 122's COIL Festival, London's National Theatre, Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre, Lisbon, Coimbra, Salzburg, Hong Kong, Perth, Williams College Rachel Chavkin
2012 All Hands Greta Hoi Polloi Alec Duffy
We Play for the Gods Simi Women's Project Jessi D. Hill, Sarah Rasmussen, Mia Rovegno
The World is Round Rose Rose Rose Ripe Time Rachel Dickstein
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 Hélène Kuragina Bezukhova Ars Nova, Off-Broadway Rachel Chavkin
Eager to Lose Trixie Ars Nova Portia Krieger and Wes Grantom
2013 Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 Hélène Kuragina Bezukhova Kazino Meatpacking District, Off-Broadway Rachel Chavkin
2014 Kazino Times Square, Off-Broadway
An Octoroon Zoe Soho Rep Sarah Benson
2014–15 A 24 Decade History of Popular Music: 1900s-1950s Singer New York Live Arts with Under the Radar Taylor Mac, Niegel Smith
2015 An Octoroon Zoe Theatre for a New Audience Sarah Benson
Oklahoma! Laurey Williams Bard SummerScape Daniel Fish
Iphigenia in Aulis Clytemnestra, Menelaus Classic Stage Company Rachel Chavkin
2016 Hadestown Persephone New York Theatre Workshop, Off-Broadway
2016–17 Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 Hélène Kuragina Bezukhova Imperial Theatre, Broadway
2017 The TEAM's Primer for a Failed Superpower Activist, Singer Roulette
Hadestown Persephone Edmonton's Citadel Theatre
2018–19 Olivier Theatre, Royal National Theatre
2019–22 Walter Kerr Theatre, Broadway
2019 Into the Wild Performer Playwrights Horizons[18] Lila Neugebauer
2021 Against Women and Music Celine Gray Virtual production Sarna Lapine
2022 Macbeth Banquo Longacre Theatre, Broadway Sam Gold
2023 Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris Performer Benefit performance in Tangier, Morocco Rob Ashford
2023–24 Here We Are Claudia Bursik-Zimmer The Shed, Off-Broadway Joe Mantello


Year Title Role Notes
2011 Roger, the Chicken Dr. Rose
2013 The Weekend Maggie
2017 Walden: Life in the Woods Melinda
2021 Where There's Smoke Jenifer Short film
2022 Master Liv Beckman
Year Title Role Notes
2007 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Raye Episode: "Haystack"
2018 Escape at Dannemora Annie 2 episodes
2020 Ms. Guidance Bethany Bump 6 episodes
2021 Bull Dr. Kinsey Episode: "To Save a Life"
2021 The Underground Railroad Gloria Valentine 2 episodes
2023 The Gilded Age Bea Sturt Episode: "Close Enough to Touch"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2017 Lucille Lortel Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical Hadestown Nominated
Theatre World Award Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway Debut Performance Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 Won [19]
2018 Sterling Awards Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Hadestown Won [20]
2019 Tony Awards Best Featured Actress in a Musical Nominated [21]
Outer Critics Circle Awards Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Won [22]
Drama League Awards Distinguished Performance Award Nominated [23]
2020 Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Won [24]


  1. ^ Isherwood, Charles (November 14, 2016). "Review: 'Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,' on the Heels of 'Hamilton'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Isherwood, Charles (May 23, 2016). "Review: 'Hadestown' Reanimates a Well-Known Myth". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Soloski, Alexis (April 23, 2014). "Amber Gray on 'An Octoroon,' at Soho Rep". The New York Times. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  4. ^ Tisch NYU. "Select Alumni Bios". tisch.nyu.edu. New York University. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  5. ^ "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" Haystack (TV Episode 2007) - IMDb, retrieved April 17, 2020
  6. ^ H., Claire (December 3, 2013). "Amber Gray on her adventures in "Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812"". Stage Door Dish. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  7. ^ "'Great Comet' Actors and More Receive Theatre World Awards". AMERICAN THEATRE. Theatre Communications Group. May 11, 2017. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  8. ^ Clement, Oivia (March 17, 2015). "An Octoroon Star Amber Gray on the "Secrets and Lies" of Race and Theatre". Playbill. Playbill Inc. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  9. ^ Kaplan, Janice (May 26, 2016). "The Next 'Hamilton' Takes Place in Hell—and Stars Donald Trump". The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast Company. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  10. ^ Stewart, Zachary. "Hadestown". TheaterMania.com. Theater Mania. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  11. ^ Patterson, Megan (August 23, 2016). "All Aboard the Train to Hadestown". HowlRound. Emerson College. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  12. ^ Evans, Greg (October 24, 2019). "'The Underground Railroad': Broadway's Amber Gray Joins Amazon Limited Series". Deadline. Retrieved May 13, 2021.
  13. ^ Selleck, Emily (October 24, 2019). "Hadestown Star Amber Gray Joins Amazon's The Underground Railroad". Playbill. Retrieved May 13, 2021.
  14. ^ "Livin' It Up: Amber Gray Goes from 'Weak Link' of the School Play to Tony-Nominated Hadestown Standout". Broadway.com. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  15. ^ "Hadestown Tony Nominee Amber Gray on Raising Babies While Performing 8 Shows a Week on Broadway". People. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  16. ^ Clement, Olivia (March 17, 2015). "An Octoroon Star Amber Gray on the "Secrets and Lies" of Race and Theatre". Playbill. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  17. ^ Soloski, Alexis (April 23, 2014). "Returning to an 'Impossible' Role". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  18. ^ Amber Gray, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Ryan McCartan, More Featured in Industry Reading of Into the Wild Musical
  19. ^ Theatre World Awards. "Theatre World Awards - Theatre World Awards". www.theatreworldawards.org. Theatre World Awards. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  20. ^ Sterling Awards. "Sterling Awards". Archived from the original on July 4, 2018. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  21. ^ McPhee, Ryan (April 30, 2019). "2019 Tony Award Nominations: Hadestown and Ain't Too Proud Lead the Pack". Playbill. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  22. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (April 23, 2019). "Hadestown, Tootsie & Oklahoma! Lead 2019 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations". Broadway.com. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  23. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (April 17, 2019). "Nominations Announced for 85th Annual Drama League Awards". Broadway.com. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  24. ^ "2020 GRAMMYs Awards Show: Complete Winners & Nominations List". www.grammy.com. Retrieved January 15, 2023.

External links[edit]