Amber Gray

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Amber Gray
Born (1981-04-02) April 2, 1981 (age 38)
ResidenceBed Stuy, Brooklyn, New York
EducationBoston University (BFA)
New York University (MFA)
OccupationActress, singer
Spouse(s)Gaylen Hamilton (2011–present)
Children2

Amber Gray is an American actress and singer best known for portraying Hélène Kuragina in the 2016 Broadway musical Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812.[1] Gray also played Persephone in the 2016 Off-Broadway musical Hadestown and reprised her role for the Broadway transfer, for which she received favorable reviews and a Tony Award nomination.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Gray is an Army brat and spent her early childhood across Europe and The United States.[3] She later settled in Massachusetts and 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]

Career[edit]

In 2012, Gray first became involved with Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812, an electro-pop opera based on War and Peace. Gray portrayed Countess Hélène Bezukhova in the musical's performances at the Off-Off-Broadway Ars Nova Theater.[5] 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.[6]

In 2014, Gray reprised her leading role as Zoe in An Octoroon at Soho Repertory Theatre (she had previously performed as Zoe in 2010 at P.S.122).[7] 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, saying it, "seems like an impossible role".[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.[2] Gray was again directed by Rachel Chavkin, whom she collaborated with during Great Comet.[8] Gray was praised by critics, who were impressed by her "vocal dexterity,"[9] "charisma," and "powerhouse voice".[10] 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.

Theatre credits[edit]

Years Production Role Director Location
2004 Ain't Misbehavin Charlaine Marcia Milgrom Dodge Huntington Theatre Company
2005 Lady Windermere's Fan Lady Plymdale Moisés Kaufman Williamstown Theatre Festival
2005 On The Razzle Lisette David Jones Williamstown Theatre Festival
2005 Prudence Sarah Tyler Marchant Connecticut Repertory Theatre
2006 Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir Activist, Singer Savitri D Internationally
2009 A Midsummer Night's Dream Puck, Hippolyta, Theseus Jim Calder Florence's Villa La Pietra, NYC Bandshells, Classic Stage Company
2010 An Octoroon Zoe P.S. 122
2010 Banished Children of Eve Eliza Ciaran O’Reilly Irish Repertory Theatre
2011 Sueño The Sun Jack Fletcher Atlas Theatre
2011– 2013 The TEAM's Mission Drift Joan Rachel Chavkin P.S. 122's COIL Festival, London's National Theatre, Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre, Lisbon, Coimbra, Salzburg, Hong Kong, Perth, Williams College
2012 All Hands Greta Alec Duffy Hoi Polloi
2012 We Play for the Gods Simi Jessi D. Hill, Sarah Rasmussen, Mia Rovegno Women's Project
2012 The World is Round Rose Rose Rose Rachel Dickstein Ripe Time
2012 Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 Hélène Rachel Chavkin Ars Nova
2012 Eager to Lose Trixie Portia Krieger and Wes Grantom Ars Nova
2013 Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 Hélène Rachel Chavkin Kazino Meatpacking District
2014 Kazino Times Square
2014 An Octoroon Zoe Sarah Benson Soho Rep
2014–2015 A 24 Decade History of Popular Music: 1900's-1950's Singer Taylor Mac, Niegel Smith New York Live Arts with Under the Radar
2015 An Octoroon Zoe Sarah Benson Theatre for a New Audience
2015 Oklahoma! Laurey Williams Daniel Fish Bard SummerScape
2015 Iphigenia in Aulis Clytemnestra, Menelaus Rachel Chavkin Classic Stage Company
2016 Hadestown Persephone New York Theatre Workshop
2016–2017 Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 Hélène Imperial Theatre, Broadway
2017 The TEAM's Primer for a Failed Superpower Activist, Singer Roulette
2017 Hadestown Persephone Edmonton's Citadel Theatre
2018–2019 Olivier Theatre, Royal National Theatre
2019 Walter Kerr Theatre, Broadway

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
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[11]
2018 Sterling Awards Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Hadestown Won[12]
2019 Tony Awards[13] Best Featured Actress in a Musical Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards[14] Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Won
Drama League Awards[15] Distinguished Performance Award Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ Isherwood, Charles (2016-11-14). "Review: 'Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,' on the Heels of 'Hamilton'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  2. ^ a b Isherwood, Charles (2016-05-23). "Review: 'Hadestown' Reanimates a Well-Known Myth". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  3. ^ a b Soloski, Alexis (23 April 2014). "Amber Gray on 'An Octoroon,' at Soho Rep". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  4. ^ Tisch NYU. "Select Alumni Bios". tisch.nyu.edu. New York University. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  5. ^ H., Claire (3 December 2013). "Amber Gray on her adventures in "Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812"". Stage Door Dish. Stage Door Dish. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  6. ^ Editors, American Theatre (11 May 2017). "'Great Comet' Actors and More Receive Theatre World Awards". AMERICAN THEATRE. Theatre Communications Group. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  7. ^ Clement, Oivia (March 17, 2015). "An Octoroon Star Amber Gray on the "Secrets and Lies" of Race and Theatre | Playbill". Playbill. Playbill Inc. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  8. ^ Kaplan, Janice (26 May 2016). "The Next 'Hamilton' Takes Place in Hell—and Stars Donald Trump". The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast Company. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  9. ^ Stewart, Zachary. "Hadestown". TheaterMania.com. Theater Mania. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  10. ^ Patterson, Megan. "All Aboard the Train to Hadestown". HowlRound. Emerson College. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  11. ^ Theatre World Awards. "Theatre World Awards - Theatre World Awards". www.theatreworldawards.org. Theatre World Awards. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  12. ^ Sterling Awards. "Sterling Awards". Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  13. ^ McPhee, Ryan (2019-04-30). "2019 Tony Award Nominations: Hadestown and Ain't Too Proud Lead the Pack". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  14. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (2019-04-23). "Hadestown, Tootsie & Oklahoma! Lead 2019 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations". Broadway.com. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  15. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (2019-04-17). "Nominations Announced for 85th Annual Drama League Awards". Broadway.com. Retrieved 2019-04-17.