Broadway Actor Best Known For ‘Mama Mia!’ Dies At 40
Broadway actor Chris Peluso is probably best known for performing in “Mamma Mia!” on Broadway and for performing in the touring company of “Wicked” as Fiyero. He also acted in London’s West End, performing in “Miss Saigon” and “Showboat.”
Now, the theater department at Peluso’s alma mater, The University of Michigan, is sharing the sad news that Peluso has died at the age of 40. He is survived by his wife, Jessica Gomes, and their two children, a daughter named Aria Li and a son named Caio Lian.
On Instagram, Linda Goodrich, the Interim Chair of The University of Michigan’s theater department, wrote, “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.” After a list of Peluso’s acting credits, Goodrich added, “Our hearts go out to his family.”
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While many knew Peluso as an actor, most people didn’t know about his internal struggles. In 2022, he decided to let his friends share his diagnosis in order to set up a fundraiser on his behalf.
In September 2022, Peluso’s friends Rebecca LaChance and Tim Oxbrow set up a GoFundMe on behalf of Peluso explaining that he “suffers from schizoaffective disorder. This diagnosis has resulted in Chris experiencing debilitating paranoia, which has kept him from performing in recent years.”
In an attempt to recover and perhaps one day return to acting, Peluso left London and returned to the United States to seek treatment. Unfortunately, the cost of treatment was more than he could afford, and his insurance didn’t cover it, thus the GoFundMe. In the end, the fundraiser raised over $25,000, and it has since been closed.
In November, Peluso gave an update explaining, “I’m very pleased to say that I completed the in-patient treatment facility in Tennessee and have been stable and doing well! The new medication I’m on works well to keep my symptoms in check and has minimal side effects. I’m able to hold down a job again and even began taping some auditions. It’s going to be a life long process of going to therapy and working with doctors but I’m so much better than I was before treatment.”
No cause of death has been mentioned for Peluso. It may or may not be related to his struggle with schizoaffective disorder. Rest in peace.