‘Wicked’ and ‘Mamma Mia’ Broadway Star Dies at 40

The world of theater mourns the sudden passing of Broadway actor Chris Peluso, who died at the age of 40 on August 15. Peluso, renowned for his performances in popular musicals such as “Mamma Mia” and “Wicked,” leaves behind his wife, Jessica Gomes, and their two children, Aria Li and Caio Lian. The cause of his death remains undisclosed.

Peluso’s alma mater, the University of Michigan, expressed their grief over the loss of their former student. Linda Goodrich, the interim chair of the school’s musical theatre program, took to Instagram to share a heartfelt tribute to the late actor, describing him as a “loving, charismatic, and divinely gifted” individual.

Throughout his career, Peluso amassed an impressive list of stage credits, including roles in Broadway productions like “Assassins,” “Lestat,” “The Glorious Ones,” and “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” His most notable performances were as Sky in “Mamma Mia!” and Fiyero in “Wicked.”

In addition to his Broadway success, Peluso also made a name for himself in London’s West End, where he starred in productions such as “Funny Girl,” “Show Boat,” “Miss Saigon,” and “The Woman in White.”

Peluso’s death comes several months after he publicly disclosed his struggle with schizoaffective disorder, a mental health condition characterized by symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations or delusions, and mood disorder symptoms, like depression or mania, as defined by the Mayo Clinic.

In September 2022, a GoFundMe page was set up to raise funds for Peluso’s mental wellness treatment. The campaign revealed that his diagnosis had led to severe paranoia, which had hindered his ability to perform in recent years. The fundraising was halted two months later after raising over $25,000. Peluso expressed gratitude for the support and shared that his treatment had concluded and he was improving.

Peluso had even returned to work and started auditioning again, acknowledging that his recovery would be a lifelong process involving therapy and medical assistance. He expressed deep appreciation for the support he received, stating that his progress would not have been possible without it.