Chris Peluso, a Broadway actor known for his work in such stage productions as Mamma Mia and Wicked, died Aug. 15 at 40.
Peluso’s family confirmed his death to Playbill. The outlet reported that the actor’s “sudden passing” came one year after he “stepped away from theatre work to seek treatment for a schizoaffective disorder.” No further details were provided.
Peluso first gained attention in the theater world as an understudy covering the Balladeer in the 2004 revival of Assassins, Louis and Nicolas in Elton John’s Lestat, and three leading male roles in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
Dave Benett/Getty Chris Peluso
His most notable roles included playing Sky in Mamma Mia on Broadway and both starring as and serving as understudy for Fiyero on the Wicked tours. He also starred in the Off Broadway production of The Glorious Ones.
Peluso’s talent extended overseas as well: He appeared in London productions including Show Boat, Miss Saigon, The Woman in White, and Death Takes a Holiday, and on the U.K. tour of Funny Girl.
The University of Michigan, Peluso’s alma mater, paid tribute to him on social media Wednesday. “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,” the musical theater department’s interim chair, Linda Goodrich, wrote. “Our hearts go out to his family.”
Fellow actors shared their condolences on the post. Broadway star Desi Oakley wrote, “I learned so much from his kindness & professionalism,” and added, “I am sending so much love to all who walked closely with him.”
And SEAL Team actor 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.”
Peluso is survived by his wife, Jessica Gomes, and their two children.