Sony Masterworks Broadway today releases the Studio Cast Recording of WITNESS UGANDA (AN AMERICAN MUSICAL), an album of music from the powerful musical envisioned by the creative duo of Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews. Available everywhere now, the album features 24 songs from the show, as performed by Matthews and a star-studded cast including multihyphenate superstar Cynthia Erivo, GRAMMY-winning recording artist Ledisi, and stage-and-screen stars Nicolette Robinson, Emma Hunton and Kristolyn Lloyd, among others.
Featuring a book and score by Griffin Matthews and Matt Gould, and inspired by true events, Witness Uganda documents Griffin’s journey on a volunteer mission to Uganda, during which he builds an unlikely bond with a ragtag group of teenage students. When home doesn’t feel like home, and any family connections must be forged, Griffin and the students discover community where they least expect it.
The album was initially introduced with lead single, “Bricks,” a high-energy ensemble number featuring a resounding chorus and propulsive African rhythms – watch the song visualizer here. Released alongside a stirring music video, follow-up single, “Fall,” features as a duet between Griffin Matthews and Emma Hunton, as they both share their profound personal stories regarding race and body image, and the painful scars that have inevitably developed along the way. Both singles showcase the breadth of the 24-track album, which also includes the emotionally-charged ballad “Be The Light.” GRAMMY Award-winning R&B songstress Ledisi performs alongside Matthews and Hunton to create vocal fireworks that are both vulnerable yet fiercely resilient. Ultimately, the album mirrors the storytelling at the heart of the unabashedly political musical – both funny at times and painfully raw at others, Witness Uganda (An American Musical) brings audiences together and breaks down barriers.
Originally making its world premiere at Harvard University’s American Repertory Theater in 2014, Witness Uganda was created by and for queer artists. After an off-Broadway run at Second Stage in 2015 under the moniker Invisible Thread, the musical was reimagined for its West Coast premiere at The Wallis in 2019, where it found widespread critical acclaim, with Associated Press calling it, “a vibrant, pulsating musical,” and TimeOut NY declaring, “the show releases gale-force waves of faith, hope and love.” Since its inception, Witness Uganda has received additional nods from press including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, CBS, Huffington Postand more.
The album marks a full circle moment for the married co-creators, both of whom made separate long-term sojourns to different countries in Africa. During his first trip to Uganda as part of an aid trip, Matthews was inspired to launch UgandaProject, which opens up educational opportunities for Ugandan students. To date, the musical has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support UgandaProject. Matthews has starred on stage and across film and television with credits including The Flight Attendant, Dear White People, Ballers, Law & Order: SVU, and more. Meanwhile, Gould has garnered the Richard Rodgers Award twice, The Jonathan Larson Award, and ASCAP’s Dean Kay, Harold Adamson, and Richard Rodgers Awards.
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