WITNESS UGANDA (AN AMERICAN MUSICAL) is an album of music from the powerful musical envisioned by creative duo Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews. Available February 11, 2022, the album features 24 songs from the show, as performed by Matthews and a star-studded cast including multi-hyphenate 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. Originally making its world premiere at Harvard University’s American Repertory Theater in 2014, Witness Uganda then had an off-Broadway run at Second Stage in 2015 under the moniker Invisible Thread. The musical was then 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 Post and more.
Bringing audiences together and breaking down borders, the unabashedly political musical is at times both funny and painfully raw, created by and for queer artists
“We call the show Witness Uganda (An American Musical), because it’s really about a Black American man’s reckoning with his power and insignificance in the world,” observes Matthews. “As people from the United States, we’re taught that we’re the leaders of the world; We must learn that good leadership requires humility and building community with other cultures. The racial uprisings during thepandemic—especially within theater—had a lot of people re-evaluating what stories were and weren’t being told. So we saw this album as an opportunity to celebrate Black voices and the ways in which those voices can offer new perspectives into what it means to be American both in the United States and abroad.”
In the end, Witness Uganda chronicles an unbelievable and universal story for its creators.
“In some ways, this is our family photo album,” Gould leaves off. “This album is the culmination of the work of hundreds of friends, colleagues, and artists who have collaborated on this show over the years. That anyone in the world can hear this music and be touched by that work is miraculous. It is the realization of what we dreamed of when we started.”
“I hope you see yourself in Witness Uganda,” concludes Matthews. “I hope you say, that’s me. That’s my story.”