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Laiona Michelle of AMAZING GRACE finds food for the soul + stomach in Chicago

‘Amazing Grace’ cast member Laiona Michelle (Nanna) will be participating in a LIVE Twitter chat tomorrow at noon CST! You can ask her questions using #amazingBIC on Twitter or replying to @broadwaychicago. In this blog entry she describes her experiences with Chicago’s food, faith and friendliness.

My favorite food spots in Chicago were Lou Malnati’s pizza, Mercadito and Table 52. For the first time in my life I was introduced to “real” Chicago style deep-dish pizza. Two words, “HOLY MOLY”. I shared a medium-size deep dish pizza with my cast mate and we had to force ourselves to stop eating simply due to the fact that we both wear unforgiving corsets in the show. I also love great Mexican food. Mercadito is by far the best Mexican food I have ever tasted in the USA. The tocino guacamole was a big winner and the estilo baja (mahi mahi beer battered tacos) were delicious! Lastly, Table 52 (Southern comfort food) made me feel right at home.

In addition to the great food, my spirit was also fed. I worshiped at The First United Methodist Church. When you enter there is this beautiful wood carving that depicts Jesus weeping over the city of Jerusalem. The congregation was welcoming and the service was lovely.

My time here in Chicago has been overall life-changing in many ways.  I have met some remarkable people both on and off stage. The audiences here have been simply wonderful and honest. I was often surprised by their vocal reactions and their emotional investment. They have taught me that this show, Amazing Grace, is not just a musical theatre piece, but for many a needed experience that they have been hungry for. I had the opportunity to speak with quite a few people who felt compelled to share their thoughts, private opinions and deep gratitude. It’s also been a joy to arrive at work and be greeted by ushers that are equally enthusiastic and moved to share their personal  experience as well. Thank you Chicago!