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Hadestown was so beautiful and spiritual that it instantly became one of my favorite musicals ever.
I laughed, I wept, and I was inspired by this hypnotic musical retelling of the Orpheus tragedy.
Nominated for 14 Tony Awards® including Best Musical, Hadestown, is the acclaimed new show by celebrated singer-songwriter and Tony Award nominee Anaïs Mitchell, developed with and directed by Tony Award nominee Rachel Chavkin. The smash-hit show began performances at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Friday, March 22 and officially opened on Broadway Wednesday, April 17.
Following two intertwining love stories — that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone — Hadestown invites audiences on a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back. Mitchell’s beguiling melodies and Chavkin’s poetic imagination pit industry against nature, doubt against faith, and fear against love. Performed by a vibrant ensemble of actors, dancers, and singers, Hadestown delivers a deeply resonant and defiantly hopeful theatrical experience. The parallels with our current political situation can’t be missed. “Why We Build The Wall” is a powerful statement that also forces you to think about the hateful rhetoric coming from the current administration regarding the migrants at the border. I was stunned to hear that this song was written over ten years ago because it is so timely.
I was so deeply moved by this wonderful play that I actually got teary-eyed at times. Eurydice’s sad decision to sell her soul, because she is living in poverty, made me think of the migrants and their plight. It also made me think of every one of us that has ever had to work a less than desirable job just to survive and the death to hope and spirit that occurs when we have to do so. I also took a really important lesson about not doubting God from the plight of Orpheus, who loses everything dear to him, because he just can’t trust in God’s grace. The message is transformational and vital.
The entire cast is stellar. It is a once-in-a-Lifetime experience to see two Broadway legends – the subtle strength of Andre De Shields as Hermes, the messenger God combined with the sheer force of Patrick Page as Hades, the God of the Underworld. Patrick oozes raw sex appeal with his booming voice and devilish swagger. When he sings the words “lover” and “hey little songbird” every heart flutters…EVERY heart!
The voices of Eva Noblezada and Reeve Carney gave me goosebumps throughout the show and Amber Gray steals every scene she is in. She plays Persephone with the pathos that comes when a beautiful woman becomes heartbroken and turns to alcohol or drugs. You laugh with her but her underlying melancholy is raw and heart-wrenching.
I was particularly pleased to find out that this amazing show was created, directed and designed by women. Folk singer Anais Mitchell first conceived Hadestown as a concept album in 2006, then reworked it for the stage in 2016. The current incarnation as directed by Rachel Chavkin with scenic design by Rachel Hauck is an absolutely breathtaking experience. I was blessed to be close to the stage, so I was able to have the full effect of the set and the lighting design. I suggest you get tickets as close as you can.
The magic of Hadestown and its transformational message will stay with you long after the curtain closes. Since seeing Hadestown, I find myself saying “don’t look back” and “have Faith” whenever I am a bit sad or in doubt.
In the ten years since I launched That Girl At The Party – (yes! It has been 10 years!) – I have been blessed to experience numerous wonderful performances. Hadestown is in my top three. It is, without a doubt, this year’s Best Musical, deserving of every Tony nod it has received. I loved it so much that I want to see it again and again and so will you.