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Lights of Broadway: Hadestown (2023)




Synopsis: Welcome to Hadestown, where a song can change your fate. This acclaimed musical by singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and director Rachel Chavkin is the winner of 8 Tony Awards(R) including Best Musical and the Grammy Award(R) for Best Musical Theater Album. It intertwines two mythic tales — that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone — as it takes you on an unforgettable journey to the underworld and back. Performed by a vibrant ensemble of actors, singers and dancers, Hadestown invites you to imagine how the world could be.


Review:

From the mind of Anaïs Mitchell, Hadestown was born. This retelling of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice is set in the 30s depression era. Orpheus (portrayed by Reeve Carney), a poet and the son of a muse falls in love with Eurydice (portrayed by Eva Noblezada), a dryad. Following her death, or in this interpretation her decision to leave for the underworld due to the poverty and cruelty, Orpheus decides to descend into Hadestown to bring back the love of his life. Rounding out the cast of characters was the effervescent Lillias White as Hermes serving as the Narrator, Tom Hewitt as the villain Hades, and for this specific production, understudy Brit West as Persephone, the wife of Hades.

The story coupled with the music and the book created by Anaïs Mitchell was ethereal and wholly unique. This adaptation of the original Grecian myth felt brand new to the Broadway stage. Ms. Mitchell’s expert ability to weave elements of folk and opera into the creation of her music caused a truly unique sound to emerge. The decision to have a true bass vocal track and a true lyrical tenor track created some of the most deceptively beautiful music. The only faltering came from Reeve Carney’s Orpheus who after portraying the role 8 days a week since its first preview on March 22, 2019, sounded a tiny bit tired while flipping between head and chest voice (with this being the most picky of a critique). Ms. Mitchell’s transformative score is one of the strongest on Broadway at this current time.


Having the monumental undertaking of direction for Hadestown is Rachel Chavkin. Ms. Chavkin’s directorial choices alongside David Neumann’s choreography were tight and succinct. The show flowed beautifully from scene to scene with the cast fully committing to their characters. The final moment of him looking back was probably the single greatest moment as the audience with held breath had the exact reaction you want from that moment, the large visceral gasp. Other tech pieces like Rachel Hauck’s scenic design, Michael Krass’s costuming design, and Bradley King’s lighting design further pushed the piece into a category of life-changing theatre.


Overall, Hadestown was great. The music was catchy, the story was powerful, and the whole experience felt largely unique and captured the very best Broadway has to offer. The show continuing to survive after the pandemic is largely proof of how good this is.


Hadestown earns itself an easy 5 out of 5 stars.



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