Hey All! Hope everyone is having a nice and warm winter, if that’s even possible. Ugh, winter, am I right! I miss Spring! I miss Summer! Okay, enough with my Seasonal Depression. Let me get on to what this article is actually about. And no, it’s not about how I miss warmer weather.
This article is for those who enjoy theater. I love theater. I have only written about theater here and there on my blog. For being such a fan of the theater (I know I’ve said “theater” way too much already, but hey it is what I am talking about after all), I am going to start writing about this topic much more on my blog now. Because theater is the best! So if you like theater and Broadway, sit back, grab a snack, and settle in for this gal’s thoughts on one of Broadway’s most interesting and newest theater gems.
After what felt like an eternity of waiting (well, okay it was only a few months), I finally saw the 2019 Tony Award Winner for Best Musical: Hadestown. And let me tell you….. Well, I’ll save my thoughts on this interesting new musical for later on in my article.
Without any further ado……
A brief overview on to what Hadestown is all about.
Hadestown is about a love story. An epic love story. Every character in this show is based upon characters from that of Greek Mythology (although, you don’t have to be familiar with those stories to understand the show). The show follows the love story of Orpheus and Eurydice.
Eurydice is someone who never stays in any one place too long. She is a constant traveler. Never getting too attached to any one place or any one person. Than one day in her travels, she enters a bar where she meets Orpheus. The moment Orpheus locks eyes with Eurydice, he falls madly in love with her.
What follows is Eurydice opening up her heart to a chance at a life with Orpheus, someone who cares for her deeply. She’s never known that life could be like this. That someone could care for her like this. They fall deeply in love.
All her life Eurydice has struggled. And then one day, comes the opportunity for her not to have to struggle any longer. She runs into Hades. Hades is a powerful man, who promises her a chance at living a life that is carefree in a place called Hadestown. Eurydice is intrigued by Hades’s offer. She has struggled to survive all her life. Despite her love for Orpheus, she signs away the life she has for the promise of a better one to Hades. And shortly after that, Eurydice arrives in Hadestown. To live a better life, where she would no longer have to struggle anymore.
Although, Hades’s promise to Eurydice at a better life, turns out to be misleading. When Eurydice enters Hadestown she walks into a place where Hades is the only one who lives a good life. She sees around her others who have also fallen to Hades’s promise of a better life. They work night and day to keep the town running. Hades makes a note to everyone how he should be feared. He is the richest, most powerful man in Hadestown. He believes how those who are poor are nothing. And he is everything because he is the one with all the power, the wealth, the riches.
Orpheus learns of what Eurydice has done, and from there goes on an epic journey to find his love, and bring her back home. He is determined to find Eurydice. And he won’t stop until they are together again.
Ummmm…… I LOVED IT! It was literally such an incredibly moving, insightful and wonderfully done new musical. Anytime there is a lot of hype surrounding something, expectations can be high. And I’m here to tell y’all, that the hype for this show is very much accurate. Hadestown is really that good!
Okay, so I could go on and on and on, for why I loved this show. So, let me tell you now exactly why Hadestown is very much a show that “YOU NEED TO SEE, LIKE NOW!” (I’m not shouting, I just get hyped up when talking theater!).
The acting in this show was top notch, top notch I tell ya! What an amazingly talented group of performers in this musical. You felt every word spoken, every song sung to your core when any member of this cast was ever on stage. Every single performer in this show gave the show everything they had completely.
Reeve Carney – What a performance! After almost a decade away from the Broadway Stage, Carney returns giving a memorable performance as Orpheus in Hadestown. As Orpheus, Carney brings a sweetness and innocence to the part that comes across as genuine and sincere. After seeing the show, I have to say, I am surprised how the Tony Award Nominating Committee left Carney off of the list for Best Actor in a Musical. I mean, like what?!
Eva Noblezada – After starring in the 2016 Broadway Revival of Miss Saigon, Noblezada returns back to Broadway in Hadestown. I never made it to the Revival of Miss Saigon, unfortunately. But I heard great things about the production, as well as Noblezada’s performance. In Hadestown, Noblezada shines. What an amazing performer, with a voice that is just so incredibly strong. Her character is one who many can relate to. She just wants a chance to really get to live. To live a life where she doesn’t have to struggle. Where she just can just live and be happy and be free of the daily grind that life can sometimes be and feel. She brings a strength and a vulnerability to her part as Eurydice, that comes across as very relatable.
Patrick Page – Wowza! Page’s performance in Hadestown are why Tony Awards were invented. Page plays the character of Hades, someone who is so consumed with power and wealth that he has lost any kind of compassion for those who are struggling. Page’s portrayal of Hades is so completely strong and powerful that you feel terrified whenever he is on stage. A powerhouse voice that is strong, deep, and cuts you to your core, any time Page is on stage you feel his presence. His character is not a nice guy, but Page’s performance stays with you.
Amber Gray – A rising star on Broadway, Gray is an incredible talent. Gray, first gained notice when she was in the Broadway Musical “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812”. She sang “Charming”, one of the best numbers in that show. Gray is charming once again, this time as Persephone in Hadestown. There’s a unique tone to Gray’s voice that you can’t help but want to hear it over and over again. She has a presence that grabs your attention every single moment she is on stage.
And last, but certainly not least, Andre De Shields. A veteran of the Broadway Stage, De Shields gives a performance in Hadestown that is just fantastic! De Shields plays Hermes. As Hermes, De Shields narrates every moment of the show telling the story through his words. He is just so sleek, so cool, so insightful, that any time he speaks you listen. De Shields won a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Hadestown. And it was a much deserved win indeed!
Even if you’re not into Broadway or theater, there’s very much a chance that you have heard of one particular song from this new musical without having seen it. That’s thanks in part to this being the song that is featured on the commercials for this production.
And that song would be for the number, “Wait For Me”. What a number! What a number! WHAT…. A….. NUMBER! The melody and rhythm of this song is just so incredibly haunting and beautiful. The song tells of Orpheus’s journey to the underworld of Hadestown to find Eurydice and bring her back home. This song, in particular, is one that continues stays with you long after seeing this production.
“Wait For Me”, is one of the best, if not the best, number in Hadestown. I say this every year, how the Tony Awards should start making a category for Best New Song. And if that category existed for last year’s award show, “Wait For Me” would have been a top contender to win.
The score in this beautiful new musical was written by Anais Mitchell. Mitchell not only wrote the score, she also wrote the book to Hadestown as well. This is Mitchell’s first Broadway score. Thanks to her rich and full of life songs, Mitchell was awarded a Tony Award for Best Score for her work on Hadestown.
Every song in Hadestown tells a story. The songs are beautiful, rich in tone, and are full of joy and sadness at the same time. Hadestown is a musical that is mostly songs vs. songs and a book. The score goes from one song to another seamlessly, with very little dialogue in between. But that’s because the score in this show is very much like a book, with every song sung the story is moving from one moment on to the next.
The atmosphere of Hadestown was perfectly spot on, thanks to an amazing set that captured the vibe of the show completely. The show has a very jazz night club feel to it. When the show starts, it opens up to a jazz / bar club like atmosphere. This is the place to be if one is looking to relax, enjoy themselves with friends, to chill and have a good time.
At a certain point, the set does change ever so slightly to capture what life is like down in Hadestown. The vibe in Hadestown is the opposite of a good time. And the set, captures that feeling completely.
Thanks to an amazing set design by Rachel Hauck, audience members feel as though they are fully in the world of this musical. Hauck was awarded for her work on Hadestown with a Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical.
Rachel Chavkin is pure genius! I saw her production of Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway in 2016. That production was amazing, and much of that had to do with how the show was staged. So I knew even before I saw Hadestown, how it would be a piece of theater that one would remember. Chavkin once again brings her brilliant style of staging to Hadestown. What sets Chavkin apart from other directors is that she is a visionary kind of director. Meaning her productions are truly one of a kind. Her direction is so unique, so brilliant, that it continues to grab your attention every single second something is happening on stage. For her amazing work on Hadestown, Chavkin won a Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical.
*The Only Con to the Production*
The only thing I didn’t care for in Hadestown was how the show was set up. When the show began, there was just so much going on that I felt completely lost. Despite De Shields narration of introducing the characters, the start of the show just felt like a lot. There was just too much happening. And because of that, the beginning of the show felt hard to follow.
Perhaps the reasoning to setting up the show in this manner was that it would make the audience feel as though they were casually being introduced to this world and characters. Although, I felt the opposite and thought the set up for the show felt all over the place. It took about twenty minutes or so to get into the show, and feel like I could understand what was happening. After those twenty minutes though, the show was perfection!
Hadestown is a wonderful show! I love shows that are out of the box, unique and different. Hadestown is a show that doesn’t follow a conventional style of storytelling, setting it apart from other productions which are currently running on Broadway right now.
The moment you walk into the Walter Kerr Theater, you are instantly transported into the world of this show. The performances, the songs, the set, the lighting, along with amazing direction, are all elements that make Hadestown a memorable piece of theater.
When Hadestown began its run on Broadway this past Spring it quickly garnered much buzz. And after seeing it, it’s not hard to see why. It’s a show with heart, depth and insight into the human condition. It shows how life can be hard, but with others by your side it can be a little easier to get through.
I completely and totally recommend this amazing piece of musical theater! If you’re looking for a show to see, go and see Hadestown. Take it from this Theater Dork, it is a show worth your time!
Thanks so much for reading my thoughts on Hadestown!
Have you seen Hadestown? If so, how’d you like it?
Do you have a Favorite Broadway Show?
Thanks so much again for reading! Until Next Time Theater Dorks!