Hadestown, the re-telling of one of the most famous Greek Myths and one of the most tragic. The story of the great singer Orpheus and his love of the beautiful Eurydice, set far into the future on a ravaged world nearing its end, haunted by the Gods Hades and Persephone, the rulers of the underworld and the last bastion of humankind on this world, the town of Hadestown. A town kept safe from the ravaged world above, where you can still feel warmth, where you can still get food, where you can still find purpose, but it also harbors a dark secret, one you only find out when you arrive, and once you find out you may never leave…
“Hadestown feels like something more intuitive, elemental, and finely woven than a traditional musical.” – The Guardian
“SUMPTUOUS. GORGEOUS. AS GOOD AS IT GETS. You wish you could live in the glowy moment forever.” – The New York Times
“Good luck trying to get these melodies out of your head.” – The Star-Ledger
Dear Readers – our story begins with the God Hermes introducing the characters with Eurydice decrying the hardships of poverty and adverse weather conditions gripping the land, no un-similar to and pertinent in todays’ climate change crises. Our unlikely hero, Orpheus, a fledgling songwriter, proclaims his love for Eurydice and asked for her hand in marriage. The realistic girl cannot see things working for them, as they both come from the same despicable living conditions. Despite hearing about the horrendous worker conditions in Hadestown, Eurydice is intrigued and interested in the talk of money and security on offer.
King Hades, suffering from inattention and mis-understanding in his marriage, wanders the upper world, seeking likely candidates to add to his workforce and manages to entice Eurydice into join him. The unpleasant living and weather conditions are not sufficient factors for consideration, and so Eurydice follows the King, to shelter and security.
Finding Eurydice gone, Orpheus follows her to the industrial underground of Hadestown. In an attempt to free Eurydice from the clutches of King Hades, Orpheus offers to sing his newly completed love song to an unhappy King Hades and is wife Persephone, in exchange for the freedom of Eurydice. King Hades is faced with a dilemma arising from feelings stirred by this love song and Orpheus’s proposal, of also allowing most of his workforce to walk away from oppression. Between a rock and a hard place, King Hades ultimately accepts, but lest we say, with some conditions… In the true spirit of a Greek tragedy, these conditions seal the fate of our singer-songwriter Orpheus and his lover, Eurydice.
“This is a show for people who really love music, and folks who are open to, or better yet, hungry for unconventional theatrical experiences. The myths will always be relevant, that’s part of their mysterious power.” – Anaïs Mitchell.
“UTTERLY FABULOUS. RACHEL CHAVKIN is fearlessly innovative. Her wildly inventive production arrives on Broadway with A FURNACE-LIKE BLAST OF CREATIVITY.” -The Hollywood Reporter
“Unforgettable. Simply one of the most exquisite works of musical storytelling I’ve seen in my more than 25 years as a theater critic. In its supple convergence of story and song, Hadestown represents a step forward for the art form.” – Los Angeles Times
Anais Mitchell, originally wrote the music, the Lyrics and music book. The original show premiered in Barrie, Vermont in 2006. In 2012 Mitchel met director Rachel Chavkin and together they reworked and revamped the stage production, adding in some new music. This re-worked version premiered at New York Theatre Workshop in 2016, and at Broadway in 2019 after sell out performances in both London and Edmonton. The Broadway production opened to critical acclaim and received numerous awards and nominations. At the 73rd Tony Awards Hadestown received 14 nominations (the most nominations for the performing evening) and won eight of them, including Best Musical and Best Original Score.
From the 2019 Broadway production, comes this review. Directed by Rachel Chavkin, “Hadestown” contains a stunning visual design evoking both a New Orleans barroom scene and a smoldering mechanical underworld, complemented by the motion of turntables, a rollicking band, bold performances and expressive dance choreography. Whereas the previous Off-Broadway production was performed in the round, no impact has been lost in the transition to a traditional proscenium theater. The score – which contains airy folk-pop for the lovers and a livelier jazz idiom for the denizens of the underworld – comes off as distinctive and authentic by Broadway standards. Many of the songs are reflective in nature, which leads to some slow points, especially in Act Two. But, more often than not, “Hadestown” is exciting, compelling and beautiful.
The Hollywood reporter reviewed this as, “Road to Hell,” the exhilarating opening number of the utterly fabulous Hadestown, Hermes, the conductor of souls into the afterlife, invites us to “Ride that train to the end of the line.” He’s played with seductive authority and knowing humor, outfitted like a superfly pimp in a flashy silver suit, and it’s hard to imagine anyone resisting his call. He sells a ticket to a bewitching journey that pays off at every turn.