Review: Get The Ticket To Go To Hadestown!

Hadestown, The Musical
Paramount Theatre
July 12-17, 2022 get tickets and info here.

hadestown

Kevyn Morrow in the Hadestown North American Tour (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

Hadestown is the smash musical that won eight  (2019) Tony Awards! A score that mixes blues, rock, and jazz with rockabilly music retells one of the oldest stories in the world. Set against a backdrop of unadulterated love this musical blends classic mythology, a Southern Gospel revival sprinkled with New Orleans flavor all to make a wonderful updated retelling.

The band is already on stage and playing when the opening number begins. It is any one of many bars in New Orleans. The unofficial narrator of the musical Hermes starts to sing and brings the bar to a place of celebration in song. They retell the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, one of the oldest love tales, and of Persephone and Hades the love of the gods that changes the seasons. Orpheus is the son of a Muse, and has an incredible gift for music. Under the friendship of Hermes, the Messenger of the Gods, Orpheus is trying to write the one song that will let the seasons once again regulate themselves. Only Summer and Winter appear as Persephone, who now favors ‘living it up’ instead of her husband’s affection, and Hades; who has become obsessed with neon, gems, and the cold metals that mankind labors for all their lives and beyond. The love between the gods has been forgotten and so only the two most extreme seasons appear on Earth. Eurydice hungers for both the food and the material world that Orpheus cannot offer. Hades offers her wealth beyond what she can imagine, and she trades her life to share in his treasures. When Orpheus realizes what has happened, he consults Hermes and sets out on the footpath to Hadestown to bring back his one true love.

The cast is heralded as the ‘hardest working chorus’ but don’t seem to be; they seem to be having a great time. They are as important to the show’s level of energy and celebration as any of the main characters. A major bravo to them! Three women played The Fates (Bex Odorisio, Sydney Parra (on for Belén Moyano), and Lindsey Hailes (on for Shea Renne) – with an understudy filling in beautifully on opening night) who play both advocate and obstruction for each of the characters. These women harmonize and compliment each other extremely well. They are the subtle humor and give their warnings wonderfully through song.

Hades (Kevyn Morrow) and Persephone (Kimberly Marable) are the God of the Dead and the Maid of Springtime. Mr. Morrow’s voice is seductive, his presence is noticeable and his singing, rich. In the song “Hey, Little Songbird” Mr. Morrow’s voice is so provocative that we understand a young girl’s attraction to the Lord of Shadows. His presence is more authoritative than scary, as he shows Hades to be the unforgiving, cold Master of the Underworld. When he is reminded of why he fell in love in the first place, Mr. Marrow brings a sense of compassion for the cold-hearted god. Ms. Marable puts a different spin on ‘the young goddess of spring’. Her embodiment of Persephone is more Blues Singer than neophyte, and the effect is luscious and sultry. When she opens the second act, announcing who she is (“Our Lady of the Underground”) she does so with a seductive talent, a playful nature and a powerful instrument. Her voice rolls with the same gravelly touch that made Billie Holliday a legend.

Eurydice (Morgan Siobhan Green) is the young girl, hungry and cold that falls in love with Orpheus. Ms. Green shows us the girl’s inner struggle between hunger for food and hunger for love. Her voice is sweet and the audience feels her yearning. In “Flowers”, Ms. Green’s voice is heartbreaking and sentimental when she reminisces about her life above ground. Orpheus (Chibueze Ihuoma) is the young musician trying to find the song that will put the world back into seasonal synchronization. He plays the love-struck boy very well, but the talent shines when he sings. His soprano voice is a joy. His notes can be heard easily throughout the theatre, beyond the edges and into the Underworld itself. When he leads the chorus in the song “Wait For Me”, it is pure magic. The audience is swept up in the raging river of his longing for Eurydice, and the determination to bring her back. The song is such a dreamlike seduction for the ears, and a fantastic spectacle for the eyes, that it got a well-deserved, show-stopping applause for almost a full minute!

Hermes (Levi Kreis) is part narrator, part mentor, and the rest pure showman. Tony Award winner Mr. Kreis brings the right amount of energy and playful charm that perfectly suits The Messenger of the Gods. His voice is strong and playful. In the opening number “Road to Hell”; his voice is Southern charm and Gosper fervor envious of any preacher with the strength to lead the cast in a jazz version of a tent revival. It holds warning, sentiment and triumph with equal ease and leads us willingly along on the road despite that we know how it’ll end.

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Hadestown North American Tour (Photo by Kevin Berne)

Aside from a brilliant cast it is the music and lyrics that makes Hadestown such an incredible show. Book and score written by the talented Anais Mitchell, she combines the sounds of blues and jazz along with rockabilly music, to evoke a certain sense of Americana. She does it well! Not only is the music catchy and haunting with an incredibly rich score, but also the lyrics are intelligent and provocative. The score will stay with you long after you leave the show.

Hadestown is a show not to be missed. The cast, the score and the presentation are all excellent. It is difficult to retell a story that has been known for millennia, but this version does it with great ease and enjoyment.

Hadestown opened on Broadway on April 17, 2019 and is currently still running. Nominated for 14 Tony Awards, it won eight including Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (André De Shields). Anais Mitchell (who wrote the book and score for Hadestown) also won a Grammy for the original cast album.

Hadestown, The Musical
Paramount Theatre
July 12-17, 2022 get tickets and info here.

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Eric Andrews-Katz

Eric Andrews-Katz

Eric Andrews-Katz has short stories included in over 10 anthologies. He is the author of the Agent Buck 98 Series (“The Jesus Injection” and “Balls & Chain”), and the author of the Greek myth series beginning with the novel TARTARUS. He has conducted celebrity interviews with some of the biggest and best names on Broadway, Hollywood and in literature. He can be found at: http://www.EricAndrewsKatz.com

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