Text by Fiona Clarke
Welcome to Hadestown, as this eight-time Tony Award-winning musical
invites the audience on a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back.
Above: The Tony Award-winning Hadestown reimagines ancient Greek myths to a top-tapping, blues-infused score.
Based on singer/songwriter Anais Mitchell’s music, book, and lyrics and developed with director Rachel Chavki, Hadestown pits doubt against faith, despair against joy, and fear against love. With a mesmerizing, blues-infused score and masterful storytelling, the musical intertwines two ancient Greek myths— that of ill-fated young lovers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of the underworld King Hades and his wife Persephone.
Opening on Tuesday, April 19 at ASU Gammage, the North American touring production of Hadestown stars Drama Desk Award® nominee Nicholas Barasch as Orpheus, Morgan Siobhan Green as Eurydice, Tony Award winner Levi Kreis as Hermes, Kimberly Marable as Persephone, and Olivier Award® nominee Kevyn Morrow as Hades.
Above, left to right: Kevyn Morrow as Hades and Morgan Siobhan Green as Eurydice in the national touring production of Hadestown.
Eurydice is perpetually hungry and struggling as she roams the world, struggling to simply hold her own. Lured by the promise of Hadestown, where jobs in the foundries and furnaces are always available and food is abundant, she reluctantly takes her place in the underworld.
As Orpheus, Eurydice’s lover, embarks on a hero’s quest to save her, he’s forced to examine his belief that people and gods are fundamentally good. He watches in anguish as the underworld king transforms a world of light, warmth and plenty to one of bleak, lifeless winter.
Hades’ Queen Persephone, meanwhile, revels in rebirth, springtime and colorful greenery — except for the six months of winter when she’s trapped underground. Appropriately garbed, she blooms with vibrant greens and oranges above Hadestown, and is wrapped in funereal black below.
Above: Kimberly Marable portrays Queen Persephone in the national touring production of Hadestown.
The narrator for this imaginative, reconstituted tale of scarcity and abundance is Hermes, the fleet-footed messenger god. Resplendent in glimmering silver brocade, he’s flanked by an onstage band that spin the story with vivid images and spectacular vocals.
A chorus of “workers” surrounds and propels the action in the lower depths of Hades’ vast underworld, while choreography and chorus create searing images of endless, repetitive, grueling manual labor, the work of people shoveling coal into the mouth of a furnace or hacking away in a sunless mine.
Yet for all its intense themes, Hadestown is a joyful, impactful, gorgeously sung and beautifully told pair of love stories. As hailed by the Chicago Sun-Times earlier this month, “Hadestown is positively heavenly — from its brilliant score to its haunting tale and powerhouse cast.”