Top 10 reasons to see 'Hadestown' on Broadway
Discover why this musical update of Greek mythology is still one of the hottest tickets in New York.
Hell, yes! Ever since it began its award-winning run on Broadway in March 2019, the musical Hadestown has brought the ancient Greek myth about ill-fated young lovers to life and made it sing in exhilarating ways.
Not versed in the stories of characters like Orpheus, Eurydice, Hades, and Persephone? No worries. Hermes, a mythic messenger, guides audiences every step of the way during this folk opera streaked with beauty and darkness, earning acclaim in New York Theatre Guide’s four-star review.
Thank the musical’s creator Anaïs Mitchell for the effective theatrical device that pulls you into the production. She wrote the songs and the story, and the resulting musical went on to win eight Tony Awards. Her work is among the reasons to see Hadestown now — find more below.
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Hadestown is a Best Musical Tony winner.
Tony Awards are one measure of a show’s success, and Hadestown shines bright. At the 2019 Tonys, Hadestown won eight awards, including the coveted Best Musical, out of 14 nominations. The show also collected trophies for Mitchell's score, Rachel Chavkin's direction, André De Shields's featured performance, scenic design, sound design, lighting design, and orchestrations.
The show makes an old story new.
In Anais Mitchell’s take on ancient mythology, Orpheus is a soulful singer-songwriter, and Eurydice is a young woman who’s used to surviving on her own in a world where everything is out of control – even the weather. Shortly after they meet, she’s drawn into an underworld factory, where Hades wears his workers into mindless drones.
Orpheus goes there to retrieve her and, thanks to his music and an assist from Hades’s wife, Persephone, he gets a chance to bring her home. What comes next? A line from Eurydice's first song – “people turn on you” – provides a sly bit of foreshadowing to their inevitable fate.
Hadestown earned glowing reviews.
A review for New York Theatre Guide reads, ”Going to hell has never been as much fun as seeing a performance of Anaïs Mitchell's musical Hadestown.” The Hollywood Reporter called Hadestown “a bewitching journey that pays off at every turn,” while The New York Times deemed the musical “sumptuous.”
Hadestown burns with romance and drama.
Hadestown offers proof that love can grow anywhere, even in a grim and blighted landscape alternating between blazing heat and bitter cold. That’s where the seeds of Orpheus and Eurydice's romance take root. But read between the romantic lines, and the story offers food for thought about the misuse of power, the precariousness of trust, and how poisonous thoughts “between your ears, behind your eyes” can be your undoing.
The musical has soulful, jazzy songs.
Infused with folk, pop, blues, and Dixieland, the Hadestown score is wall-to-wall with songs you’ll want to savor again – and again. The moody and melodic numbers stick insistently in your head for days (hello, “Wait for Me”). “Why We Build The Wall,” which Mitchell wrote for Hadestown's earliest draft in 2006, carries its own resonant topicality.
Hadestown's company shines bright.
Nearly four years into its Broadway run, Reeve Carney and Eva Noblezada, a real-life couple who originated the roles of Orpheus and Eurydice on Broadway, are still playing their parts. Lillias White, a Tony winner for The Life, brings her own brand of seductive sass and sparkle as Hermes, a role that first earned De Shields the Tony.
All the characters have standout moments – including Hades, Persephone, The Fates, and the ensemble of laborers. Seven musicians on stage even get name-checked during the show. The show spreads the wealth.
The show has high-stakes conflicts.
Hadestown is a story about gods and mortals, so the stage is immediately set for rousing rifts and conflicts. The musical has that going for it before a single word is sung or spoken.
The musical's staging is heavenly.
A hallmark of a winning show is its ability to transport you to another place and time. Chavkin and the design team of Hadestown imagine a forbidding world — if not two of them. Scenes alternately play out in a ratty jazz club and the dark depths of hell, where laborers go in circles, toiling ceaselessly at the same robotic, soul-crushing task. Set pieces and lighting are key to creating impact, and choreographer David Neumann sets it all in stylish motion.
"Wait For Me" is a standout song.
Another hallmark of a winning show is a moment you wish you could replay again and again. Hadestown has “Wait for Me,” an emotionally arresting number in which Orpheus vows to rescue Eurydice. Headlamps and overhead swinging lights are used to mesmerizing effect. One must experience Hadestown live to fully understand the scene's impact and magic within the context of the show, but the 2019 Tony Awards telecast came close.
Hadestown’s journey is as rich as the one on stage.
Like the young lovers on a dangerous trek in the musical, Hadestown had a circuitous 13-year road to Broadway. Mitchell began creating the show in 2006, and Hadestown went from concept album to full-fledged musical, staged off Broadway and in London before landing at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Seize the moment and take your own journey to Hadestown now.
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