Hadestown takes the audience on a journey from New Orleans to Hell and back, weaving an entrancing spell all the way. It is almost impossible not to be swept along on the ride with Eurydice and Orpheus as they fall in love with spring, each other and life. Eva Noblezada stars as Eurydice and Reeve Carney as Orpheus, the son of a muse and expert with the lyre and song. They meet as Persephone (Amber Gray, simply killing it) rises from Hell to herald Spring back into the world. The celebratory mood is infectious and joy leaps from the talented cast. When Hades (Patrick Page) summons Persephone back to the underworld, darkness descends. And there, in the cold and dark, Eurydice struggles to survive. Orpheus is too busy writing a song to lure springtime back to notice Eurydice’s plight. And so, she makes a literal deal with the devil giving up freedom for food and warmth.
|Eva Noblezada, André De Shields, Reeve Carney|
Guiding us on this journey is André de Shields as Hermes. He moves smoothly, bringing the narrative a sultry and seductive voice. That Andre De Shields still commands the stage isn’t a surprise, but the ease of his performance and casual elegance is a pleasure to behold. No less entertaining, albeit harder working, are the spectacular Fates, the three women who entice and direct the actions of mere mortals. These singers, Jewelle Blackman, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer and Kay Trinidad move with timing, energy and familiarity of a jazz trio (with an admitted nod to the Pointer Sisters). They are the voice of both doubt and hope.
The early mood of Hadestown is light and breezy, but with the undercurrent of deeper forces. And when those deeper forces rise to the fore, bringing us to Hell, we are confronted with a different reality. Hades rules an underworld that embraces productivity and production, without worrying about an output. It is a terrifying and stark place.
|Amber gray as Persephone|
Hades and Orpheus are both energized by love to create a world to impress and honor their intended partners. But both lose sight of their partners’ desires in their drive to impress them. Both are so infatuated by their creation, Hades in the industrial behemoth and Orpheus in his song, that the original reason for creation is ignored. Recovering the affections of the women then becomes paramount.
The voices and song are excellent. Mr. Carney’s first tentative steps are part of Orpheus finding his voice. Mr. Page’s amazing bass is all about Hades’ knowing his strength. Eurydice and Persephone’s joyful journeys move from revelry to tenderness in the opposite direction.
Even the chorus of five players is exceptional both vocally and visually. Their expressiveness in dance and voice enhanced the show in great ways, and they move as the audience's surrogates.
Rachel Hauck’s scenic design enhances emotions throughout the journey, but Orpheus’ descent into hell is particularly interesting, done with simple lighting effects. Director Rachel Chavkin has brought Anais Mitchell’s songs and book to life magically. Go see it now, while you can still get tickets.
Music, Lyrics & Book: Anaïs Mitchell / Director: Rachel Chavkin | Cast: Reeve Carney, André de Shields, Amber Gray, Eva Noblezada, Patrick Page / website