“Hadestown” is a musical written by Anais Mitchell and directed by Rachel Chavkin. The story follows Orpheus, a musician and poet, who has dedicated his life to his own belief that men and women should trade music and love in place of money. In his songs, he openly speaks against Hades, the god of the underworld and the controller of Hadestown. Hadestown is an industrial town designed to give jobs in exchange for souls. Persephone, Hades’ wife and the goddess of spring, hears Orpheus’ music during her visit to the surface world, and becomes a fan of the way he protests the views of her husband. On her next visit to the surface world, Persephone finds that Orpheus has met a girl named Eurydice, a homeless traveler. The two fall madly in love, and in exchange for her faithfulness, Orpheus offers to provide his music and love.
Persephone blesses the marriage before returning home to Hades, but things sour quickly for both couples when winter arrives. Orpheus has yet to provide anything for Eurydice, leaving her to scavenge for food and a place to rest their heads. Persephone has had it with Hades’ constant destruction of souls and nature, claiming his work to be unnatural. Hades vows to leave her, and as he searches for a new wife, he comes across a starving Eurydice. He offers her everything he can provide in exchange for her company. Eurydice tries to call out for her husband, but when he does not arrive, she agrees to go with Hades. Orpheus arrives shortly after and sneaks into Hadestown with the help of Hermes, the god of travel, to find Eurydice and return her home.
“Hadestown,” is a must watch musical for anyone who is a fan of myths and tragic romance. The actors are fun and fit into their roles easily. The set and costumes are wonderful and changes a small inn to a mining town with a quick change of clothes and lights. The music is catchy and combines many elements of folk and jazz.
Amber Gray, the actress who portrays Persephone, is a beautiful woman who puts more into her role than just her voice. She moves with her whole body as she acts and has dances with passion during her musical numbers. She fully embodies her character with as much fury and heart as Persephone is supposed to have. Reeve Carney is a passionate singer and plays the role of the loving Orpheus well. Much like Amber Gray, he acts with a passion as he chases after Eurydice, played by Eva Noblezada. He puts his full emotion into his voice as he tells the tale of Hades and Persephone's love in the song, “Chant.” Orpheus is an emotional character and Carney convinces the audience that Orpheus’ grief is real.
The music makes it worth viewing. It consists of bass, violins, trumpet, drums and the piano, that all come together to craft beautiful songs that are a compilation of different genres. The music is a combination of jazz, blues, and folk music. The songs all have catchy choruses, especially the song, “Why we Build the Wall,” which is all about the workers in Hadestown. A great example of the jazz music are the song, “Road to Hell,” and “Way down to Hadestown.” This gives the whole play a 1920’s era setting, and matches well with the costume and set that the play has. The hints of the blues come in during songs like, “Hey little Songbird,” and “When the Chips are Down.” It is all played live on the stage with the band circling around the set.
The set, along with the costumes, are another reason why this musical is so outstanding. The set is designed to look like a small tavern where Orpheus plays his songs for the people. They use warm lights to emphasize the homey feeling the surface world is supposed to have. The costumes reflect the 1920’s and the background actors wear light colored clothes to represent the spring time Persephone brings every time she visits. In act two, the furniture is removed and the stage is left with nothing on it except for a tall, black building where Hades resides. The lights are switched to blues and reds to show the depressing aesthetic that Hadestown has. The background actors and Orpheus trade in their spring clothes for dirtied and torn miners clothes. The set and the costumes together create an unforgettable atmosphere the movie holds.
This musical is completely worth watching. The actors are gorgeous and perform passionately. The music is catchy and mixes a variation of genres that will fit anyone's musical taste. The set and costumes enhance the feeling the musical gives by using creative designs. This would be a great musical to watch for those who enjoy greek myths and tragic romances. The musical is currently showing in New York, but the music can be enjoyed through various streaming services. The soundtrack is currently available on Spotify and iTunes.