Hadestown

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Hadestown
Hadestown musical poster.png
Broadway promotional poster
MusicAnaïs Mitchell
LyricsAnaïs Mitchell
BookAnaïs Mitchell
BasisOrpheus and Eurydice
Productions2006 Barre
2006 Vergennes
2007 Vermont/Massachusetts tour
2016 Off-Broadway
2018 London
2019 Broadway
2021 United States Tour
AwardsTony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Original Score
Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album

Hadestown is a musical with music, lyrics and book by Anaïs Mitchell. It tells a version of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, where Orpheus goes to the underworld to rescue his lover, Eurydice.

The original version of the musical premiered in the town of Barre, Vermont in 2006. There was also a production in Vergennes in the same year and a tour between Vermont and Massachusetts in 2007. Then Mitchell, unsure about the future of the musical, turned it into a concept album, released in 2010.[1]

In 2012, Mitchell met director Rachel Chavkin, and the two started to rework the stage production, with additional songs and dialogue. The new version of the musical, developed for the stage and directed by Chavkin, premiered Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop on May 6, 2016 and ran through July 31. Following productions in Edmonton and London, the show premiered in previews on Broadway in March 2019.

The Broadway production opened to critical acclaim and received numerous awards and nominations. At the 73rd Tony Awards, Hadestown received a total of 14 nominations (the most for the evening) and won eight of them, including Best Musical and Best Original Score.

Characters[edit]

Hermes, Greek god of boundaries, roads, travelers, commerce, thieves, athletes, shepherds, and Psychopomps, is the divine messenger. Throughout the musical, he plays the role of narrator. He is completely honest and smooth-spoken. Though he claims not to do things "because he is kind", he is shown to care for Orpheus by taking him in as his aide and shows kindness to Eurydice.

Orpheus is a legendary musician, poet, lover of Eurydice, and prophet in ancient Greek religion. The main protagonist, he is a dreamer and always sees how things could be. He sees the best in people. He is awkward and clumsy but ultimately determined.

Eurydice is the lover of Orpheus. She is more experienced in life than Orpheus. She has been alone her whole life and has learned to fight for herself, which has made her reluctant to trust people. The Fates follow her through most of the musical, planting seeds of doubt and encouraging her to leave and go to Hadestown.

Persephone is goddess of Spring and wife of Hades. She is free spirited and fun loving. She is an alcoholic and is frequently shown to be drunk at many points of the musical. Though she still loves him, her relationship with Hades has broken down over the years and the pair constantly bicker. With her arrival to our world she brings spring, summer, and good times.

Hades is god of the underworld and husband of Persephone. He is the primary antagonist. He is the ruler of Hadestown. He is cold and uncaring. However, he has become even more cold and hardened ever since his relationship with Persephone has become distant. He sees the workers of Hadestown as "his children", and believes that through totalitarian control of their lives he has set them free.

The Fates are three spirits that act as the driving force of many key decisions other characters make in the show by influencing and manipulating their thoughts. Hermes, in the opening number, describes them as "three old women who dressed the same" and says that "they was always singin' in the back of your mind".

Synopsis[edit]

Act I[edit]

The story begins with the Greek God, Hermes, introducing the characters (“Road to Hell”). This is followed by the Fates and Eurydice describing the harsh weather and famine of the setting (“Any Way the Wind Blows”). Orpheus, Hermes’s ward, introduces himself to Eurydice and asks her to marry him (“Come Home With Me”). Eurydice, however, is doubtful, since they both live in poverty. Orpheus tells her that he is writing a song to make spring come again, and they will no longer have to struggle (“Wedding Song”)

Orpheus sings the story of Hades and Persephone (“Epic I”). Persephone arrives in the world above and celebrates summertime (“Livin’ it up on Top”), while Eurydice truly begins to fall in love with Orpheus (“All I’ve Ever Known.”). Hades comes to collect Persephone, and she voices her misery of having to return to Hadestown, Hades’ underground factory. The Fates appear to praise the riches of Hadestown. Despite hearing about the never-ending labor the workers of Hadestown endure, Eurydice is intrigued at the promise of protection that Hadestown offers (“Way Down Hadestown”). Without Persephone, the long winter returns and Eurydice urges Orpheus to finish his song (“A Gathering Storm”). Orpheus continues working on his song (“Epic II”), while Persephone and Hades argue (“Chant”).

Hades leaves his factory to find someone who will appreciate the safety and security of his factory. He comes across a desperate Eurydice, and invites her to come to Hadestown. (“Hey, Little Songbird”). The Fates appear and urge Eurydice to join him (“When the Chips are Down”). With the cold surging on, and Orpheus’s song remaining uncompleted, Eurydice sees no other option except to follow Hades. She sings her goodbyes to Orpheus before disappearing. (“Gone, I’m Gone”). Orpheus discovers Eurydice’s disappearance, and becomes determined to rescue her from Hadestown. He sets off on his journey using Hermes’ instructions on how to get there without the use of Hades’ train (“Wait for Me”). Eurydice arrives in Hadestown and signs the contract, officially becoming a worker. (“Why We Build the Wall”).

Act II[edit]

An entr'acte reveals that Persephone is bypassing the laws of Hadestown by selling wind, rain, and sunshine to the workers. (“Our Lady of the Underground"). Eurydice begins to realize the consequences of her choice to go to Hadestown, as she must endure the labor and can never leave unless Hades consents to let her go. (“Way Down Hadestown" (reprise)). She sings of her regrets as her memories of the world above slowly begin to fade (“Flowers”).

Orpheus arrives in Hadestown, and promises Eurydice that he will take her home with him. While Eurydice is relieved, she explains to Orpheus that she is not able to leave. (“Come Home with Me" (reprise)). Orpheus does not understand, until Hades appears and reveals to him that Eurydice willingly came to Hadestown. (“Papers”). The Fates arrive, and tell a despondent Orpheus to give up hope on saving Eurydice (“Nothing Changes”). Despite almost giving up, Orpheus vows to find a way to free Eurydice. Persephone and the workers overhear, and their eyes are opened to the true horrors of Hadestown (“If It’s True”).

Persephone urges Hades to let Eurydice go. (“How Long”). While the workers begin to truly question the amount of freedom in Hadestown, Hades bitterly offers Orpheus a chance to sing his completed song (“Chant" (reprise)). Orpheus sings his song, telling of his love for Persephone. (“Epic III”). Hades is reminded of how much he loves Persephone, and the two take the other's hand and dance, during which Orpheus and Eurydice promise to stay together no matter how hard (“Promises”). Orpheus asks Hades if they may leave, and Hades tells him that he has not reached a decision. The Fates explain his situation: If he tells Orpheus no, Eurydice becomes a martyr. If he lets her go, he loses control over his workers as they have begun to agitate for their freedom (“Word to the Wise”). Hades decides to let them go on one condition; Orpheus must lead them out. If he turns to confirm that Eurydice is following him, she will be condemned to stay in his factory forever. (“His Kiss, the Riot”).

Hermes explains the condition of Orpheus and Eurydice, and they begin heading out, with the workers following behind them, while Persephone and Hades decide to give their relationship another chance.. (“Wait for Me" (reprise)). Orpheus makes it up to the end, where he is overcome by doubt and turns around, sending Eurydice back to Hadestown (“Doubt Comes In”). Hermes reflects on the somber tale and why it must be told. (“Road to Hell" (reprise)). Back in Hadestown, Eurydice, Persephone, and the workers raise a cup to Orpheus (“We Raise Our Cups”).

Musical numbers[edit]

New York Theatre Workshop, New York[edit]

All songs are adapted from Mitchell's album, aside from "Any Way the Wind Blows" from her album Xoa, except where noted.

† Not included on Original Cast Recording ‡ Original material

Citadel Theatre - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada[edit]

Royal National Theatre - London, England / Walter Kerr Theatre - Broadway[edit]

Productions[edit]

Hadestown was performed as a stage production in the cities of Barre and Vergennes in 2006, before going into a seven-day, ten-city tour between Mitchell's home state of Vermont and Massachusetts in 2007.[1][2] Mitchell described the first incarnation of the show as "a D.I.Y. theatre project." The creative team included primary orchestrator/arranger Michael Chorney and original director/designer Ben T. Matchstick, as well as a cast drawn from local artists in Vermont.[3][4] In 2010, a concept album was released.

In her search for a director, Mitchell sought out Rachel Chavkin in 2012 after watching a production of Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 directed by Chavkin. In the transition from concept album to stage musical, Mitchell wrote an additional 15 songs and added dialogue to clarify the story line and deepen characterization. The 15 new songs were developed after Mitchell and Chavkin discussed gaps in the album's story line. Michael Chorney created the primary orchestrations and arrangements, with Todd Sickafoose contributing additional/co-arrangements and orchestrations.[3] Hadestown premiered at New York Theatre Workshop for an initial run from May 3 through July 3, 2016, but was later extended due to popular demand through July 31. The production starred Damon Daunno as Orpheus, Nabiyah Be as Eurydice, Amber Gray as Persephone, Patrick Page as Hades, Chris Sullivan as Hermes, and Lulu Fall, Jessie Shelton, and Shaina Taub as the Fates.[2][5]

On October 14, 2016, an EP was released featuring four songs from the musical, recorded live on June 28 and 29, 2016.[6] A full live album was released on October 6, 2017.[7]

Hadestown was presented in an intended pre-Broadway run as part of the 2017–18 season at Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Rachel Chavkin once again served as director, with performances scheduled for November 11 - December 3, 2017, with Amber Gray and Patrick Page reprising their roles from NYTW. The production was presented in collaboration with Mara Isaacs and Dale Franzen, who produced the Off-Broadway run.[8] The NYTW production was also featured in the award-winning documentary series Working in the Theatre produced by the American Theatre Wing.[9]

Ahead of a 2019 Broadway transfer, Hadestown was performed in the Olivier Theatre of the National Theatre in London. Making its UK debut, it ran from November 2, 2018 to January 26, 2019.[10] The production team included Rachel Hauck for scenic design, Michael Krass for costume design, Bradley King for lighting design, Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz for sound design, David Neumann for choreography, and Liam Robinson for musical direction.[11] Page, Gray, and Reeve Carney reprised their performances in the National Theatre production, joined by Eva Noblezada, André De Shields (who had participated in some early workshops of the production),[12] Carly Mercedes Dyer, Rosie Fletcher, and Gloria Onitiri.[13]

Hadestown opened on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre, with previews beginning on March 22, 2019 and opening night set for April 17, 2019.[14] Page, Gray, De Shields, Carney, and Noblezada reprise their performances for the Broadway production, and are joined by Jewelle Blackman, Yvette Gonzales-Nacer, and Kay Trinidad.[15] The Broadway production was produced by Mara Isaacs, Dale Franzen, Hunter Arnold and Tom Kirdahy.[16] The production team also reunites Hauck for scenic design, Krass for costume design, King for lighting design, Steinberg and Jessica Paz for sound design, Neumann for choreography, and Robinson for musical direction. As of March 12, 2020, the show suspended production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The show's production will be suspended until May 31, 2021 at the earliest.[17]

In August 2019, it was announced during an episode of Good Morning America that Hadestown would begin a national tour in 2020.[18] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tour has been postponed.

Cast[edit]

Character Vermont/Massachusetts tour
2007[19]
Concept album
2010
Off-Broadway cast
2016
Edmonton cast
2017[20][21][22]
London cast
2018
Original Broadway cast
2019
Orpheus Ben Campbell Justin Vernon Damon Daunno Reeve Carney
Eurydice Anaïs Mitchell Nabiyah Be T.V. Carpio Eva Noblezada
Hades David Symons Greg Brown Patrick Page
Persephone Miriam Bernardo Ani DiFranco Amber Gray
Hermes Ben T. Matchstick Ben Knox Miller Chris Sullivan Kingsley Leggs André De Shields
The Fates Sarah-Dawn Albani
Lisa Raatikainen
Nessa Rabin
The Haden Triplets Lulu Fall
Jessie Shelton
Shaina Taub
Jewelle Blackman
Kira Guloien
Evangelia Kambites
Carly Mercedes Dyer
Rosie Fletcher
Gloria Onitiri
Jewelle Blackman
Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer
Kay Trinidad

Recordings[edit]

Mitchell released a concept album based on the musical, working on it for over a year. It was released on March 9, 2010 through Righteous Babe Records.[1]

A live cast recording of the Off-Broadway production was released digitally and on CD on October 6, 2017 through Parlophone Records. A four-track EP entitled Why We Build The Wall (Selections from Hadestown. The Myth. The Musical. Live Original Cast Recording) was released for digital retailers on October 13, 2016 in promotion of the album.

A Broadway cast recording was released in full on July 26, 2019 through Sing It Again Records.[23][24] A physical two-CD recording will be available at a later date.[25]

Reception[edit]

Hadestown received generally positive critical reviews. The New York Times described the Off-Broadway production as "inventive" and "gorgeously sung," praising its simplicity and intimacy.[26] The Hollywood Reporter described the added dialogue as "wince-inducing" but favored its high energy and immersive staging.[27] Several reviews drew parallels between the song "Why We Build the Wall" and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, though the song predates the campaign by about a decade.[26][27]

The production opened on Broadway on April 17, 2019 to largely positive critical reception, with praise especially directed at its direction and performances, particularly those of Amber Gray, André De Shields, and Patrick Page.[28] The New York Times called it "gorgeous" and "hypnotic", especially noting its improvement from the New York Theater Workshop version.[29] David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter calls it "utterly fabulous", in particular praising the performances of Gray and Page.[30]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Off-Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2016
American Academy of Arts and Letters Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater[31] Won
2017
Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical Bradley King Nominated
Drama League Awards Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Nominated
Lucille Lortel Awards Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Choreographer David Neumann Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical Patrick Page Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical Amber Gray Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Chris Sullivan Nominated
Outstanding Scenic Design Rachel Hauck Nominated
Outstanding Sound Design Robert Kaplowitz Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical Nominated
Off-Broadway Alliance Awards Best New Musical Nominated

Edmonton production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2018
Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award[32] Timothy Ryan Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical Nominated
Outstanding Director Rachel Chavkin Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Amber Gray Won
Outstanding Set Design Rachel Hauck Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design Michael Krass Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design Bradley King Won
Outstanding Musical Director Liam Robinson Nominated
Outstanding Choreography or Fight Direction David Neumann Nominated

Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2019
Tony Awards[33][34] Best Musical Won
Best Book of a Musical Anaïs Mitchell Nominated
Best Original Score Won
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical Eva Noblezada Nominated
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical André De Shields Won
Patrick Page Nominated
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical Amber Gray Nominated
Best Scenic Design in a Musical Rachel Hauck Won
Best Costume Design in a Musical Michael Krass Nominated
Best Lighting Design in a Musical Bradley King Won
Best Sound Design of a Musical Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz Won
Best Direction of a Musical Rachel Chavkin Won
Best Choreography David Neumann Nominated
Best Orchestrations Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose Won
Drama Desk Awards[35] Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical André De Shields Won
Outstanding Director of a Musical Rachel Chavkin Won
Outstanding Choreography David Neumann Nominated
Outstanding Scenic Design for a Musical Rachel Hauck Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical Michael Krass Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical Bradley King Won
Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz Won
Drama League Awards[36] Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Won
Distinguished Performance Award Amber Gray Nominated
André De Shields Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards[37] Outstanding New Broadway Musical Won
Outstanding Book of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Anaïs Mitchell Nominated
Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Won
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Reeve Carney Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical André De Shields Won
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Amber Gray Won
Outstanding Director of a Musical Rachel Chavkin Won
Outstanding Choreographer David Neumann Nominated
Outstanding Scenic Design (Play or Musical) Rachel Hauck Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design (Play or Musical) Bradley King Won
Outstanding Sound Design (Play or Musical) Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz Nominated
Outstanding Orchestrations Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose Nominated
Broadway.com Audience Awards[38] Favorite New Musical Nominated
Favorite Leading Actor in a Musical Reeve Carney Nominated
Favorite Leading Actress in a Musical Eva Noblezada Won
Favorite Featured Actor in a Musical Andre de Shields Nominated
Favorite Featured Actress in a Musical Amber Gray Nominated
Favorite Diva Performance Amber Gray Nominated
Favorite Onstage Pair Reeve Carney and Eva Noblezada Nominated
Favorite New Song "Wait for Me" Won
Chita Rivera Awards[39]
Outstanding Choreography in a Broadway Show David Neumann Won
Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show Amber Gray Nominated
Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show Nominated
ACCA Award[40] Outstanding Broadway Chorus Won
2020
Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Reeve Carney, André De Shields, Amber Gray, Eva Noblezada & Patrick Page (principal soloists); Mara Isaacs, David Lai, Anaïs Mitchell & Todd Sickafoose (producers); Anaïs Mitchell (composer & lyricist) Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Browne, David (June 1, 2019). "The Hell With Broadway: The Story of Anais Mitchell's 'Hadestown'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 10, 2019. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Anais Mitchell's 'Hadestown' reborn off-Broadway". Burlington Free Press. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  3. ^ a b "A Live Cast Album for "Hadestown"". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 2016-12-01. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  4. ^ "amitchell". amitchell. Archived from the original on 2018-04-25. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  5. ^ "NYTW / Hadestown Official Site". New York Theatre Workshop. Archived from the original on 21 April 2018. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  6. ^ Clement, Olivia (2017-10-13). "Hadestown EP, With Four Live Tracks, Released Today". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2016-12-01. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  7. ^ Vine, Hannah (2017-10-10). "Inside the Listening Party For the Hadestown Live Cast Recording". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2017-10-24. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
  8. ^ Gans, Andrew (2017-02-07). "Edmonton's Citadel Theatre Will Stage Broadway-Aimed Hadestown Musical". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2017-02-13. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  9. ^ "Working in the Theatre: Casebook". americantheatrewing.org. Archived from the original on 2017-06-05. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  10. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (2018-04-19). "Acclaimed Musical Hadestown to Play Broadway in 2019; London Run Announced". Broadway.com. Archived from the original on 2018-04-19. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  11. ^ Olivia Clement, "Hadestown to Play London's National Prior to Broadway" Archived 2018-04-21 at the Wayback Machine, Playbill, April 19, 2018.
  12. ^ Avella, Frank J. "'Hadestown's' André De Shields: That Mature, Sexy Black Man in a Silver Suit". EDGE Media Network. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
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  18. ^ @GMA (12 August 2019). "JUST ANNOUNCED: @hadestown will launch a national tour in Fall 2020!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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  24. ^ @anaismitchell (1 June 2019). "David! We got deep into editing & mixing these (beautiful! epic!) performances and realized we just need more time! We care sooooo much about this music and we know you do too— thank you for your patience from the bottom of our hearts! It will be worth the wait! 🦄🦄🦄" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  25. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Hadestown Will Release Original Broadway Cast Album With Eva Noblezada and Reeve Carney". Playbill. Archived from the original on 24 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
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External links[edit]