Hadestown (musical)

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Hadestown NYTW Program.jpg
Program cover from the 2016 New York Theatre Workshop production.
MusicAnaïs Mitchell
LyricsAnaïs Mitchell
BookAnaïs Mitchell
by Anaïs Mitchell
Productions2016 Off-Broadway
2017 Edmonton
2018 London
2019 Broadway

Hadestown: The Myth. The Musical is a 2016 stage musical adaptation of the 2010 folk opera concept album by the same name by Anaïs Mitchell. It premiered off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop on May 6, 2016 and ran through July 31. The show was developed for the stage and directed by Rachel Chavkin.

Like the original concept album, Hadestown tells a version of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, where Orpheus journeys to the underworld to rescue his fiancée Eurydice.


Act I[edit]

As in the 2010 album, Hadestown adapts the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to a Great Depression-era inspired post-apocalyptic setting. The musical opens with the three Fates describing the setting ("Any Way the Wind Blows"), after which Hermes, the narrator, enters to introduce each of the characters ("Road to Hell"). The stage empties, leaving only Orpheus and Eurydice. The two introduce themselves to each other, and Orpheus asks Eurydice to marry him ("Come Home With Me"). Eurydice is doubtful, since they both live in poverty and she wants a life of stability. Orpheus persuades her by telling her that his music will provide for them ("Wedding Song").

After an interlude in which Orpheus tells the story of Hades and Persephone ("Epic (Part I)"), Persephone enters to celebrate the summertime with Orpheus and Eurydice ("Living It Up On Top"). Orpheus makes a toast to Persephone and expresses hope for his future with Eurydice, who reflects on her growing love for Orpheus despite her independence ("All I've Ever Known"). The two promise to stay with each other no matter what hardships they face.

Winter comes, and along with it a train to bring Persephone back to Hadestown – Hades' underground factory. Orpheus and Eurydice watch as Persephone voices her misery at having to return to the factory, while the Fates appear to praise Hadestown's riches. Orpheus condemns Hades' treatment of his workers, but Eurydice is intrigued ("Way Down Hadestown"). As winter progresses, Orpheus continues to write music while Eurydice urges him to work so they can have food and shelter. At the same time, Hades and Persephone fight about the decline of their own relationship ("Epic (Part II)/Chant").

Hades leaves the factory to find someone who will appreciate the safety and comfort of Hadestown. He comes across Eurydice and asks her to join him in Hadestown ("Hey Little Songbird"). The Fates arrive, and urge Eurydice to put her survival first ("When the Chips are Down"). With Orpheus away working on his music, Eurydice decides to follow Hades to the factory ("Gone, I'm Gone"). When Orpheus returns to look for Eurydice, Hermes tells him that she's gone to Hadestown and tells Orpheus how to get there without using Hades' train ("Wait For Me"). Eurydice arrives at Hadestown, and begins her work on the wall surrounding it ("Why We Build the Wall").

Act II[edit]

Following an entr'acte where Persephone introduces herself and the band, and serves drinks to the audience ("Our Lady Of The Underground"), we see Eurydice realizing the true consequences of her choice to come to Hadestown: she can never leave unless Hades chooses to let her go ("Way Down Hadestown II"). After signing her contract with Hades, she sings of her regrets ("Flowers").

Orpheus, having made his way to Hadestown following Hermes' directions, finds Eurydice and begs her to come home and marry him. Eurydice and the Fates tell Orpheus that she legally belongs to Hades and can't return without his permission ("Come Home With Me II"). Hades arrives, and Orpheus confronts him. Hades asserts that he does own Eurydice, and attempts to chase Orpheus off his property ("Papers"). The Fates surround an exhausted Orpheus and tell him to give up on saving Eurydice ("Nothing Changes"). Orpheus sings of his despair at losing Eurydice, which Persephone overhears ("If It's True"). Touched by Orpheus' music, Persephone tells Hades to let Eurydice go ("How Long"). Hades offers to give Orpheus a chance to sing for him ("Chant II"). Orpheus sings a version of the song he'd been writing when Eurydice left, reminding Hades of his love for Persephone ("Epic (Part III)"). Hades is affected more than he had expected, and the Fates explain his dilemma: if he keeps Eurydice captive, she becomes a martyr, but if he lets her go, then he loses his authoritarian control over the factory ("Word to the Wise"). He decides to leave their fate in Orpheus' hands: the couple can leave together, but Orpheus has to lead them out. If he turns to see if Eurydice is following him, she will belong to Hades forever ("His Kiss, The Riot").

Hermes explains Hades' decision to Orpheus and Eurydice, who discuss all of their doubts with the hope of being able to trust one another on their way out ("Promises"). Orpheus begins the walk out of Hadestown with Eurydice following him, guided in part by the Fates ("Wait for Me II"). Orpheus makes it right up until the very end of the journey, when he is overcome with doubt and turns to look for Eurydice – only to see that she's been right behind him all along, thus condemning her to stay in Hadestown forever ("Doubt Comes In"). Hermes leads Eurydice back to Hadestown ("Road to Hell II"), and the show closes with Persephone raising a toast to Orpheus ("I Raise My Cup").

Musical numbers[edit]

New York Theatre Workshop, New York, USA - Summer 2016[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 - Fall/Winter 2017[edit]

Royal National Theatre - London, England[edit]

Production history[edit]

Hadestown was performed as a stage production in Anaïs Mitchell's home state of Vermont several times in 2006 and 2007 prior to the 2010 album release.[1] 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.[2][3]

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. The 15 new songs were developed after Mitchell and Chavkin discussed gaps in the album's story line. 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. Michael Chorney created the primary orchestrations and arrangements, with Todd Sickafoose contributing additional/co-arrangements and orchestrations.[2] 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, Jesse Shelton, and Shaina Taub as the Fates.[1][4]

On October 14, 2016, an EP was released featuring four songs from the musical, recorded live on June 28 and 29, 2016.[5] A full live album was released on October 6, 2017.[6]

Hadestown was presented in an intended pre-Broadway run as part of the 2017-18 season at Edmonton's 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.[7] The NYTW production was also featured in the award-winning documentary series Working in the Theatre produced by the American Theatre Wing.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10] Patrick Page, Amber Gray and Reeve Carney reprised their performances in the National Theatre production, joined by Eva Noblezada, André De Shields, Carly Mercedes Dyer, Rosie Fletcher, and Gloria Onitiri.[11]

Hadestown will open on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre, with previews beginning on March 22, 2019 and opening night set on April 17, 2019.[12] Page, Gray, De Shields, Carney, and Noblezada will reprise their performances for the Broadway production, and will be joined by Jewelle Blackman, Yvette Gonzales-Nacer, and Kay Trinidad.[13] The production team will also reunite 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.


Character Concept Album
Off-Broadway (World Premiere)
New York Theatre Workshop, 2016
New 42nd Street Studios, 2017
Canadian Premiere
Citadel Theatre, 2017[14][15][16]
London Premiere
Royal National Theatre, 2018
Walter Kerr Theatre, 2019
Hermes Ben Knox Miller Chris Sullivan André De Shields Kingsley Leggs André De Shields
Orpheus Justin Vernon Damon Daunno Reeve Carney
Eurydice Anaïs Mitchell Nabiyah Be Gizel Jiménez T.V. Carpio Eva Noblezada
Hades Greg Brown Patrick Page
Persephone Ani DiFranco Amber Gray
The Fates The Haden Triplets Lulu Fall
Jessie Shelton
Shaina Taub
Yvette Gonzales-Nacer
Crystal Lucas-Perry
Rocky Vega
Jewelle Blackman
Kira Guloien
Evangelia Kambites
Carly Mercedes Dyer
Rosie Fletcher
Gloria Onitiri
Jewelle Blackman
Yvette Gonzales-Nacer
Kay Trinidad


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.[17] The Hollywood Reporter described the added dialogue as "wince-inducing" but favored its high energy and immersive staging.[18] Several reviews drew parallels linking the song "Why We Build the Wall" with Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, though the song predates the campaign.[17][18]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2016 American Academy of Arts and Letters Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater[19] 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
2018 Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award[20] 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


  1. ^ a b "Anais Mitchell's 'Hadestown' reborn off-Broadway". Burlington Free Press. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  2. ^ a b "A Live Cast Album for "Hadestown"". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  3. ^ "amitchell". amitchell. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  4. ^ "NYTW / Hadestown Official Site". New York Theatre Workshop. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  5. ^ Clement, Olivia (2017-10-13). "Hadestown EP, With Four Live Tracks, Released Today". Playbill. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  6. ^ Vine, Hannah (2017-10-10). "Inside the Listening Party For the Hadestown Live Cast Recording". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "Working in the Theatre: Casebook". americantheatrewing.org.
  9. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (2018-04-19). "Acclaimed Musical Hadestown to Play Broadway in 2019; London Run Announced". Broadway.com. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  10. ^ Olivia Clement, "Hadestown to Play London's National Prior to Broadway", Playbill, April 19, 2018.
  11. ^ "Hadestown | National Theatre". www.nationaltheatre.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  12. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (2018-11-27). "Hadestown, from The Great Comet's Rachel Chavkin, to Arrive at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre". Broadway.com. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  13. ^ "Full Cast Announced for HADESTOWN on Broadway; Rehearsals Begin Today!". BroadwayWorld.com. 2019-02-11. Retrieved 2019-02-11.
  14. ^ Gans, Andrew (2017-10-11). "Spider-Man's Patrick Page, Reeve Carney, and T.V. Carpio Will Reunite for Hadestown in Canada | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  15. ^ "Hadestown - Citadel Theatre". Citadel Theatre. 2017-10-13. Retrieved 2017-10-13.
  16. ^ "Patrick Page, Reeve Carney, and TV Carpio to Lead Canadian Premiere of HADESTOWN at Citadel Theatre". BroadwayWorld.com. 2017-10-10. Retrieved 2017-10-10.
  17. ^ a b Isherwood, Charles (2016-05-23). "Review: 'Hadestown' Reanimates a Well-Known Myth". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  18. ^ a b Scheck, Frank. "'Hadestown': Theater Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  19. ^ "Hadestown, A Modern-Day Twist On The Orpheus Story Among Winners Of Richard Rogers Awards - Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  20. ^ "The 31st Sterling Awards". The Sterling Awards. Retrieved 19 July 2018.

External links[edit]