Last year, it was Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. The year before that, it was Hamilton. Before that, it was A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and before that it was The Book of Mormon. Before that, I wasn’t AS in love with musical theatre as I am now. This year, I was beginning to worry that I would find a new show to love. Looking at the up and coming shows, (Mean Girls, Spongebob, Frozen, etc.) I knew that they would be good, but I didn’t trust that they would bring something new to my life.
I found it.
Hadestown. It has been around for a while. Based on the 2010 concept album, Hadestown is based on the greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. It’s a folk opera and the music perfectly matches the beautifully haunting story. If you are unfamiliar with the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, it goes something like this. Orpheus and Eurydice are in love. Eurydice gets bit by a snake and dies, her soul descending to the underworld. Orpheus travels to the Underworld to convince Hades and Persephone, the Lord and Lady of the dead to release his love. A deal is made that Orpheus may lead Eurydice out of the Underworld, but he cannot look back at her until they are out forever. Orpheus almost makes it, but just when they’re almost out, he looks back and he loses her forever.
Now, I’ve always been a fan of Greek mythology. The Greeks were great storytellers. This was never one of my favorite myths because of how tragic it is, but this show has changed my opinion.
What first drew me in was hearing that it was Amber Gray’s next project. Amber Gray is an amazing actress with a very unique and wonderful voice. She played Helene in The Great Comet and was easily one of the best parts in that musical. Helene was a beautiful, exciting, and one of the more tragic stories from War and Peace. Gray brings these qualities with her into the show as Persephone. Persephone is married to Hades, the Lord of the Underworld. Though she is the goddess of springtime, she lives underground with him for half of the year, feeling depressed and alone when away from the world above. However, when Persephone is up above for the other half of the year, she is exciting and kind and generous. Amber plays this role beautifully.
Hermes, the god that leads souls to the underworld, becomes somewhat of a narrator of the musical. Hermes and Hades, the god of the Underworld, both have deep and rumbling voices that enchant the listener. The Fates, played by three women, end up becoming another form of narration, defending some actions and warning against others. The Fates sing together and become an eerie echo throughout the show.
The couple from the myth, Orpheus and Eurydice, are beautiful and your heart breaks with them. Orpheus is a dreamer. A poor musician, he lives day to day, dreaming of a better world and loving Eurydice. Meanwhile, Eurydice worries about survival and battles between her heart and her gut. In the latest album released of the show, Orpheus’ voice was my favorite of all of them. Playing the musician, Damon Duanno’s voice is like a lullaby, reminding me of a Sleeping At Last album.
I have just started falling in love with this soundtrack and I’m ready to continue learning and loving this music and these actors. I have high hopes for the success of this musical as it continues to grow.