Hello!! Last year for Valentine’s Day, Johnny and I went to see Jesus Christ Superstar at Playhouse Square. It looks like a V-Day theater date is becoming our tradition because this weekend, we saw Hadestown. On Saturday night, we got dressed up in our finest to see the show at Playhouse Square’s gorgeous Connor Palace and had what was nothing short of a spiritual experience. Hadestown was, hands down, one of the best shows that I have ever seen in my life. You can peep my date night OOTD later this week but, now, let’s get to my review for this remarkable musical:
Hadestown is a somewhat modern retelling of the tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice set in 1920s New Orleans. Not familiar with Greek mythology? No worries! You do not need to have an ounce of knowledge about it as the show will tell you everything you need to know. Long story short: Hades and his wife Persephone rule the Underworld together. Persephone spends half of her year with her husband, making fall and winter on Earth. Then, she comes back up to the world of the living to gift the people with spring and summer. As the weather becomes harsher on Earth, young Orpheus is on a mission to bring the seasons back to normality with his music. He also hopes to win the love of the sad runaway, Eurydice. Out of desperation, Eurydice makes a deal with Hades and goes to live in the Underworld, leaving it up to Orpheus to bring her back to Earth… Hopefully!
Absolutely everything and anything about Hadestown was glorious and Johnny and I were in awe the entire time. The music, set, cast, musicians, sound, and lighting worked together in perfect unison to create a show that was unlike anything that I have or will ever see again. Let’s start with the set. As opposed to traveling by boat via the River Styx to get to the Underworld, getting there is only a train ride away in Hadestown. The main set is, essentially, a cafe where people pass the time waiting for spring and summer.
Take a look at the picture of the set – at the top is a balcony where Hades and Persephone can snoop on the humans. To the left of the balcony is an opening that works like a garage door as people enter and exit the Underworld. You can also see the circular center that actually revolves, which was completely mind blowing! The real piece de resistance, however, is when the base of the set came apart to reveal Orpheus’s back way to the Underworld to rescue Eurydice. It. Was. Amazing!
The music style of Hadestown included New Orleans jazz, gospel, folk, and blues, which was fabulous in itself. To make it even better, the musicians were onstage the entire time and, man, could they play. It was also such fun to watch as the characters introduced the musicians and allowed them to solo like an actual concert. The musicians were onstage during Jesus Christ Superstar too and Johnny and I are now convinced that this is the only way to watch a musical.
Every single song from Hadestown is a straight up banger and their casting was so well done. The cast is pretty small with only thirteen members (five of which are chorus), and if anyone wasn’t pulling their weight during the show, you would most definitely know. This wasn’t the case with the cast we saw of Hadestown at all, which is surprising because I can usually pinpoint at least something that I don’t like about someone lol.
My favorite songs from the show are “Wedding Song”, “Livin’ It Up On Top” “Way Down Hadestown”, “Wait For Me”, and “Our Lady of the Underground”. It’s hard to narrow it down, though, because I liked everything so much! This was, easily, one of the strongest casts that I have ever seen and every single member was phenomenal. The incomparable Nathan Lee Graham as our narrator, Hermes, was sublime. Brit West as Persephone was mesmerizing and every song she had was my favorite. Matthew Patrick Quinn as Hades was everything with his deep voice and looming presence. Chibueze Ihuoma, who played Orpheus, had the voice of a literal angel and young Hannah Whitley had the sweetest voice as Eurydice. And, of course, the Fates and the chorus can’t be ignored and enhanced every scene beautifully.
During Hadestown, I laughed – but I mainly cried lol. I am quite familiar with Greek mythology and know the story of Orpheus and Eurydice well. Having this prior knowledge made every song between Orpheus and Eurydice even sadder and more haunting and I was SOBBING during “Wait For Me”. Throughout the performance, I was mentally willing for it to end differently and I reacted to it as if I had heard the story for the first time. I think I was so engrossed in the show that it made me forget everything I knew already and that is how you know that it was incredible.
Do not walk. RUN to see Hadestown if you have the opportunity. I promise you that it will be an experience you will never, ever forget.
What is your favorite song from Hadestown? What is your favorite thing about live theater? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah