Review of 'Hadestown'

https://www.hadestown.com/

A modern day setting for the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus (Reeve Carney) and Eurydice (Eva Nolezada). The story is narrated by Hermes (the incredible André De Shields) with commentary by the “Fates” (Jewelle Blackman, Yvette Gonzaleez-Nacer, and Kay Trinidad). Orpheus is a musician and poet but is missing something from his life when he encounters Eurydice who he immediately falls in love with and proposes to (“Come Home With Me”) despite their poverty. Eurydice is sceptical of their future so when Hades (Patrick Page), God of the underworld, suggests to Eurydice that she could do well in his factory (“Hey Little Songbird”) she agrees only to find that she has been tricked and unable to leave. Orpheus is distraught and vows to rescue his lover from the clutches of Hades so makes the difficult trip to retrieve her (“Wait for Me”).

This is a truly amazing and spectacular modern musical with tremendous performances by the cast particularly the elderly André De Shields whose fantastically smooth voice enthrals while driving the narrative forward. Patrick Page is absolutely stunning as Hades with his unbelievably low and rich voice. The young Eva Nolezada is amazing as Eurydice with her incredible vocal range coupled with a compelling performance while Reeve Carney as her lover Orpheus aptly tackles the physical demands of his role with an amazingly clear and innocent voice yet utterly convince us of his character's naivety.

The staging is wonderful with the feeling of an amphitheatre - The musicians on stage at all times on steps surrounding the central stage (and a drummer in glassed-in area in the back central section) that juts out into the stalls giving it almost the feeling of a rock concert. There are plenty of stage tricks on display here with stage elevators and a turntable to keep the action moving. The musicians in the basic band are incredible, bringing the fast-paced heavy rock soundtrack to life and driving the story relentless forward to it's inevitable, tragic, conclusion. There are a good number of heavily choreographed dance sequences which are incredibly vibrant, filling the stage with movement and colour.

The soundtrack is full of some amazing pieces with the stunning opener “Road to Hell” and “Wait for Me” being particularly notable. The musical motifs run the gambit of heavy rock to soul and almost jazz. The pieces generally do not repeat as they are used to tell the story with very little resorting to dialogue (this is a musical after all). The close order harmonies (particularly in the Fates) really give the music an incredible richness and, of course, sound absolutely amazing.

The ancient Greek myth here has a contemporary feel though not so much that the original meaning is lost. These are now contemporary characters we can easily understand and feel their pain. “Hadestown” is, of course, a tale of love but it is also unflinching from the hard realities of life.

There is little doubt why this musical swept the 2019 Tony's (including “Best Musical”, “Best Original Score”, “Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical”, and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical”). An amazing, lively musical featuring an unlikely subject. Absolutely incredible.


The performance is 2 hours and 30 minutes with a 15 minute intermission.

Rating:

Review Date: 2020-02-26



Walter Kerr Theatre

Location: New York (USA)

Address: 219 W 48th St, New York, NY 10036, United States

Public Transport: NYCSUB 50 Street NYCSUB 49 Street

Telephone: +1 800-653-8000

URL: https://www.jujamcyn.com/

Only a short distance from Times Square, the Walter Kerr Theatre is a beautiful, though small, theatre. Entrance into the stalls (there are two balconies also) is directly off of the street with a small bar at the back of the seating area. Sound is wonderfully warm and full in the tiny auditorium.