Hadestown – Mythology Gone Wild

Reeve Carney, Eva Noblezada

 

 

by Sandi Durell

 

 

Singer-Songwriter Anais Mitchell (book, music, lyrics) and director Rachel Chavkin (The Comet of 1812), the creatives, have been on The”Road to Hell” for a long time with runs at New York Theater Workshop, in Canada and London tweaking this Greek mythological production. And it appears that the Gods have been kind in this tale of Orpheus and Eurydice updated, upgraded, reimagined and speaking to a cult raving audience. You can’t ignore the beat of New Orleans jazz, pop rock and a little folksy thrown in for good measure. This myth takes place in the French Quarter with a stellar cast of gyrating singer-dancers who are put to task by Ms. Chavkin and choreographer David Neumann.

 

Andre De Shields

 

Narrator-host is the lovable charmer, spiffy dressed Andre De Shields as Hermes with many a tale to tell – “It’s a sad song, but we sing it anyway,”. . . and the joint is jumpin’ as the goddess of spring Persephone, a well experienced tough and sassy Amber Gray, winds up marrying Hades, giving pause to “Livin’ It Up on Top,” her six month reprieve from below.

Poor little street orphan Eurydice (gorgeous voiced Eva Noblezada) is hungry, tired and tattered when she meets the sweet falsetto-tenor Orpheus (Reeve Carney) who only seeks to write the love song for which his soul struggles.

The Fates (Jewelle Blackman, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, Kay Trinidad) strut their stuff in sheer perfect harmony, making many a point.

 

Patrick Page, Amber Gray

 

Alas, when we get to Hell, it is as most people believe – HELL! Work-a-bees factory-style moving in circles (on the concentric moving floor design and scenery of Rachel Hauck) staring without emotion, dirty and tired from digging up the coal for Hades to keep the fires burning. Since Orpheus (in his poetic dilemma) is unaware of Eurydice’s hungry condition, she wanders off into Hades’ territory. The lower than bass, scary sounding Hades is played to the hilt (with echos – sound design by Kevin Steinberg/Jessica Paz) and lighting by Bradley King) by the illustrious Patrick Page, the perfect devil in disguise (pinstripe suit, dark sunglasses, slicked back white hair – great costumes by Michael Krass).

The new crop of shows weigh in politically, albeit this closer to Act I was part of Mitchell’s original score, a precursor of things to come – “Why We Build The Wall” – a call and response style heavy duty production piece that makes its impact in great detail:

We build the wall to keep us free

Because we have and they have not!

My children, my children

Because they want what we have got!

Because we have and they have not!

Because they want what we have got!

As the very innocent Eurydice descends below, seduced by Hades, she joins the workers in their robotic toil “Way Down Hadestown” wondering when she will be rescued by Orpheus who finally comes to claim his love and share his song of songs.

It’s especially nice to hear the various musicians introduced one by one on stage in this almost concert style production.

Yes, it’s a love story filled with fire and brimstone, fantastical singing voices that already appears to have quite the following.

 

Photos: Matthew Murphy

 

Hadestown runs at the Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 West 48 St., NYC, Run Time 2 hrs, 30 min (one intermission) – open run www.hadestown.com

 

Share