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Off Broadway

Hadestown

Thomas Ellenson

This week I saw Hadestown, a mesmerizing new musical based off of the Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice, at New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW), an Off-Broadway theatre in the East Village. 

The Acting

There are 8 people in the cast, and everyone is terrific in their respective roles. Cast highlights include Patrick Page as Hades (I'm still thinking about his insanely deep voice and low notes), Amber Gray as Persephone, and Chris Sullivan as Hermes (who also acts as a narrator of the piece). Also of note are the three actresses playing the Fates, who sing incredibly complex and intricate harmonies with perfection. 

Score

The musical is entirely sung-through, and the score by Anais Mitchell is an imaginative look at vintage New Orleans jazz and American folk music. Hadestown bills itself as a "folk opera," and that is the perfect way to describe the music. A concept album is available, but I'm really hoping that a new cast album with the current cast is released soon! 

Design

Hadestown is an immersive musical, with the audience sitting on cushioned wooden chairs surrounding the stage. The actors frequently wander around the space and interact with members of the audience (such as giving them glasses to raise). With the cast performing throughout all sides the theatre, it made for a unique theatrical experience and a brilliant use of NYTW. 

My opinion

I highly recommend Hadestown, especially if you love immersive musicals like Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. The successful NYTW run just extended through 7/31, and I'm hoping for a cast recording or a future life for this fantastic new musical. I give it 9/10 escapes!