Hadestown, a musical based on the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, is a tale of love and inspiration magnificently woven by Tony Award-nominated director Rachel Chavkin. Beginning as a 2010 “folk opera” concept album by Anaïs Mitchell, who wrote the book, music, and lyrics, it premiered off-Broadway in 2016 and opened at Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre last month.
The music and lyrics of several of the songs cannot leave one’s head once you leave the theatre. “Road to Hell” is a rollicking opening number where Andres De Shields is absolutely marvelous as he invites us to “ride the train to the end of the line.” It’s also a fitting number, given the myth: Orpheus (Reeve Carney), the god Apollo’s lyre-playing son, mad with grief after the death of Eurydice (Eva Noblezada), his wife, travels to the underworld to appeal to Hades, the god of death, and his wife, Persephone (goddess of the seasons, who comes up to Earth for spring and summer) to let Eurydice return to life. The Act I finale is the incredibly entertaining “Why We Build the Wall,” in which Hades explains how the wall will keep us free. Sounds familiar and quite political in today’s world.
André De Shields should win Tony and Drama Desk awards for his portrayal of Hermes, the messenger god. Patrick Page is perfectly sinister as Hades, and Amber Gray brings a magnetic voice to the role of Persephone. This is a knockout musical that should be pleasing to all audiences.