Theatre Review: Hadestown exceeds expectations

Tony award-winning musical proves a must see
Theatre Review: Hadestown exceeds expectations
Meilani Gilmore Young

The Tony Award-winning musical, Hadestown is currently all the rage. This Broadway show brings to life the mythic tales of young lovers Orpheus and Eurydice, and King Hades and his wife Persephone. Following the couples to the underworld and back, while also conveying deeper messages such as how the struggles of this world tend to repeat themselves in history. The show uses a mix of modern American folk music and New Orleans-inspired jazz to move the story along. 

Hadestown combines the Greek myths of Orpheus and Eurydice, Hades and Persephone into a modern story that takes the audience on a journey to the underworld and back. Eurydice, a young girl looking for food and shelter from the cold, meets Orpheus, a young, talented musician, working on a song to bring back spring. Hades the king of the underworld and his wife Persephone struggle to hold on to their connection to each other. Persephone wants to stay on earth, bring spring to the world and live it up. At the same time, Hades must stay underground and keep Hadestown in order. 

As a storm approaches, Eurydice looks for food and shelter, Hades offers her a ticket to the underworld claiming to give her work and shelter. She takes the offer and finds herself in the Hadestown factory, a place of hard work and uniform structure. Meanwhile, Orpheus is finishing his song and he then realizes that Eurydice is gone but he doesn’t know how to get to her. He begins the journey to Hadestown, through the back. Once he finally reaches Hadestown he must find a way to get Eurydice back. 

I would give the plot and storyline of this show 4.5 stars. It shows the lengths people will go to get what they need or want but also the power of love. This new twist on two Greek mythology tales presents audiences with a new perspective to view these stories. The story does end in tragedy, but we continue to tell it over and over in hopes of a different happier ending. 

Jordan Fisher and Lola Tung star as Orpheus and Eurydice in the Broadway production of Hadestown.

Hadestown has an exceptional cast. Currently, on Broadway, Jordan Fisher portrays the role of Orpheus. Known for his start on the Disney Channel along with “To All the Boys I Loved Before,” “Work it,” and “Dear Even Hanson” on Broadway. Eurydice is played by Lola Tung, star of the hit show “The Summer I Turned Pretty.” Tung however is only in the role of Eurydice from February 16 to March 17. Both of these well-known stars added an exciting element to the show, blowing audiences away with their beautiful voices and portrayals of the characters. 

Persephone was portrayed by Ani DiFranco, Grammy Award winner and “mother of the DIY movement” being one of the first artists to create her own record label. She did a beautiful job in this role, adding her own flair to the character. Phillip Boykin played the role of Hades, a well-seasoned theater actor with roles in over 10 shows. His deep voice added depth to Hades’ character and gave audiences a stunning chill when he sang. 

Hermes unfolds the hellish tale of “Hadestown.” This role was portrayed by Tony winner Lillias White, who is the first woman to hold this role. The well-known actress and singer with a honey-toned voice and lots of spunk has been with the company from September 2022 through March 2024. She added liveliness to the cast and the story. 

The three fates are played by Belén Moyano, Kay Trinidad, Brit West, a trio of extremely-talented women, each with a unique and beautiful voice. The final group of cast members is the ensemble. This group of five dancers adds depth to the show and moved the story along. A mix of men and women, all of whom sang and danced in every number, portrayed the factory workers of “Hadestown.” 

The casting of this show deserves 5 stars for sure. I was fortunate to see a performance during both Lola and Jordan’s run in “Hadestown” in New York City. The talent of every single cast member in this show was next level, I was impressed and delighted the entire time they were performing. 

The show is complex and powerful when it comes to interpretation and style. Hadestown mirrors what the real world looks like, leaving audiences to think a bit deeper about the happenings of present times. It brings to light current struggles like poverty, capitalism, climate change, and doubt. The characters experience these themes through the show. 

Eurydice experiences poverty and is a good example of doing what you have to, to survive. She strikes a deal with Hades with the hope of escaping her poverty, however, she is deceived and finds herself in the hard chains of the Hadestown factory. The other workers in the factory are nameless and only focused on their work, they have been there so long that they have forgotten everything besides their work. This is very similar to our world today, many people are stuck in their jobs. Many have lost sight of what they are working for while others are just working to survive. 

The Feather staff, including Photographer Giada Gilmore Young, A&E Editor Meilani Gilmore Young and Writing Coach Dorina Gilmore Young attended Hadestown on a recent trip to New York City.

Even though this show has some deep and dark themes, love is also woven throughout. Eurydice and Orpheus depict young, new love. Their relationship shows how love can bloom anywhere, even in dark or difficult times. Hades and Persephone exemplify how love takes time and effort, they needed to be reminded of their love for each other. 

I would give the interpretation and style of “Hadestown” 5 stars. It is such a powerful show, I left the theater wanting more as well as empowered. My favorite part was how the show ended the way it began, with a song. The show concludes with Hermes telling audiences how even though we might know how a story ends we continue to tell them again and again. This is the importance of hope, we tell these stories again with the hope of a different ending. 

The staging of this show was minimal but well-used. Through the use of lighting and layering on the stage the show was able to move the story along. The lighting was a major aspect, there was normal stage lighting as well as more lights that changed as the story progressed. When the characters entered Hadestown the lights began to glow bright in a way that gave audience members the idea that it was hot and burning in the factory. At this part, the stage expanded to reveal more lights. 

Another aspect was the stage floor itself, it is a turntable. A turntable is when there is a circle in the center of the stage that spins to move actors around. They also have a circle in the turntable’s center that lowers onto the stage. This type of stage adds a dynamic element to the show, giving audiences something visual to look at besides just the set stage. The sets and staging of the show deserve 5 stars, every part of the stage was used and it was utilized well. 

Costumes are an important part of any production. “Hadestown” was able to use minimal costuming, with only one costume change. Michael Krass is the mastermind behind the costumes in this show. He carefully thought through each character, choosing clothing pieces that had meaning and would add depth to the character. Each character’s costume is simple enough to where it isn’t distracting, but also fitting of the story. I would give the costumes in the show 5 stars. They added to the depth of the show, giving each character another element while also being minimal. 

Hadestown cast gathers for the final bows of the Broadway show.

The music of “Hadestown” is a mix of New Orleans-style jazz and modern American folk. The musicians are on the stage along with the actors. This adds a rich and dynamic atmosphere to the stage. The variety of instruments also gave the music a multitude of sounds, especially using unique instruments like the accordion. I would give 4.5 to the music of this show. From the first note, I was bobbing my head to the beat, and throughout the show, I was engaged and entertained. I would suggest that audiences listen to the soundtrack before attending the show. Hearing the songs beforehand helped me get excited and anticipate what songs were coming next and how the songs would translate to the stage. 

“Hadestown” was a hit. I am so thankful I got to see it, especially with this particular cast. I highly recommend seeing this show if you can because it has such a unique feel and sound. “Hadestown” currently tours the East Coast along with its resident spot on Broadway in New York. 

Interested in more reviews, visit the Arts & Entertainment page 

For more from the Feather, visit Promo: Drama prepares for Spring musical or Journalism team wins national award

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About the Contributors
Meilani Gilmore Young
Meilani Gilmore Young is a senior at Fresno Christian Schools and the Arts and Entertainment Editor for the Feather Online. She is an avid reader, movie enthusiast, and music fanatic. When she’s not leading the Track and Field team she is planning her next adventure or mapping out her next meal. In the future, Gilmore Young hopes to pursue a career in history and study film. 
Mallory Friesen
Mallory Friesen, Photo Editor
Mallory Friesen returns to The Feather for her second year as a photojournalist hoping to improve her skills. As a ‘lifer’ at Fresno Christian, you can find her on the soccer field or cheer mat. Friesen hopes to attend college and continue her creativity by traveling the world and using her photography skills. 
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