Hadestown

Hadestown was this year’s Best Original Musical Tony winner–and thirty minutes after it won all of its Tonys, my friends and I were coordinating schedules and ticket prices to Hadestown.

At any rate, it’s a really original musical–in musical style, in the combining of two Greek myths, in staging. I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything like it. And it’s really thought-provoking.

I’m liking this thought-provoking musical trend.

Hadestown was the third in what turned out to be a trifecta of musicals about death: Oklahoma! (which, as you may recall, left me feeling unsettled), Beetlejuice (which is about death, but is really uplifting), and now Hadestown–based on two Greek myths: Persephone and her marriage to Hades, lord of the underworld, and Orpheus and Eurydice. The musical style is jazz and folk and the set and style is sort of post-apocalytic Depression-era New Orleans.

Hermes, played by Andre De Shields, is the narrator—and he begins the show. Orpheus is played as a  nervous, anxious character who sees Eurydice and wants to make her his muse–and he’s sure he loves her, anyway, and immediately wants to marry her. Orpheus is very into this song he writes throughout the show, a song that’ll bring back spring. (My friend Jess and I equated Orpheus with Roger from RENT. And let’s be real–“Your Eyes” is the worst song in RENT).

Persephone comes back “up top” and spring comes–and Persephone is a drunken, unhappy mess. When Hades summons her back early, she’s unhappy and of course, the earth’s weather changes. Eurydice and Orpheus go hungry. Orpheus is too obsessed with his song to listen to Eurydice plead for him to get a paying job so they can eat (and this is when Orpheus started to get on my nerves; delicate artist who can’t think of practical matters, begone; starving artist who doesn’t pay attention to the woman he has professed to love and wants to be with, also be banished).

I won’t spoil the rest of the show for you–but this is the song I have stuck in my head:

This song is not only catchy and very on-the-nose with the general state of the world at present, but also the ideas presented in the song are classic propaganda, right? It’s like listening to 1984.

2 thoughts on “Hadestown

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