Hadestown – North America National Tour, Orpheum Theatre (USA)
Music, lyrics and book by Anaïs Mitchell. Directed by Rachel Chavkin
Reviewed by Tessa Miles
Orpheum Theatre, San Francisco
12th – 17th September 2023
- A theatrical gem that has audiences begging for it to come down under. Hadestown is a theatrical masterpiece -
Hadestown at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco is a theatrical masterpiece that will undoubtedly leave audiences spellbound. This extraordinary production, inspired by Greek mythology and infused with bluesy folk music, takes audiences on a riveting journey through the depths of the underworld and the enduring power of love.
Australian audiences have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of Hadestown ever since its triumphant debut in New York City, where it claimed an impressive 8 Tony Awards in 2019, including the coveted award of Best Musical. With successful runs on Broadway, national tours across North America, and an upcoming production set for the West End, hopes are high that an Australian production of this musical sensation is on the horizon (especially as Australian-American popstar Betty Who is currently playing Persephone on Broadway).
The historic Orpheum Theatre sets the stage for this leg of the North American tour’s captivating experience, with its grandeur and rich history adding to the atmosphere. A cleverly designed set (Rachel Hauck) reminiscent of the Broadway original, expands both horizontally and vertically, creating a visually stunning and dynamic environment. The production design ingeniously transforms the stage into a gritty, post-apocalyptic, industrial underworld and contrasts the “above” with a touch of New Orleans charm. The visuals and lighting (Bradley King) are nothing short of mesmerising, immersing the audience in a world unlike any other.
Cast of the North American Tour of Hadestown. Images:T Charles Erickson
The diverse and exceptionally talented cast delivers performances that are raw and extraordinary. Alongside the impressive vocal abilities of the cast, the band are incorporated on stage, adding to the New Orleans atmosphere and providing an extra layer of depth to the production.
The multi-talented ensemble showcases the best musical talent. Stepping into the lead role for this specific production is understudy Colin LeMoine as Orpheus. LeMoine captivates with both his vocal prowess and emotional depth, particularly in the poignant rendition of ‘Epic II’ and ‘Wait for Me’. Hannah Whitley portrays Eurydice with grace and a powerful voice that resonates with the audience. Her Eurydice is playful, independent, gritty, and disarming, a noted difference to Eva Noblezada, who originated the role on Broadway. Hades and Persephone, played by Matthew Patrick Quinn and Maria-Christina Oliveras, bring a dynamic mix of gravitas and charm to their roles. Nathan Lee Graham as the narrator, Hermes, brings quirkiness, humour, and sass to the role. The entire cast delivers captivating performances, seamlessly weaving together the intricate threads of the production.
The music and lyrics by Anaïs Mitchell are a true highlight, with a rich blend of folk, blues, and jazz that perfectly complements the narrative. Under the guidance of musical director Eric Kang, the ensemble flawlessly executes the intricate score, showcasing their exceptional talent.
The choreography by David Neumann is captivating and joyful. Every movement is meticulously crafted, seamlessly weaving together the characters, music, and story into a mesmerising tapestry.
A theatrical gem that showcases the transformative power of the stage.
Visually, the production is a feast for the eyes with innovative lighting design throughout, in tandem with the creative stage design, Hadestown transports the audience to a world that marries the mythical and the modern. The attention to detail in costumes and set pieces is remarkable, adding to the production overall.
Hadestown at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco is a theatrical gem that showcases the transformative power of the stage. With outstanding performances, a mesmerising score, and innovative staging it creates a captivating experience that lingers long after the final bows.
If you are fortunate enough to be in the same city as a Hadestown production, consider it a disservice to yourself not to indulge in this remarkable experience. Treat yourself to an evening of unforgettable entertainment as you embark on a journey through the depths of the underworld, all while celebrating the timeless strength of love. Hadestown is an absolute must-see, and we eagerly anticipate its arrival on Australian stages, hopefully in the not-too-distant future!
HADESTOWN - NORTH AMERICAN TOUR
Cast and Creatives
Director Rachel Chavkin
Musical Director Eric Kang
Choreographer David Neumann
Scenic Design Rachel Hauck
Costume Design Michael Krass
Lighting Design Bradley King
Sound Design Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz
Stage Manager Joel Rosen
Cast Nathan Lee Graham, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Matthew Patrick Quinn, J. Antonio Rodrigues, Hannah Whitley, Dominque Kempf, Belên Moyano, Nyla Watson, Sevon Askew, Jordan Bollwerk, Ian Coulter-Buford, KC Dela Cruz, Jamal Lee Harris, Courtney Lauster, Colin LeMoine, Cecilia Trippiedi, Sean Watkinson, Racquel Williams,