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Hadestown turns Greek fantasy right into a musical steampunk dystopia

click on to enlarge Hadestown turns Greek myth into a musical steampunk dystopia

Picture: T Charles Erickson

Nathan Lee Gordon and the solid of the North American touring firm of Hadestown.

It’s an outdated story from means again when. That is in line with Hermes, the Greek god of luck and journey who narrates Hadestown, the much-acclaimed musical tragedy taking part in by means of Solar., Nov. 20 on the Benedum Heart. He speaks to the viewers as he assembles a troupe of performers over a propulsive trombone beat.

Hadestown takes the two,500-year-old ill-fated love story of Orpheus and Eurydice and units it in a timeless steampunk dystopia ravaged by industrial manufacturing (the violent impacts of which accurately radiate upwards from Hell) and ruled by the gods of Greek mythology on this attractive and immersive retelling.

Hadestown is usually sung-through, the motion unfolding by means of composer, playwright, and folks musician Anaïs Mitchell’s rating, which mixes delicate, mournful folks melodies that soar above the strings part with upbeat, bluesy numbers propelled by a sassy trombone (Emily Fredrickson). The ensemble performing as a Greek refrain and the three Fates, the legendary personifications of future (Dominique Kempf, Belén Moyano, Nyla Watson), help Hermes (Nathan Lee Graham) to border the story. Many of the present’s seven-member band performs onstage on risers, perched on Rachel Houck’s set resembling New Orleans’ French Quarter.

click on to enlarge Hadestown turns Greek myth into a musical steampunk dystopia

Picture: T Charles Erickson

Chibueze Ihuoma in Hadestown.

Right here, Orpheus (Chibueze Ihuoma), who, by legend, is essentially the most gifted bard within the universe, is a shy younger musician bussing tables at a cease on the highway to Hell. He has found a magical outdated melody he believes he can vogue right into a track that can repair what’s incorrect with the world. Along with his divine musical skills, Orpheus can also be touched, Hermes says, by the present of imaginative and prescient, the flexibility to see past what the world is to glimpse what it might be.

In distinction, Eurydice (Hannah Whitley) is jaded and exhausted by a lifetime of poverty. Whitley’s voice is wealthy and clear, her efficiency a poignant expression of anguish. The 2 fall instantly in love, however nonetheless must eat. Eurydice goes out to scavenge for meals and will get caught in a horrible storm, throughout which Hades (Matthew Patrick Quinn), the king of the Underworld, efficiently lures her into his exploitative clutches. When Orpheus learns this, he instantly units off to perform the seemingly unattainable process of bringing Eurydice again from hell.

Hades has turned his darkish kingdom into an industrial empire with mines, oil rigs, factories, and foundries, which he constructed to exorcise the loneliness and jealousy he feels throughout his spouse Persephone’s absence for a part of yearly. The goddess of spring, Persephone (Lana Gordon), splits her time between the Underworld and the world above, and the seasons flip in line with her presence or absence.

click on to enlarge Hadestown turns Greek myth into a musical steampunk dystopia

Picture: T Charles Erickson

Hannah Whitley as Eurydice in Hadestown.

Though Hadestown takes place in a legendary time and place, the facility relations of the story are drawn from our world. The few revenue from the stolen labor of the numerous, and the growth of trade makes the local weather more and more excessive and inhospitable. The various yearn for freedom, which their overlords inform them will solely come by means of investments in punishing and containing the enemy, poor folks.

Hadestown renders these bleak circumstances in vibrant shade by means of Bradley King’s mild design, which is visually pleasing and efficient, utilizing shifting lighting fixtures to amplify the resonance of the present’s most emotional moments. A turntable heart stage facilitates the lengthy journey to hell and again, and a maw-like metal door upstage is the passage to Hadestown, swallowing up all who enter.

The solid performing in Pittsburgh options new principal actors about one month into their time with the touring firm, and their performances (in addition to these of the remainder of the solid) are radiant. Whitley’s haunting flip as Eurydice is an ideal foil to Ihuoma’s hovering optimism as Orpheus, his attractive and piercing falsetto an ideal counterpoint to Quinn’s bass (his bio says he “originated a number of villainous roles for Disney Cruise Line,” which might be all you want to know there).

This manufacturing additionally options electrical performances by Graham as Hermes and Gordon as Persephone. Gordon reprises the function of Persephone for a restricted engagement after taking part in it on Broadway earlier this yr and is gorgeous because the traumatized and conflicted goddess in a peridot inexperienced gown. Pittsburgh will probably be her final cease on the tour.

Graham is magnetic, with maybe essentially the most expressive face I’ve ever seen in a stage efficiency. I additionally couldn’t look away from dance/struggle captain Ian Coulter-Buford who leads an exuberant and adaptable refrain.

It’s a tragedy. They are saying that at the start, however it nonetheless hits onerous on the finish. Though it’s wrapped in an exquisite package deal, Hadestown has a bracing message about what it takes to reside in a harsh world that bears fairly a resemblance to our personal. Regardless of large concern and ache, the most suitable choice is to maintain going since you’re more likely to remorse it extra when you flip again.

Hadestown. Continues by means of Solar., Nov. 20. Benedum Heart. Seventh St. and Penn Ave., Downtown. $55-170.

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