Broadway is Back: “Hadestown” Returns
By: Carlos Glick
Hadestown opened on Broadway at the Walter Kerr theater in New York City on April 17, 2019. It first premiered in Vermont in 2006.
Due to the pandemic, Broadway closed its theaters for 18 long months and reopened its doors on September 2, 2021.
Hadestown intertwines the two mythic tales of Orpheus and Eurydice, and King Hades and his wife Persephone. If you know your Greek mythology, you will know that Hades is the God of the Underworld, and thus you get Hadestown.
The musical is a fantastic piece of art intertwining Greek mythology with musical theater. The music in Hadestown is a phenomenal collaboration of jazz, upbeat, smooth, and romantic music into one musical.
The song “Wait For Me” is a personal favorite of mine because not only is the melody so good, but the message behind it is wonderful.
Looking back through musical theater, this is the second production that I know of which tells a story of history over time. The first is Hamilton, which tells the story of Alexander Hamilton in musical form.
This will be the second musical that does so.
Hadestown, like Hamilton, is musical theater to the best. Hadestown is more jazz incorporated, while Hamilton incorporates hip-hop.
Hadestown is the last town above earth before Hell. Hermes, the gatekeeper to Hell, opens the show by introducing the characters while the band plays.
He then announces he will tell us a story…a tragedy. We meet Euridice, who is a poor wandering girl just looking for food and shelter.
Euridice is introduced to Orpheus, who is a musician and poet. He immediately falls in love with her and he asks her to marry him. She asks what he offers and he answers with the “Wedding Song.”
Orpheus is composing a song to try to heal the world by reminding Hades, the King of Hell (death), of love and life so he will let his wife Persephone, the goddess of seasons and spring, get back on schedule. Winters have been longer and colder because he keeps her with him too long.
He is jealous of her life on earth when she leaves to bring spring. He has become a sullen and oppressive king who lures people to Hell by making them cold and hungry in the long winters he has created, so they opt for Hell, where the fires keep them warm.
Hades feeds them enough to do his slave work. Orpheus’ new wife grows tired of waiting for him to write the song that will heal the world and soften Hades’ heart, so she gets hungry and gets on the train to Hell.
Once there, she signs the contract with Hades, and goes to work with the others in his hellish factory which is imprisoned by a huge protective wall.
Meanwhile, back on top of the earth in Hadestown, Orpheus finally finishes The Song, but Hermes tells him that it is too late. Euridice has left earth for Hell (symbolic of death).
Orpheus vows to go to Hades to get her, and Hermes tells him of a secret way to get down there without getting on the train and signing the contract. Orpheus sets out on the quest.
To summarize the whole musical, it is about two lovers, Orpheas and Eurydice, who show their love by doing what lovers do. However, Hades attempts to separate them and tries to get Eurydice on her side. Orpheus then goes to try and get her back.
Hadestown is a story of love, romance, and betrayal. It is so amazing, so go see it! You will love it!