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The Reviews Are In: ‘Hadestown’ on Broadway

Category Broadway

|by Danielle Moore |

What did critics think of the new jazz-inflected musical?

On April 17, 2019, Anaïs Mitchell’s Hadestown opened at Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre. The new musical, based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, claims a circuitous path to Broadway that includes a concept album, runs in both Edmonton and London, and an Off-Broadway staging at the New York Theatre Workshop. The piece has changed substantially over more than a decade, and now features Broadway musical veterans Amber Gray (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812), Patrick Page (Spring Awakening), Eva Noblezada (Miss Saigon), André  Deshields (The Wiz, The Full Monty) and Reeve Carney (Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark). Read on for highlights from 10 critics’ reviews of Hadestown.   

Eva Noblezada, Andre DeShields and Reeve Carney in ‘Hadestown’ on Broadway (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

Eva Noblezada, Andre DeShields and Reeve Carney in ‘Hadestown’ on Broadway (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

The New York Times
“Mr. Page, rocking a Leon Redbone look and rumble, makes an electrifyingly maleficent Hades…And Ms. Gray, never better, makes something quite brilliant out of Persephone: a free spirit, a loose cannon, a first lady co-opted by wealth yet emotionally subversive. When, as part of the curtain call, she sings the score’s loveliest number – ‘I Raise My Cup’ – you at last wish the show would slow down so you could live in the glowy moment forever.”

“Arriving on Broadway with its earthly delights more or less intact, this perfectly heavenly musical – with book, music and lyrics by Anaïs Mitchell – should stick around for a while.”

Entertainment Weekly
“You don’t have to be a literary scholar to guess what happens, but when Hadestown reaches that pivotal moment, it knocks the wind out of you. That’s a credit to Chavkin’s direction, the stellar cast, and Mitchell’s storytelling (she wrote the show’s music, lyrics and book). The songs will stay in your head after you leave the theater, from the catchy ‘Way Down Hadestown’ to Persephone’s jazzy ‘Livin’ It Up On Top’ and the haunting ballad ‘Wait For Me’…”

“With an ending as moving as anything on Broadway – and for hades’ sake, don’t leave before the cast finishes its one-surprise-left curtain call – Hadestown stands alongside Daniel Fish’s Oklahoma! and Bartlett Sher’s To Kill A Mockingbird as this Broadway season’s visionary triumvirate, looking to the past and feeling undeniably, stirringly now.”

The Hollywood Reporter
“Chavkin and her ingenious design team – sets are by Rachel Hauck, costumes by Michael Krass and the breathtaking lighting by Bradley King – reference Metropolis in their conception of the Underworld…Hauck and King pull off a stunning coup de théâtre when the set cracks open to reveal the cavernous industrial hellhole, and then closes again with the return to the world above.”

Broadway News
“A retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, the show features a book and score by the singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell that ranks among the most adventurous and accomplished to be heard on Broadway in recent years. And the production, developed and directed by Rachel Chavkin, superbly showcases both Mitchell’s work and a superlative cast, accompanied by an orchestra – perhaps more aptly called a band – so seamlessly integrated into the production that the evening is at once a vibrant theatrical reimagining of the classical doomed-love story and a rollicking pop-rock concert that keeps scaling new musical heights.”

The Daily Beast
“(André) De Shields, with his clear, commanding voice, is the perfect narrator: he knows how the story goes, but he also knows why we tell the story no matter how sadly it turns out. In a beautiful shiny blue suit, he saunters in a way any human wishes they could saunter, like a swaggering, languid cat. At 73, would we all look as dashing and limber as André De Shields.”

New York Stage Review
“As always, André De Shields is a crowd-pleaser. Amber Gray, who portrays Persephone as a wild party girl whenever she gets sprung from down below, is a saucy pleasure to watch. Patrick Page’s diabolical presence dominates the proceedings. Eve Noblezada gives Eurydice an earnest nature and clear, bright vocals.”

Rolling Stone
“The whole cast is on point. Patrick Page reprises his low-baritone Hades, a wicked ruler with a microscopic but still-existent heart...Eva Noblezada is a fetching, potent Eurydice, a poor girl who sells out to become a cog in Hadestown before Orpheus attempts to liberate her. The Fates (Jewelle Blackman, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, Kay Trinidad) are a perfect balance of sassy, sexy and menacing, who sing their asses off when they get an opening. And André De Shields is a vivid Hermes, a wizened seer who brings to the narrator role a touch of carnival barker and New Orleans hoodoo swagger.”

Time Out New York
“Here’s my advice: Go to hell. And by hell, of course, I mean Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell’s fizzy, moody, thrilling new Broadway musical…it’s the newness of Mitchell’s musical account – and Rachel Chavkin’s gracefully dynamic staging – that bring this old story to quivering life.”

For more of the best of Broadway, check out our list of the Top Shows in New York in April 2019


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