SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 5, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — “Hadestown” may take you to hell and back, but it’s also likely to leave you energized, emotionally moved and with a bittersweet smile on your face.
The opening night show at Eccles Theater not only received enthusiastic standing ovations, but also widespread cheers that grew into a theater-shaking roar.
Going in, you need to know that you may not like every twist and turn the story takes. It is based on a Greek tragedy, after all. But the high-stakes story — which explores love, hope, despair, and human triumphs and failings — is what makes the show so compelling.
The amazing music is a mix of folk, pop and New Orleans jazz. Sample the Broadway cast album here, but know the music has much more power to touch a listener’s soul when heard in the context of a full performance with gifted singers who are in the same room.
“Hadestown,” by Anais Mitchell and set in a modern depression era, tells the stories of Orpheus (actor Chibeuze Ihuoma), an innocent poet and lyricist who can inspire hope; and his new love, Eurydice (Morgan Siobhan Green), who has suffered hunger, loneliness and betrayal, but who is beginning to trust Orpheus.
A second story is of Hades (actor Kevyn Morrow), king of the underworld, and Persephone (Kimberly Marable) his sexy, saucy wife, herself a goddess of the growing seasons, who is allowed to split her time in hell and on the surface.
As with the myth, the musical’s conflict arises when Eurydice is drawn to Hades’ grim, soulless underworld, and Orpheus feels he must risk all to save her.
A little confused? Well, the audience has the Hermes (actor Levi Kreis) to musically help in navigating the journey at hand.
Standouts in a stellar cast are Marable, whose voice is strong and true, and who adds a needed light comedy to the somewhat grim story. Marable’s singing and acting are spot on, and leave nothing to be desired.
Morrow (Hades) has a deep, expressive voice, and brings a strong presence and devilish charm to most of his scenes.
Ihomua and Green as the young couple make the most of strong and sensitive lyrics, and Green has the ability to break a listener’s heart when she sings despairing lyrics.
As a kind of musical narrator, Kreis’ vocal acrobatics in the first song set the bar high for all that is to come. Also assisting are the three Fates and a Greek chorus that sings, dances, and portrays the residents of each realm. The six-piece orchestra even includes a dancing trombonist, Emily Fredrickson.
A set well designed by Rachel Hauck plays both Earth and Hades, transformed by Bradley King’s lighting. Lights also work to bring the audience into the action at several key points. Rachel Chavkin directed and helped developed the musical.
The edgy, innovative “Hadestown” offers a memorable night at the theater unlike anything to come through Utah in recent years.
Performances, brought in by Broadway at the Eccles, continue through Sunday at the Eccles Theater with matinee and evening shows on the weekend. The show last 2 hours 30 minutes. For ticket and information, click here.