Broadway hit “Hadestown” opened its run in Orlando last night at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and it had the entire audience on its feet several times.
The musical opens with the energy of a New Orleans party, big and bold, and doesn’t let up until the end.
Based on Greek mythology, “Hadestown” tells the dual love stories of Orpheus and Eurydice, along with Hades and Persephone, and how they intertwine.
But Anaïs Mitchell, who wrote the story, lyrics, and music for “Hadestown” makes it so much more with layers upon layers of concepts such as how we shape our destiny, the haves vs. the have-nots, and how doubt can ruin everything.
Or you can just sit back, not think, and let the music carry you along in the story, which is easy to do as Mitchell has created a soundtrack that runs from rock ballads to cajun and blues-influenced jams that will have you grooving in your seat.
The performances were top notch by everyone, especially the four leads, and our narrator, the god Hermes, played with exuberance and sass by Nathan Lee Graham. He lets you know before the first note even drops you’re in for a ride.
Listening to Chibueze Ihuoma sing his heart out with emotion and an aching falsetto, it’s easy to understand this “gift” Orpheus has that was given to him by the Muses.
As his love Eurydice, Hannah Whitley’s strong voice is infused with anger, despair, and doubt as the character, in a moment of weakness, makes a pact she later regrets.
And as the original star-crossed lovers, Hades, the god of the Underworld, and his bride Persephone, goddess of Spring and vegetation, Matthew Patrick Quinn’s deep bass and Lindsey Hailes’ powerful voice danced with each other as the characters fall out of love, then back in.
Kudos also to the three Fates (Dominique Kempf, Belén Moyano and Nyla Watson) who wind the stories together, and to the band and backing dancers/singers who provide a solid base for the others to shine.
The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was the spotlights that shone out into the darkness of the audience during certain moments (especially in the Underworld-set moments). It really hurt my eyes and made it hard to see the stage.
But it’s a minor quibble.
“Hadestown” is can’t-miss musical theater, so don’t miss your chance to see it while it’s at the Dr. Phillips Center here in Orlando through this Sunday, December 18, 2022.
As of this post a few tickets are still available for select nights, and can be purchased at DrPhillipsCenter.org.
Disclaimer: CSO received media tickets for purposes of review. As always, my opinions are honest, and my own.
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