Hadestown is a musical with music, lyrics and book by Anaïs Mitchell. The original version of the musical premiered in the town of Barre, Vermont in 2006. There was also a production in Vergennes in the same year and a tour between Vermont and Massachusetts in 2007. Then Mitchell, unsure about the future of the musical, turned it into a concept album, released in 2010.
Broadway promotional poster
2007 Vermont/Massachusetts Tour
2010 Concept album
|Awards||Tony Award for Best Musical|
Tony Award for Best Original Score
Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical
In 2012, Mitchell met director Rachel Chavkin, and the two started to rework the stage production, with additional songs and dialogue. The new version of the musical, developed for the stage and directed by Chavkin, premiered Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop on May 6, 2016 and ran through July 31. Following productions in Edmonton and London, the show premiered in previews on Broadway in March 2019.
The Broadway production opened to critical acclaim and received numerous awards and nominations. At the 73rd Tony Awards, Hadestown received a total of 14 nominations (the most for the evening) and won eight of them, including Best Musical and Best Original Score.
In a Great Depression-era inspired post-apocalyptic setting, the god Hermes, the narrator, enters to introduce each of the characters ("Road to Hell"). This is followed by the three Fates describing the harsh weather of the setting ("Any Way the Wind Blows"). Orpheus, Hermes's ward, and Eurydice emerge and introduce themselves to each other, and Orpheus asks Eurydice to marry him with some encouragement from Hermes ("Come Home With Me"). Eurydice is doubtful, since they both live in poverty and she wants a life of stability. Orpheus, a musician, persuades her by telling her that he is writing a song that will make spring come again, and they will no longer have to struggle ("Wedding Song").
After an interlude in which Orpheus tells the story of Hades and Persephone ("Epic I"), Persephone enters to celebrate the summertime with Orpheus and Eurydice ("Livin' it Up on Top"). Orpheus makes a toast to Persephone and expresses hope for his future with Eurydice, who reflects on her growing love for Orpheus despite her independence ("All I've Ever Known"). The two promise to stay with each other no matter what hardships they face.
Winter comes, and along with it a train to bring Persephone back to Hadestown – Hades' underground factory – against her wishes. Orpheus and Eurydice watch as Persephone voices her misery at having to return to the factory, while the Fates appear to praise Hadestown's riches. Despite hearing about Hades' harsh treatment of his workers, Eurydice is intrigued ("Way Down Hadestown"). As winter progresses, Orpheus continues to write music while Eurydice urges him to work so they can have food and shelter ("A Gathering Storm"/"Epic II"). At the same time, Hades and Persephone fight about the decline of their own relationship ("Chant").
Hades leaves the factory to find someone who will appreciate the safety and comfort of Hadestown. He comes across Eurydice and asks her to join him in Hadestown ("Hey Little Songbird"). The Fates arrive, and urge Eurydice to put her survival first ("When the Chips are Down"). With Orpheus away working on his music, Eurydice chooses survival and decides to follow Hades to the factory ("Gone, I'm Gone"). When Orpheus returns to look for Eurydice, Hermes tells him that she's gone to Hadestown and tells Orpheus how to get there without the use of Hades' train ("Wait For Me"). Eurydice arrives at Hadestown, and begins her work on the wall surrounding it ("Why We Build the Wall").
Following an entr'acte where Persephone introduces herself and the band ("Our Lady Of The Underground"), we see Eurydice realizing the true consequences of her choice to come to Hadestown: she can never leave unless Hades chooses to let her go ("Way Down Hadestown (Reprise)"). After signing her contract with Hades, she sings of her regrets ("Flowers").
Orpheus, having made his way to Hadestown following Hermes' directions, finds Eurydice and begs her to come home and marry him. Eurydice and the Fates tell Orpheus that she legally belongs to Hades and can't return without his permission ("Come Home With Me (Reprise)"). Hades arrives, and Orpheus confronts him. Hades asserts that he does own Eurydice, and attempts to chase Orpheus off his property ("Papers"). The Fates surround an exhausted Orpheus and tell him to give up on saving Eurydice ("Nothing Changes"). Orpheus sings of his despair at losing Eurydice, inspiring the workers of Hadestown to follow Orpheus and oppose the conditions in which they are made to work. Persephone also overhears ("If It's True"). Touched by Orpheus' music, Persephone tells Hades to let Eurydice go ("How Long"). Hades bitterly offers Orpheus a chance to sing for him ("Chant (Reprise)"). Orpheus sings the complete version of the song he'd been writing all this time, reminding Hades of his love for Persephone ("Epic III"). Orpheus and Eurydice affirm their love for each other and once again promise to stay with each other ("Promises"). Hades is affected more by Orpheus' song than he had expected, and the Fates explain his dilemma: if he keeps Eurydice captive, she becomes a martyr, but if he lets her go, then he loses his authoritarian control over the factory – his workers, having heard Orpheus' music, have begun to agitate for their own freedom ("Word to the Wise"). He decides to leave their fate in Orpheus' hands: the couple can leave together, but Orpheus has to lead them out. If he turns to see if Eurydice is following him, she will belong to Hades forever ("His Kiss, the Riot").
Hermes explains Hades' decision to Orpheus and Eurydice. While Hades and Persephone promise to give their relationship another try the next time she returns to Hadestown, Orpheus begins the walk out of Hadestown with Eurydice following him ("Wait for Me (Reprise)"). Orpheus makes it right up until the very end of the journey, when he is overcome with doubt and turns to look for Eurydice – only to see that she's been right behind him all along, thus condemning her to stay in Hadestown forever ("Doubt Comes In").
Hermes, now somber, reflects on the story's ending; yet he does so via a reprise of the first song, and so begins to tell the story again. In explanation, he remarks that no matter how many times they sing it, people always hope for a happier ending—and that this is the value of continuing to sing the tale, and of Orpheus's gifts: "[to] make you see how the world could be/in spite of the way that it is.” Thus, he says, the story is “a love song/for anyone who tries" ("Road to Hell (Reprise)"). The show closes with Persephone and Eurydice raising a toast to Orpheus after the curtain call, reiterating the theme of hope despite unhappy circumstances: "Some birds sing when the sun is bright/My praise is not for them/But the one who sings in the dead of night/I raise my cup to him" ("We Raise our Cups").
New York Theatre Workshop, New York
All songs are adapted from Mitchell's album, aside from "Any Way the Wind Blows" from her album Xoa, except where noted.
† Not included on Original Cast Recording ‡ Original material
Hadestown was performed as a stage production in the cities of Barre and Vergennes in 2006, before going into a seven-day, ten-city tour between Anaïs Mitchell's home state of Vermont and Massachusetts in 2007. Mitchell described the first incarnation of the show as "a D.I.Y. theatre project." The creative team included primary orchestrator/arranger Michael Chorney and original director/designer Ben T. Matchstick, as well as a cast drawn from local artists in Vermont. In 2010, a concept album was released.
In her search for a director, Mitchell sought out Rachel Chavkin in 2012 after watching a production of Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 directed by Chavkin. In the transition from concept album to stage musical, Mitchell wrote an additional 15 songs and added dialogue to clarify the story line and deepen characterization. The 15 new songs were developed after Mitchell and Chavkin discussed gaps in the album's story line. Michael Chorney created the primary orchestrations and arrangements, with Todd Sickafoose contributing additional/co-arrangements and orchestrations. Hadestown premiered at New York Theatre Workshop for an initial run from May 3 through July 3, 2016, but was later extended due to popular demand through July 31. The production starred Damon Daunno as Orpheus, Nabiyah Be as Eurydice, Amber Gray as Persephone, Patrick Page as Hades, Chris Sullivan as Hermes, and Lulu Fall, Jessie Shelton, and Shaina Taub as the Fates.
Hadestown was presented in an intended pre-Broadway run as part of the 2017-18 season at Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Rachel Chavkin once again served as director, with performances scheduled for November 11 - December 3, 2017, with Amber Gray and Patrick Page reprising their roles from NYTW. The production was presented in collaboration with Mara Isaacs and Dale Franzen, who produced the Off-Broadway run. The NYTW production was also featured in the award-winning documentary series Working in the Theatre produced by the American Theatre Wing.
Ahead of a 2019 Broadway transfer, Hadestown was performed in the Olivier Theatre of the National Theatre in London. Making its UK debut, it ran from November 2, 2018 to January 26, 2019. The production team included Rachel Hauck for scenic design, Michael Krass for costume design, Bradley King for lighting design, Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz for sound design, David Neumann for choreography, and Liam Robinson for musical direction. Patrick Page, Amber Gray, and Reeve Carney reprised their performances in the National Theatre production, joined by Eva Noblezada, André De Shields (who had participated in some early workshops of the production), Carly Mercedes Dyer, Rosie Fletcher, and Gloria Onitiri.
Hadestown opened on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre, with previews beginning on March 22, 2019 and opening night set for April 17, 2019. Page, Gray, De Shields, Carney, and Noblezada reprise their performances for the Broadway production, and are joined by Jewelle Blackman, Yvette Gonzales-Nacer, and Kay Trinidad. The production team also reunites Hauck for scenic design, Krass for costume design, King for lighting design, Steinberg and Jessica Paz for sound design, Neumann for choreography, and Robinson for musical direction.
In August 2019, it was announced during an episode of Good Morning America that Hadestown would begin a national tour in 2020.
New York Theatre Workshop, 2016
Citadel Theatre, 2017
Royal National Theatre, 2018
Walter Kerr Theatre, 2019
|Orpheus||Ben Campbell||Justin Vernon||Damon Daunno||Reeve Carney|
|Eurydice||Anaïs Mitchell||Nabiyah Be||T.V. Carpio||Eva Noblezada|
|Hades||David Symons||Greg Brown||Patrick Page|
|Persephone||Miriam Bernardo||Ani DiFranco||Amber Gray|
|Hermes||Ben T. Matchstick||Ben Knox Miller||Chris Sullivan||Kingsley Leggs||André De Shields|
|The Fates||Sarah-Dawn Albani
|The Haden Triplets||Lulu Fall
|Carly Mercedes Dyer
|Jewelle Blackman |
Mitchell released a concept album based on the musical, working on it for over a year. It was released on March 9, 2010 through Righteous Babe Records.
A live cast recording of the Off-Broadway production was released digitally and on CD on October 6, 2017 through Parlophone Records. A four-track EP entitled Why We Build The Wall (Selections from Hadestown. The Myth. The Musical. Live Original Cast Recording) was released for digital retailers on October 13, 2016 in promotion of the album.
Hadestown received generally positive critical reviews. The New York Times described the Off-Broadway production as "inventive" and "gorgeously sung," praising its simplicity and intimacy. The Hollywood Reporter described the added dialogue as "wince-inducing" but favored its high energy and immersive staging. Several reviews drew parallels between the song "Why We Build the Wall" and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, though the song predates the campaign.
The production opened on Broadway on April 17, 2019 to mainly positive critical reception, with praise especially directed at its direction and performances, particularly those of Amber Gray and Patrick Page. The New York Times called it "gorgeous" and "hypnotic", especially noting its improvement from the New York Theater Workshop version. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter calls it "utterly fabulous", in particular praising the performances of Gray and Page.
Awards and nominations
|American Academy of Arts and Letters||Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater||Won|
|Drama Desk Awards||Outstanding Musical||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical||Bradley King||Nominated|
|Drama League Awards||Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical||Nominated|
|Lucille Lortel Awards||Outstanding Musical||Nominated|
|Outstanding Choreographer||David Neumann||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical||Patrick Page||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical||Amber Gray||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||Chris Sullivan||Nominated|
|Outstanding Scenic Design||Rachel Hauck||Nominated|
|Outstanding Sound Design||Robert Kaplowitz||Nominated|
|Outer Critics Circle Awards||Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical||Nominated|
|Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award||Timothy Ryan Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical||Nominated|
|Outstanding Director||Rachel Chavkin||Nominated|
|Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role||Amber Gray||Won|
|Outstanding Set Design||Rachel Hauck||Nominated|
|Outstanding Costume Design||Michael Krass||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lighting Design||Bradley King||Won|
|Outstanding Musical Director||Liam Robinson||Nominated|
|Outstanding Choreography or Fight Direction||David Neumann||Nominated|
|Tony Awards||Best Musical||Won|
|Best Book of a Musical||Anaïs Mitchell||Nominated|
|Best Original Score||Won|
|Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical||Eva Noblezada||Nominated|
|Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical||André De Shields||Won|
|Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical||Amber Gray||Nominated|
|Best Scenic Design in a Musical||Rachel Hauck||Won|
|Best Costume Design in a Musical||Michael Krass||Nominated|
|Best Lighting Design in a Musical||Bradley King||Won|
|Best Sound Design of a Musical||Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz||Won|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Rachel Chavkin||Won|
|Best Choreography||David Neumann||Nominated|
|Best Orchestrations||Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose||Won|
|Drama Desk Awards||Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||André De Shields||Won|
|Outstanding Director of a Musical||Rachel Chavkin||Won|
|Outstanding Choreography||David Neumann||Nominated|
|Outstanding Scenic Design for a Musical||Rachel Hauck||Nominated|
|Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical||Michael Krass||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical||Bradley King||Won|
|Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical||Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz||Won|
|Drama League Awards||Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical||Won|
|Distinguished Performance Award||Amber Gray||Nominated|
|André De Shields||Nominated|
|Outer Critics Circle Awards||Outstanding New Broadway Musical||Won|
|Outstanding Book of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway)||Anaïs Mitchell||Nominated|
|Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway)||Won|
|Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Reeve Carney||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||André De Shields||Won|
|Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Amber Gray||Won|
|Outstanding Director of a Musical||Rachel Chavkin||Won|
|Outstanding Choreographer||David Neumann||Nominated|
|Outstanding Scenic Design (Play or Musical)||Rachel Hauck||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lighting Design (Play or Musical)||Bradley King||Won|
|Outstanding Sound Design (Play or Musical)||Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz||Nominated|
|Outstanding Orchestrations||Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose||Nominated|
|Broadway.com Audience Awards||Favorite New Musical||Nominated|
|Favorite Leading Actor in a Musical||Reeve Carney||Nominated|
|Favorite Leading Actress in a Musical||Eva Noblezada||Won|
|Favorite Featured Actor in a Musical||Andre de Shields||Nominated|
|Favorite Featured Actress in a Musical||Amber Gray||Nominated|
|Favorite Diva Performance||Amber Gray||Nominated|
|Favorite Onstage Pair||Reeve Carney and Eva Noblezada||Nominated|
|Favorite New Song||"Wait for Me"||Won|
|Chita Rivera Awards|
|Outstanding Choreography in a Broadway Show||David Neumann||Won|
|Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show||Amber Gray||Nominated|
|Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show||Nominated|
|ACCA Award||Outstanding Broadway Chorus||Won|
|Grammy Award||Best Musical Theater Album||Reeve Carney, André De Shields, Amber Gray, Eva Noblezada & Patrick Page (principal soloists); Mara Isaacs, David Lai, Anaïs Mitchell & Todd Sickafoose (producers); Anaïs Mitchell (composer & lyricist)||Pending|
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- "Anais Mitchell's 'Hadestown' reborn off-Broadway". Burlington Free Press. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
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- Clement, Olivia (2017-10-13). "Hadestown EP, With Four Live Tracks, Released Today". Playbill. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
- Vine, Hannah (2017-10-10). "Inside the Listening Party For the Hadestown Live Cast Recording". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
- Gans, Andrew (2017-02-07). "Edmonton's Citadel Theatre Will Stage Broadway-Aimed Hadestown Musical". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2017-02-13. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
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- Olivia Clement, "Hadestown to Play London's National Prior to Broadway", Playbill, April 19, 2018.
- Avella, Frank J. "'Hadestown's' André De Shields: That Mature, Sexy Black Man in a Silver Suit". EDGE Media Network. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
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- Lefkowitz, Andy (2018-11-27). "Hadestown, from The Great Comet's Rachel Chavkin, to Arrive at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre". Broadway.com. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
- "Full Cast Announced for HADESTOWN on Broadway; Rehearsals Begin Today!". BroadwayWorld.com. 2019-02-11. Retrieved 2019-02-11.
- @GMA (12 August 2019). "JUST ANNOUNCED: @hadestown will launch a national tour in Fall 2020!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Polston, Pamela. "The Making of Anaïs Mitchell's Hadestown". Seven Days. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
- Gans, Andrew (2017-10-11). "Spider-Man's Patrick Page, Reeve Carney, and T.V. Carpio Will Reunite for Hadestown in Canada | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
- "Hadestown - Citadel Theatre". Citadel Theatre. 2017-10-13. Retrieved 2017-10-13.
- "Patrick Page, Reeve Carney, and TV Carpio to Lead Canadian Premiere of HADESTOWN at Citadel Theatre". BroadwayWorld.com. 2017-10-10. Retrieved 2017-10-10.
- McHenry, Jackson. "Hadestown First Listen: Hear 3 Songs From the New Broadway Cast Recording". Vulture. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
- @anaismitchell (1 June 2019). "David! We got deep into editing & mixing these (beautiful! epic!) performances and realized we just need more time! We care sooooo much about this music and we know you do too— thank you for your patience from the bottom of our hearts! It will be worth the wait! 🦄🦄🦄" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Hetrick, Adam. "Hadestown Will Release Original Broadway Cast Album With Eva Noblezada and Reeve Carney". Playbill. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- Isherwood, Charles (2016-05-23). "Review: 'Hadestown' Reanimates a Well-Known Myth". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
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- "Hadestown - Did He Like It?". www.didhelikeit.com. Retrieved 2019-04-18.
- https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/17/theater/hadestown-review-broadway-anais-mitchell.html Review: The Metamorphosis of 'Hadestown' from Cool to Gorgeous
- https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/hadestown-theater-review-1202512 'Hadestown' Theater Review
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