It’s times like these we learn to live again. Dave Grohl said even in the world of music, life can be stranger than fiction, and sometimes fiction mirrors life. So is the case with the latest Broadway epic to grace Orange County as “Hadestown” landed at Segerstrom Center of the Arts.
The story of Orpheus and Eurydice is a tale as old as time itself. Brought forth from Greek mythology, it is a story of love and how it can triumph overall, with tragedy and hope clashing in the end.
With Tony Awards under their belt, “Hadestown” came to town with an impressive resume and well earned reviews. Honestly, Orange County is no stranger to epic forms of entertainment, and the crowds here can’t easily be swayed; so the event has to be incredibly special to earn the applause of OC fans of the arts.
The set was stunning, the colors and costumes stimulated the senses. The house band was beyond legit, and the cast was extremely talented. Not only were they wonderful actors, but they were also fantastic singers, dancers, and most of all, they were storytellers and entertainers.
“Hadestown” was directed by Anaïs Mitchell, and there’s no wonder why it earned eight Tony Awards in 2019; best musical, original score, direction, lighting and scenic design were some of the wins. It has also picked up a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. All of these areas shined brightly at Segerstrom Center.
“WAIT FOR ME”
“To the World We Dream About, and the One We Live in Now”
Like so many stories based in Greek mythology, there were common players: Hermes (played by Levi Kreis), the messenger of the Gods; the Fates, you can figure what they do; and Hades himself (Played by Kevyn Morrow)… King of the Underworld.
The musical revolves around two storylines. The first is the age-old story of Hades and his wife, Persephone (Queen of the Underworld – Played by Kimberly Marable). Now the thing about Persephone; she is not an original inhabitant of Hades, she is actually the daughter of Zeus. Yeah, that Zeus and Demeter. Hades literally abducted her, and in her absence from Olympus, the flowers would not bloom. But that’s a different story for another day.
In the other corner is the story of Orpheus (Played by Chibueze Ihuoma) and Eurydice (Played by Morgan Siobhan Green). Another celestial fragmentation was at work here; Orpheus is the son of Apollo, therefore had some heavenly gifts, including being musically gifted. In this interpretation of this epic love story, Orpheus descends to the underworld as he follows Eurydice, who he is deeply in love with.
With the help of that accomplished house band, their story unfolds with the help of an exceptional narrator in Hermes. What everyone loved about this adaptation is Hades reminds you of suburban New Orleans, filled with great jazz stylings and wardrobe; perdition never looked so inviting. Conductor and pianist Nathan Koci leads the brilliant seven-piece house band, and band standouts include Audrey Ochoa and a string and horn section that brought the set to life.
In this musical, Orpheus won Eurydice’s heart with his music, only to find out the Eurydice sold her soul to Hades. In this musical, Hades is sharp, witty, and wow can he sing. The cast does a masterful job of telling the tale of this larger-than-life love story through song and dance. As for Mitchell’s jazz-folk score, it is unique and engaging. With clever lyrics and timely delivery, the music is an intrinsic part of the story.
*SPOILERS* In the end, Persephone came to the aid of the forsaken couple and convinced Hades to let the duo free of his grip. Hades relented, but there was a catch. The duo must put trust in each other and until they were out of the darkness of Hadestown, Orpheus could not gaze upon Eurydice. The couple walks through the bowels of Hades to pass the worst that life and death could throw at them, only to be separated by a technicality.
As “Hadestown” comes to a conclusion, you can’t help but feel the tragic loss and separation of the couple. Hermes closed with his overture which makes this tragic love story something we can’t help but watch so intently. Hermes closed with “It’s an old tale from way back when, and we’re going to sing it again an again.” I guess Grohl was right, it’s times like these we learn to love again!
There are a few more days you can catch this amazing musical. Get your family and friends together so you can head on down to Segerstrom to take in this celestial event. It will grab at your heart and make you feel so happy to be alive!