On Sunday, I saw two shows in Los Angeles. First up was a matinee performance of HADESTOWN, the brilliant musical by Anaȉs Mitchell and beautifully directed by Rachel Chavkin. The Tony Award winning musical is a mash-up of two mythological love stories; Hades (Kevyn Morrow) and Persephone (Kimberly Marable) combined with that of Orpheus (Nicholas Barasch) and Eurydice (Morgan Siobhan Green). Hades & Persephone is the mythological explanation for winter and summer. Hades falls in love with Persephone to such an extent that he agrees to let her live above ground for 6 months each year (Spring/Summer) before returning to the underworld for the next 6 months (Fall/Winter). Orpheus & Eurydice tells of a love so deep that Orpheus was willing to follow Eurydice all the way to hell and do whatever it took to bring her back to the living, only to have it all tragically taken away from him at the last minute. The winged messenger of the gods, Hermes (Levi Kreis), serves as the narrator and introduces us to the last three deities involved in the story, The Fates (Belen Moyano, Bex Odorisio, and Shea Renne). He explains that we tell a sad story over and over again in the eternal hope that the next time it might have a happy ending.
But this show is anything but sad. The score is a mélange of various styles including Blues and New Orleans Jazz. Every song propels the story forward and deepens our understanding of the characters involved. The set, designed by Rachel Hauck and exquisitely lit by Bradley King, with its wood floors, café tables, a band on various levels and a balcony with a wrought iron staircase leading down to the main staging area definitely brings to mind the feel of an intimate club in New Orleans.
The cast is an exceptionally strong one with not a weak link amongst them. As the doomed lovers, Ms. Green and Mr. Barasch give performances that were truly uplifting and heartfelt. As their final moments together come to an abrupt end, Mr. Barasch gives her such a pained last look, he managed to bring tears to my eyes. Mr. Morrow’s Hades, resplendent in that deep voice and majestic carriage, gives us a king who loves his people but knows how important it is to show only strength to all, save a few. Kimberly Marable as Persephone sings with a rich and welcoming voice. She makes it clear that although Persephone loves her husband she is less than enamored with his kingdom. She is an outdoorsy kind of gal after all! Her elegant black outfits blossom into the colors of spring whenever she gets a chance to go back and have 6 months of ‘living it up on top.’ When she’s onstage, it’s hard not to watch her, she is that warm and that talented. The three Fates (Moyano, Odorisio, and Renne).are frequently singing in 3 part harmony. Their voices are strong yet blend as smoothly as a glass of fine aged Port. And when they vocally become the winds, their voices are so perfectly orchestrated that the beautiful sound they make still sent shivers of danger down my spine. Brava ladies!
HADESTOWN is a great theatrical experience. If you have any interest in seeing a musical which has all creative talent and the strength to say that it is ok to be different! GO SEE IT!!!!!!! And, if you don’t have any interest in a musical like the one described, then I still say, “GO SEE IT!!!!!!
HADESTOWN runs through May 29, 2022 at the AHMANSON Theatre located at the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles. To order tickets or for more information, go to www.centertheatregroup.com or call 213-972-7211.
And now on to…