‘Hadestown’ captivates Greek myth perfectly

COSTA MESA, Calif. (News4usonline) – Excitement filled the audience as the lights dimmed on the opening night of Broadway’s Tony and Grammy award-winning musical, Hadestown, at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa.

Hermes, played by Levi Kreis, stepped downstage right. The sole light shimmered off his silver suit as he tapped his umbrella until the audience was silent.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Hadestown – Morgan Siobhan Green and Chibueze Ihuoma and Company, North American Tour. Photo by Kevin Berne

A Dixieland jazz trombone melody set the tone. Hermes and the chorus joined in, whisking the audience away on a train. Then he began his story. His voice mesmerized the audience like the Pied Piper’s hypnotic flute as he began the story of Orpheus and Eurydice.

The character introductions in Hermes’ song gave way to a macro view of the company and the set:

  • the synchronistic movements of the musical instrument wielding Fates (Belén Moyano, Bex Odorisio, Shea Renne) in their varying grey and black layered costumes,
  • the second-floor balcony overlooking the Hadestown version of the famous New Orleans music venue, Preservation Hall, with the dapper, darkly dressed Hades, played by Kevyn Morrow, and the bright green floral dress of the impatient, fan-waving Persephone, played by Kimberly Marable,
  • the center stage street café seating of the Workers (Jordan Bollwerk, Lindsey Hailes, Courtney Lauster, Eddie Noel Rodríguez, Jamari Johnson Williams, Marquis Wood),
  • with the upstage right and left costumed orchestra members balancing out the scene.

Hermes, the Fates, and the Workers continue with the trials and tribulations of Eurydice, played by Morgan Siobhan Green, and then introduce Orpheus. The audience collectively gasped at the golden voice of newcomer, Chibueze Ihuoma.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Hadestown – North American Tour. Photo by Kevin Berne

I noticed many around me, mouths agape, hanging on every lilting note of the production’s fourth Orpheus, and found myself wondering how any other could fit the role of the charming, talented Muse’s son more perfectly.

He provided great hope and made it easy to believe that he could write the song to heal the broken world as he so beautifully sang, “If no one takes too much, there will always be enough.”

The dream-like scene, characters, and mythic musical script intertwined seamlessly. The use of the multi-directional spinning stage, stadium-tiered set, vertical-opening rear stage door, and moving cast and orchestra members were used to perfection to facilitate, at times accentuate, travel to and from the underworld, the various functions of the workers, and the journeys of Eurydice and Orpheus, Hades and Persephone.

The lighting, while fittingly dim, was masterfully orchestrated on a fixed curtain set to highlight the stories of old and new love, the difficult journeys that we all walk, and that hope can set you free.

The score, reminiscent of a French Quarter second-line parade, will have any theatre-goer dancing out of the venue. The tour finished its run at the Segerstrom Center on August 21 and then will move east across the country before finishing back in the west at the San Francisco Orpheum Theatre in September 2023.

Dates and details can be found at https://hadestown.com/tour. The Segerstrom Center Broadway season will host Hamilton from September 28-October 16, 2022, and Moulin Rouge! The Musical from November 9-27, 2022. Details and tickets can be found at https://www.scfta.org/default.aspx.

Featured Image Caption: Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Hadestown – Morgan Siobhan Green and Chibueze Ihuoma and Company, North American Tour. Photo by Kevin Berne