A scene from the national tour of "Hadestown" Source: T. Charles Erickson

Review: Touring 'Hadestown' Lives Up to Hype

Will Demers READ TIME: 2 MIN.

A journey to hell and back seems like a great idea for a story; indeed, it's one that has been told before, an ancient Greek myth that tells of Eurydice, a young girl looking for food and to escape the cold who meets Orpheus, a poor songwriter whose charms entice her to join him. But her hunger lead her to the industrial underworld of Hades, a king who rules his kingdom with an iron fist.

"Hadestown" was the 2019 Broadway darling that won no less than eight Tony awards, including best musical. The original cast album won a Grammy in 2020 for best musical theater album. How does the national tour hold up to such an electric reputation? Very well, indeed. This touring cast boasts musical, vocal talent followed by intricate choreographic movements that will capture your attention and hold it.

Singer-songwriter and playwright Anais Mitchell weaves an auditory feast for listeners and director Rachel Chavkin helms a visual offering of unexpected delights, complemented with choreography by David Neumann. It brings an emotional score to a story already rife with drama and tragic underpinnings. Sung beautifully, it shows the audience an imaginary, yet almost timeless, world of color, lights, and smoke, which may sound simplistic, but sometimes simpler effects can push the point home better than a slew of digital screens.

Hermes (Nathan Lee Graham, "Sweet Home Alabama," "Hitch") introduces us to this vibrant world with "Road to Hell," and Graham brings considerable gravitas to this role with bombastic vocals and theatrical flourishes. The three Fates (Dominique Kempf, Belen Moyano, and Nyla Watson) give us a chorus of delightful and emotional songs. The workers (J. Antonio Rodriguez, Lindsey Hailes, Jamal Lee Harris, Courtney Lauster, and Eddie Noel Rodriguez) embody the emotional journey of Orpheus (Jordan Bollwerk, an incredibly sweet voice that'll move you) and Eurydice (Hannah Whitley, her vocals tugging at the heartstrings).

But some of the best moments belong to Lana Gordon's Persephone, who commands the stage with a performance that could only be called fantastic, and Matthew Patrick Quinn's Hades, whose deep bass vocals embody the king of industrial hell (plus, he looks amazing in every scene). The band must be given props as well, because they clearly love this work; Mitchells southern jazzy tunes are replete with emotion and grand vocals given life by a talented group of singers. Let this musical take you to hell and back; you'll surely enjoy every moment of this journey.

"Hadestown" is running through March 26th at the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) 220 Weybosset Street, Providence RI 02903. For information or tickets call 401-421-2787 or visit www.ppacri.org .

by Will Demers

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