Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Broadway in Tucson Review: "Hadestown"

Pulsing with entrancing rhythms, tireless choreography and heartbreakingly subtle performances, "Hadestown" seizes control of the audience and never loosens its grip throughout its 150-minute running time.

The musical, which opened on Broadway in 2019, took home eight Tony awards. The national tour was planned in short order, dazzling fans across the nation with its ragtime blues-infused take on "Orpheus and Eurydice."

Carried by Anais Mitchell's inspired book and lyrics, "Hadestown" thrives on its brilliant cast. In the lead roles are golden-voiced Nicholas Barasch as Orpheus and vulnerable yet fierce Morgan Siobhan Green as Eurydice. Their star-crossed romance is the focal point of the drama, with Orpheus vowing to change the seasons with his voice and retrieve his fleeting love from damnation.

Levi Kreis is an affable emcee as the quick-witted, game show-style narrator Hermes, and looming ever large in the background is the booming voice of Kevyn Morrow, who inhabits Hades with a blistering fire. His weakness is his pompous, overbearing bride, Persephone, played with sass and flair by Kimberly Marable.

Even though the show may be padded out with two or three more songs per act than it truly needs to tell its story, it manages to crank out a succession of toe-tapping bangers. Highlights include "Way Down Hadestown," "Road to Hell" and "When the Chips Are Down."

The latter comes courtesy of the diva trio of Fates (Belen Moyano, Bex Odorisio and Shea Renne), whose sprightly lyrics taunt and mock the lead characters. The playful interaction between the actors seems genuine and vibrant. These performers truly feel each others' vibes and channel their characters with inspired empathy.

A remarkable feat of passion and ecstacy, "Hadestown" drives home its themes with a relentless momentum of a fever dream. Its descent into hell unearths heavenly epiphanies.

"Hadestown" plays through April 17 at Centennial Hall. Purchase tickets here.

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