Review: Get on Down to HADESTOWN at Broadway Sacramento

The Train Runs Underground Through September 24th

By: Sep. 21, 2023
Review: Get on Down to HADESTOWN at Broadway Sacramento

The ancient Greek tale of Orpheus and Eurydice has been retold in many ways. In literature, music, art, and film, their doomed love story is among the most well-known Greek myths. Really, who can resist a Greek tragedy? Its most recent reimagination, in the form of Hadestown, began as a concept album by its creator, Anaïs Mitchell. When it premiered on Broadway in 2019, it received rave reviews and took home eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. Now, it’s here with Broadway Sacramento to take you on a ride to the hottest place around, Hadestown.

In a gorgeously sensual meld of New Orleans jazz club meets steampunk, the music of Hadestown combines with a functional set of mechanical artistry by Rachel Hauck that only needs a touch of Bradley King’s magical lighting design to transform a dystopian city into the lower levels of hell. The emcee of the evening is the fabulously flashy psychopomp, Hermes. Played by the completely mesmerizing Nathan Lee Graham, this messenger to the underworld serves up narration and obscure advice with pizzazz and a memorable voice. The objects of his guidance, Eurydice (Hannah Whitley) and Orpheus (J. Antonio Rodriguez), are typically young people who must learn their lessons the hard way. While it is love at first sight for Orpheus, Eurydice doesn’t seem to reciprocate his feelings, as she flees to the warmth of the underworld at the first sign of seasonal discomfort. As she signs her soul to Hades, it’s apparent that she thinks of Orpheus more as a good buddy...until he comes to the rescue. Orpheus, in his simplicity, soothes the soul of Hades through song and earns the chance to lead Eurydice from the pits of hell. Both Whitley and Rodriguez are talented, and each dazzling in their respective solos (“Epic II,” “Flowers”), but their attraction needs to be developed a bit more. In the first act, they seem like strangers in an arranged marriage but, by the time Orpheus reaches Hades, they forge a connection. More believable are Persephone (Maria-Christina Oliveras) and Hades (Matthew Patrick Quinn), whose repartee is reminiscent of an old married couple who are sick of each other’s habits. Oliveras is a powerhouse, belting out her alcoholic woes and longing for spring in “Our Lady of the Underground.” It’s the antithesis of Hades’ ode to his underground sweatshop and the power he enjoys wielding, Grinch-like, over his laborers. “Hey, Little Songbird” and “Why We Build the Wall” both allude to the power of capitalism and the us vs. them attitude that is prevalent in our society. Just take a look around, and we know all too well that “the enemy is poverty.” Rounding out the principals are the Marie Laveau-esque Fates (Dominique Kempf, Belén Moyano, Nyla Watson), who act as a devil-on-your-shoulder throughout the show, highlighting what can (and often does) go wrong.

Perhaps my favorite part of Hadestown is the orchestra. Situated on the stage, I first thought the musicians were scenery in a Big Easy bar. They are fully integrated into the show and carry the spirit of the entire score on their very capable shoulders. In the post-apocalyptic feel of Hadestown, the music is welcome as is the message that, despite the outcome, we would choose to experience love over and over again. Love will always be lost, but we would miss the joy of the journey if we chose to avoid it. Hermes tells us, “It’s a sad song but we sing it know how it ends and still begin to sing it again.” You should choose to see this story again, as well, and experience the thrilling ride that is Hadestown.

Hadestown plays at Broadway Sacramento through September 24th. Tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at (916) 557-1999, or at the Box Office at 1419 H Street in Sacramento.

Photo credit: T. Charles Erickson

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From This Author - Courtney Symes

Courtney Symes is a long-time theatre aficionado who has been writing for BroadwayWorld since 2017. She has been active in theatre and youth organizations in her community. After trying law schoo... Courtney Symes">(read more about this author)


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