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Review: HADESTOWN at The Paramount Theatre

Review: HADESTOWN at The Paramount Theatre

This Tony Award winning fable is a must see!

Review: HADESTOWN at The Paramount Theatre
Chibueze Ihuoma and company in the
Hadestown North American Tour.
Photo credit: Kevin Berne

Dear Readers, every now and again something comes through town that takes musical theater to a whole new level. The Tony Award winner for Best Musical "Hadestown", currently playing at the Paramount Theatre is one of those shows. And sadly, even with its Tony win, too few people know about it. Let's try and correct that shall we?

For the story you need not look any further than the ancient legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, two young lovers who tried to defy death. Orpheus (Chibueze Ihuoma) is a young man with a gift for music, no surprise since he's the son of a God and a Muse. And Orpheus meets Eurydice (Morgan Siobhan Green) and young woman who's been through hard times. They fall in love, but Orpheus becomes obsessed with a song he's writing that will bring back Persephone (Kimberly Marable) and the spring, so he doesn't notice Eurydice being swept up in a storm and dying. She's lured into the underworld by Hades (Kevyn Morrow) with promises of a better afterlife. So, Orpheus must travel to Hadestown to try and get her back.

Review: HADESTOWN at The Paramount Theatre
Kimberly Marable and company in the
Hadestown North American Tour.
Photo credit: T Charles Erickson

The show has everything a good Greek myth should have. A lively narrator in the guise of Hermes (Levi Kreis) and of course those mysterious Fates (Bex Odorisio, and a couple of outstanding understudies with Sydney Parra and Lindsey Hailes) wafting their way around the stage. But this myth is not told with sweeping togas or towering stone columns. The fantastic set design from Rachel Hauck puts us more in a timeless realm but akin to a gritty mining town and tavern. Perfectly complemented by the lighting from Bradley King, the tone of the piece brings in a dark and spooky yet enticing and sexy world especially when matched with the stunning costumes from Michael Krass. But it's all brought together to support the very bluesy, New Orleans Jazz, folksy style of music from Music, Lyrics, and Book writer Anaïs Mitchell. Mitchell's telling of this ancient tale is really what sets it apart from any other rendition or from typical musical theatre. The haunting melodies are pervasive throughout the show with songs that not only move the story along and stick with you long after you leave but also lend this gritty tale an air of fun and romance mixed into the tragedy. If for no other reason, this score is why you want to see this one. But there are so many other reasons as the staging from Rachel Chavkin and choreography from David Neumann are unsurpassed.

Review: HADESTOWN at The Paramount Theatre
Kevyn Morrow and Morgan Siobhan Green
in the Hadestown North American Tour.
Photo credit: T Charles Erickson

And then there's this cast. Right from the top Kreis as our narrator has us in the palm of his hand. Definitely his own spin on the role as he's much different from the original Broadway Hermes but no less wonderful. His voice, his moves, and that sly grin are what makes him incredible and (no big shocker) a Tony winner as well (as the original Jerry Lee Lewis in "Million Dollar Quartet"). Morrow and Marable as the tumultuous otherworldly married couple, Hades and Persephone, have oodles of chemistry between them and their performances were fabulous. Morrow brings in a sultry bass to the lord of the underworld making him dangerous and yet oh so appealing. And Marable could not be livelier with that spark of joy that she infused throughout.

The aforementioned Fates brought in a mystical sultriness all their own. And the ensemble cast must be some of the hardest working people in theater as they rarely leave and run the gamut of characters and do it with aplomb. And I must mention the insanely talented band that blew the roof off the joint and then some.

But the show revolves around those lovers and I'm happy to say, they blew me away. I was fortunate enough to see this one on Broadway and as good as it was, Green and Ihuoma I feel were better. Each brings in their own distinct character to the roles yet still have those opposites mesh with each other beautifully. And each of them has killer voices. I especially need to call out Ihuoma whose vocal range seems to be from the Gods as he effortlessly traverses the highs and lows of this piece. And his eager and lovestruck yet clueless Orpheus was so expressive and adorable that we couldn't help but root for him.

This is, plain and simple, one of those shows that manages every single aspect of the production perfectly. Sets, costumes, lighting, performances and of course the show itself all top notch creating what I like to call "Theatrical Alchemy". And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give the National Tour of "Hadestown" at the Paramount Theatre a Godly WOW. With a way too short run, you may miss this one. But do your best to catch it. And if not, I pray to those Gods that it comes back soon.

"Hadestown" performs at the Paramount Theatre through July 17th. For tickets or information visit them online at www.stgpresents.org.




From This Author - Jay Irwin

         Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Jay has been a theater geek for years.  He attends as many shows as he can around the country and loves taking in new exciting... (read more about this author)


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