Friday, August 12, 2022

Hadestown blows away audiences at the Wharton Center

December 23, 2021
Hadestown National Tour 9-30-21
Photograph © T Charles Erickson
Hadestown National Tour 9-30-21 Photograph © T Charles Erickson —

The Hadestown national tour made a stop at the Wharton Center this week, and while the show was critically-acclaimed in the past award season, it went above and beyond the expectations of the audience waiting to go "Way Down" to Hadestown.

The Tony Award-winning musical takes inspiration from Greek mythology to tell the story of Orpheus and his quest to rescue his lover Eurydice from the Underworld and its ruler, King Hades. This epic is told by a blend of pop, folk, jazz and country music.

Some of the stand-out performances came from certain songs or certain actors on the stage. One fan favorite was Persephone, the goddess of harvest and the queen of the Underworld, ruling with King Hades, yet also being at odds with him throughout the show.

"Persephone had a good energy on the stage," audience member Vivian Marshall said.

The most popular songs like "Wait for Me" also made the audience feel the real emotion and message of the show, many audience members said.

"I liked the singing and the harmonies, as well as the interpretation of this old Greek myth," Marshall said.

The show displays lots of themes throughout, depicting not only the story of lovers, but a story on trust between the people you are closest to. This idea of trusting one another and uniting together under one power to fight for a certain cause like breaking the barriers between human nature and cold, hard industry seems to be more relevant than ever, Marshal said.


There are also political undertones in Hadestown. According to a HuffPost article, "Why We Build the Wall" has one of the most overt message in the show, speaking on the illusory idea of protecting freedom by creating the exact opposite: a wall.

The idea behind going to the underground surrounded by a wall in the show is to prove that some people will give up their life for a sense of security and steady finances in the fake setting of Hadestown, according to the article.

Audience members also picked up other messages in the show, such as planetary concerns with the basis of the loss of changing seasons in the basis of the story.

"There's a strong environmental message in (the show)," audience member Emma Constantino said. "Climate change really contributes to the start of the story."

While some audience members may have walked in blind to the themes, some like mother and long-time theater lover, Maggie Johnson, went to see Hadestown to share her love of the show and theater with her kids for the first time.

“We have listened to the soundtrack on repeat probably for a year straight so to be able to see the story, instead of just hear it, has been really great,” Johnson said.

Johnson said she was also anxious to see how the shocking ending would play out in person, even if she had heard the plot before.

The most important piece of the show to many theater-goers was not the singing, the plot, or even the show itself; it was being able to get back inside the Wharton Center to enjoy live theater.


"To be back for another Broadway tour has been really special,” Johnson said.

Hadestown is a special show that dedicates its performances to the people who dream and fight against the odds to reach those they love, telling the audience to "Raise Our Cups" to the people close to us, optimism, and continuing to see the world for what it could be, not what it is.

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