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'The story is so universal': Chibueze Ihuoma previews Hadestown

December 6, 2021
<p>Hadestown National Tour 9/30/21. Photo courtesy of T Charles Erickson. tcharleserickson@photoshelter.com</p>

Hadestown National Tour 9/30/21. Photo courtesy of T Charles Erickson. tcharleserickson@photoshelter.com

The hit musical Hadestown will be making a stop at the Wharton Center from Dec. 7-12.

The Tony Award-winning show combines Greek mythology and different genres of music including jazz and blues to tell the story of Orpheus and his quest to rescue his lover Eurydice from the underworld.

Chibueze Ihuoma, who plays one of the workers in the underworld and is the understudy for Orpheus, is excited for people to see their Wharton Center performance and said the show is more relevant than ever. 

“The story is so universal,” he said. “The themes of the story of finding someone that you love so deeply and so dearly and then seeing different characters grapple with what it means to be in love ... that sense of desperation you might feel when that person isn’t right near you.”

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After nearly two years of social distancing due to a worldwide pandemic, people can relate to that sense of longing.

“The world is starting to come to terms with finding a way to navigate COVID and still remain open after coming from 18 months plus of being alone in your house at some point and how that can sometimes push you away from the people you love and that can lead into a sense of loneliness,” Ihuoma said. “I think anyone who comes to see the show will see an aspect of their lives and the relationships they cherish reflected in the characters.” 

In addition to the relevant themes and storylines, the musical also has Tony Award-winning music, having won in 2019 for Best Original Score. Ihuoma said the musical numbers help advance the plot by portraying the complex relationships between the characters through lyrics and instrumentals.

“Music often draws parallels between characters,” he said. “'Wedding Song' is one of the first songs Orpheus and Eurydice are with each other and singing and are kind of playful with each other and then you get into the 'Chant' one when we first see Hades and Persephone are interacting in the underworld. The music there is a weird twisted version of 'Wedding Song,' just in terms of the melodic structure of it.”

“In 'Chant,' Hades and Persephone are not connected at all,” Ihuoma said. “They use the music to kind of show this juxtaposition.”

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Shows like these can touch people through their stories and music and Ihuoma said he is fortunate to create something for audiences that can produce such emotion and self-reflection. 

“The fact that they get to come into the theater and experience this wonderful love story and leave with their heart reinforced and maybe some baggage let go of,” he said. “I think that’s something really special.”

To see Ihuoma and the rest of the cast of Hadestown perform, tickets are available now for all shows Dec. 7-12 through the Wharton Center. Student tickets begin at $29, and regular admission tickets begin at $39.

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