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Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

“Hadestown” Comes to Boston!

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On the road to Hell there was a railroad line…

If you ride that train to the end of the line,

Where the sun don’t shine,

And it’s always shady,

It’s there you’ll find the king of the mine,

All mighty Mister Hades!

          – Hermes, “Road To Hell”

We followed the road to Hell and went down to see “Hadestown” at the Boch Center Wang Theater in Boston!  Hadestown intertwines the  love stories of Orpheus and Eurydice, and of Hades and Persephone. Eurydice was just a hungry girl who stumbled upon Orpheus, a singer-songwriter who was determined to bring spring back with a powerful melody. Eurydice sold her soul to Hades, the King of the Underworld, to work down in the mines. Orpheus followed her down to bring her back to the land of the living.  Before he could do so, Hades ordered Orpheus to sing his song of spring.  Hades allows Orpheus and Eurydice to make the journey back to the world where the flowers bloom, but not without testing their trust in each other along the way.

In 2006, Hadestown made its debut in a theater in Barre, Vermont.  The writer, Anaïs Mitchell, originally from Vermont, made the musical into a “folk-opera” studio album shortly after its debut. After a year, the production was moved to a theater in Somerville, Massachusetts, then back again to Vermont. Thirteen years later, on April 17, 2019, Hadestown made its Broadway debut at the Walter Kerr Theater, where it still is today. The original cast included Reeve Carney as Orpheus, Eva Noblezada as Eurydice, Patrick Page as Hades, Amber Gray as Persephone, and André De Shields as Hermes.  The show was directed by Mitchell and Rachel Chavkin. Both Mitchell and Chavkin won Tony awards for their work on Hadestown, overall it had 14 nominations, winning eight of them. The most impressive of all, was their win for Best Musical.

Orpheus almost didn’t make it to the show. J. Antonio Rodriguez, playing Orpheus, immigrated to Ardmore, Oklahoma from Mexico at a very young age.  He has yet to get citizenship in America but was protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA. Though recently DACA has been underperforming. Rodriguez had not had his permission to be a part of the country renewed for three months, which wouldn’t allow him to continue performing as Orpheus. On March 13 of this year, Rodriguez was no longer allowed to participate in anything with Hadestown until he was renewed. Thankfully his status was, and he could continue his role on April 16. He can continue to work for two more years before having to renew again.  Rodriguez made history with his first performance in Hadestown as Orpheus, being the first Latinx and Indigenous actor to play the role. Hopefully, he can continue his success and performance as Orpheus for as long as he can.   

J. Antonio Rodriguez performing “Wait For Me” with the choreographed lights!

Amaya Braganza (Eurydice) is a powerhouse.  The Filipino-American actress began her stage debut on Broadway at the humble age of 10 in Annie.  Shortly after the closing of the show, she joined The King and I.  Braganza is currently completing her college career at Fordham University and writing and releasing with her sisters in their group, The Braganza Sisters.  This does not stop her from putting on a show-stopping performance of Hadestown’s leading lady.  Lana Gordon is no stranger to Persephone.  She replaced Amber Gray in 2022 and has since joined the national tour.  And she’s no stranger to Broadway, either.  She was a part of the original cast of The Lion King and is well-known in the Broadway community for her performance as Velma Kelly in Chicago.   Matthew Patrick Quinn played the King of the Underworld, Hades.  To describe Quinn’s appearance, there is only one adjective, lanky.  This guy is skinny, standing at least six feet tall.  Quinn towers over Gordon, adding another dynamic level to Hades and Persephone’s troubled romance.   Will Mann embraced the role of Hermes effortlessly, engaging with the audience as he narrated the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. Originally, Mann played the understudy for Hermes, who was played by Levi Kreis in 2021.  Shannon got to see Mann play Hermes when she saw it and was excited to see that he hadn’t left the production.

Lily (left) and Shannon (right) standing in front of the promotional poster. (Courtesy of: Shannon’s mom)

This was Lily’s first time seeing Hadestown and Shannon’s second time (she saw it when the tour came to Boston in 2021).  Both of us were excited to see it, and not at all surprised by how amazing it was. Each actor charmed the audience in their own way, even breaking down the fourth wall occasionally. The blues-like music made the audience tap their feet and when paired with the choreography, the audience couldn’t help but dance in their seats a little. Lily’s favorite song was during Act I, “Any Way the Wind Blows,” mostly because of the beautiful harmonies sung by Eurydice and the Fates.  Shannon’s favorite song was “Wait For Me” because of the revolving stage and the choreography of the lights (yes, the lights were choreographed).  Her other favorite song was “Why We Build The Wall.”  Every Hades actor has to hit an impressively low G1, three lines below the bass staff line in multiple songs.  Matthew Patrick Quinn did this with ease (Shannon has concluded that he would play a good Javier in Les Misérables).  Quinn’s vocals dabbled in both tenor and baritone notes in “Why We Build The Wall,”, introducing the first scene in The Underworld, and closing out the first act. 

A lot happens in Act II.  Unfortunately, this is one of the shows where you cannot say too much without giving the ending away.  Believe us, we spent a half hour cooped up in Shannon’s room, trying to figure out how to write about the ending of the show without giving anything away.  Unrelated to the ending, we can say this much: we were amazed by Lana Gordon’s vocals.  Particularly when she belted a 15-second note while bending backward during “Our Lady of the Underground,” another awesome song (there are bootlegs online, we highly suggest finding one to listen to.  Shannon has watched the same bootleg at least twenty times already).  We are not going to say what happened towards the end, but the silence in the audience was deafening.  You could hear the doors of the train car closing; it was surreal.  Maybe the suspense that we leave you in will encourage you to catch a last-minute show before the Hadestown production puts on its final performance in Boston on April 28th and heads to New Haven, Connecticut (though that isn’t too far).

The sung-through musical will leave the audience singing the tunes for days on end and raising their cups to “an old, old, tale from way back when / And [they’re] gonna sing it again and again.”  


To the world we dream about!

And the one we live in now…

          – Orpheus, “Livin’ It Up On Top”

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  • C

    Chele BernerApr 26, 2024 at 9:19 am

    I heard this show was pretty good. You really did some research and your article was very informative and interesting. GREAT JOB!!!!!

    • S

      Shannon RaneriApr 26, 2024 at 9:29 am

      Thank you! You should check it out – you’ll thank me later.