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Hadestown on Broadway - Bourbon Street bluesy folk opera’s trip to hell





Oscar E. Moore “from the rear mezzanine” for Talk Entertainment.com

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something bluesy. This about sums up the sometimes exciting, sometimes repetitive, sometimes off the track lavish sweaty and sultry production of HADESTOWN now at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

I first saw its off-Broadway incarnation at the New York Theatre Workshop in 2016. In the round. Well, three quarters. With uncomfortable chairs. But a leopard can’t change its spots.

Despite a new big budget production that really does impress with its full-of-surprises proscenium set design (Rachel Hauck) re-imagined costumes (Michael Krass) and superb lighting by Bradley King with a truckload of producers, HADESTOWN remains a pseudo-poetic, melodramatic, edging toward pretentious story looking for a score that satisfies.

The music is a combination of New Orleans jazz, blues, calypso and ragtime that is performed by on stage band that is excellent. The lyrics are mundane when you can understand them. Sound design by Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz could be improved upon.

The slight plot ambles along aided by narrator Hermes (a game Andre De Shields) who is slick and gets the job done along with three Fates – a Greek Chorus combo: Jewelle Blackman, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer and Kay Trinidad who are excellent weaving in and out, teasing and beguiling somewhat akin to The Pointer Sisters.

Loosely based on the borrowed Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice Anais Mitchell has supplied us with Music, Lyrics & Book that along with director and co-developer Rachel Chavkin have kept this train chugging along since its birth as a sixty minute album in 2010.

Here we have some improvement in the casting of the title characters. Reeve Carney is the naïve guitar strumming poet Orpheus who falls head over heels in love with Eva Noblezada as the “hungry” Eurydice. They at least connect with one another in this doomed love affair. Her voice is strong and Mr. Carney does well with the high almost counter tenor notes he is called forth to emit in an almost other worldly voice.

But then Hades, ruler of the Underworld has to interfere and screw up everything. Literally and figuratively. Patrick Page – he of the basso profundo voice that may bring to mind the guy that did the voice overs for many a movie trailer of the past has the hots for Eurydice despite being married to Persephone (Amber Gray) Goddess of the seasons and has built a WALL (that has ears) to keep out the enemies and to keep him totally in charge.

Persephone, long suffering wife of Hades, is understandably unhappy. And so she drinks a lot and hams it up at times gyrating in the extreme.

David Newman has created new choreography that is more masculine primal movement that is very exciting to watch especially headed by Atlas lookalike Timothy Hughes. You can add sexy and hot into the brew.

Fast paced it is except when what story there is bogs down in Act II and HADESTOWN begins to be a noticeably long day’s journey into hell and almost back as Orpheus attempts to bring his beloved Eurydice up from the dark to a better world.

2 hrs 30 minutes. One intermission.

www.hadestown.com

Photo: Matthew Murphy

Visit www.oscaremoore.com for additional photos


  
04-21-19