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Hadestown matthew murphy_crop.jpg Matthew Murphy

Monday Musings: Hadestown

I love it when an off-Broadway production transfers to Broadway…successfully! It’s a big hurdle to jump, the stakes are high, and not everyone gets out of the starting gate in a good position. But this season, one of the most talked-about shows on Broadway is Hadestown, which took quite a few twists and turns over the years to get to there.

Originally written as a folk opera—based on the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice—by Anaïs Mitchell, then developed and directed by Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown was first seen as a theatrical production at New York Theatre Workshop in 2016.

Reworked, and as Jesse Green noted in The New York Times, “What’s onstage at the Kerr is almost unrecognizably different” than what he saw in 2016, the success of Hadestown is a labor of love, with stops in Edmonton and London along the way. The producers, director, creative team, and cast have poured their hearts and souls into this one. Their reward has been reaped with the awards they have garnered already and the 14 Tony Award nominations. Let’s see what happens on Sunday night, June 9.

Green goes on in his review to laud the creative team and director: “Along the way there, Ms. Chavkin has probably come as close as anyone could to selling a cerebral downtown story as state-of-the-art Broadway entertainment. Like the sets and musical arrangements, the costumes (by Michael Krass), the lighting (by Bradley King) and the sound design (by Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz) are as good as it gets.” Rachel Huack, who designed the sets, is nominated for a Tony, as are Krass, King, Steinberg, and Paz, a sweep of nominations for the designers.

Rachel Chavkin is also nominated, as she was for her wonderful production of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, which also successfully transferred from off to on Broadway.

Producer Mara Isaacs, the founder of Octopus Theatricals, has been involved with Hadestown for about seven years, producing the 2016 version at New York Theatre Workshop and helped shepherd it to Broadway. She must be thrilled it is nominated for Best Musical, along with Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations, Beetlejuice, The Prom, and Tootsie—a group of very good, and very different musicals indeed.

Take a peek at the show here:

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