The hit Broadway musical Hadestown returns to the Paramount for a quick run, following its red-hot first visit to Seattle on last year’s tour. It runs through this Sunday.
The epic Hadestown, a sung-through original musical that made its Broadway debut in 2019, takes a different approach to musical storytelling than the usual show. (See NWT’s preview here.)
Creator Anaïs Mitchell is a singer-songwriter of folk songs, not musical theatre — Hadestown was her first musical — which might explain its different approach. Hadestown’s songs are layered and compelling; they tell a story within the songs themselves, before they even take stage. Of course the staging, directed by Rachel Chavkin, with outstanding design work by Rachel Hauck (scenic), Michael Krass (costume), and Bradley King (lighting), and an excellent lineup of performers, including a full on-stage band, was standout, too.
In naming last year’s version the outstanding touring show of the year, I noted: “If it’s possible to win Best Musical and seven other Tony Awards (among 14 nominations) and still be underrated, that is Hadestown. It’s magnificent.”
In its latest tour, in Seattle now, much of that magic is still evident — it’s a compelling story with great music and design. But unlike last year’s tour stop here, the pieces aren’t quite meshing yet. Seattle’s opening night show, on Halloween, felt more like a preview. The sound moderation wasn’t right, with the on-stage instruments slinking into the background, frequently overpowered by the off-stage drums, and out-thundered by a too-amped Hades (Matthew Patrick Quinn). Choreography was tight but stiff. Lead Orpheus, performed that night by Colin Lemoine as understudy, didn’t pack a voice up to the challenge throughout the first act (but did sound much better during the second), and fell short on the charmingly naive and awkward personality which “Come Home With Me” (among others) really needs to hit home. The crescendo of the first act, “Wait For Me,” fell flat.
That’s not to say the show was without its highlights, most of which came in the second act. Lana Gordon’s Persephone ripped out a booming “Our Lady of the Underground” to kick off that second half. “Wait For Me (reprise)” was much more gripping than the first go. The full-cast “Chant (reprise)” and “Epic III” came together beautifully. The Fates (Marla Louissaint, Lizzie Markson, and Hannah Schreer), who harmonize wonderfully, were a prominent hit in the rougher first act.
Whether you missed its journey here last time or want to catch it again, Hadestown‘s compelling tale is here only through Sunday. Just don’t expect quite the same show as last year’s.
Hadestown runs through 11/5 at the Paramount Theatre, in Downtown Seattle. Tickets ($63.50+) here. Accessibility notes: main restrooms downstairs and upstairs are gendered and multi-stall, with gender-neutral, single-stall restroom on the main floor. Theatre and some common areas are wheelchair accessible. ASL-interpreted and audio-described performance at 11/5 matinee; open-captioned performance 11/5 evening.
Run time: 2 hours 30 minutes, with intermission.
Chase D. Anderson is Editor & Producer of NWTheatre.org.