Last night we saw the Broadway tour of Hadestown, a musical retelling of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice (and Hades and Persephone). I'll assume my readers know (or will Google) the Greek myths, so in that sense there are no spoilers, but this show puts an interesting spin on it. Narrated by Hermes and with active participation by the Fates, we see both Orpheus and Eurydice "up above" and Hades' realm "down below", which is reached by a train. The train motif shows up in the music, the staging, and (I kid you not) the lighting. The company is smaller than many musicals and put to effective use. I enjoyed the music and don't have a good way to describe it.
Eurydice's and Oprheus's world is harsh from climate change, the program notes, though I might have missed that specific angle otherwise. Orpheus is focused on writing a song that will bring the world back into balance, but it's slow going. In this version Eurydice isn't bitten by a poisonous snake; starving and cold in the midst of winter and unable to find work, she is lured to Hadestown by promises of work and shelter. But the workers there toil away in misery in a factory, building fortifications for Hades' domain. ("Why We Build the Wall" resonates well beyond this show, I assume by design.) When Orpheus shows up to rescue Eurydice, the other workers are taking note too. Meanwhile, Persephone, whose marriage with Hades is rather rocky (shall we say), is also taking note of the power of love.
The story is a tragedy; we know it from the myth and we're told so by Hermes in the introductory stanzas of the show. But it has a positive vibe, too. I don't want to say more about that for people who haven't seen it yet.
Orpheus's music calls for falsetto in some key places -- whole passages, not just a note or two -- and the actor in this production pulled it off very smoothly. At the other end of that, uh, scale, I find myself wanting to catch a glimpse of the score, because Hades has some very low bass notes, also performed well in this production. C2 maybe???
I don't see a lot of Broadway-class shows so maybe this is normal, but I was very impressed by the staging and especially the lighting. There's one set, used throughout, that evokes the different settings just through the movements of small items (by cast members, not gophers) and changes of lighting. The lighting in this show is very active; I commented to Dani that the lighting operators deserved cast credit. It's that integral to the show, and it's not a small effort. One warning, though: there are strobe effects, and there were times when lights were pointed at the audience for brief periods.
There were some sound problems in the show we saw -- engineering problems, not cast problems. When things got loud, they spiked the levels and we got some distortion, making it hard to hear the lyrics in a few places. I'm told by somebody who sees a lot of shows there that this is not uncommon in that venue (Benedum Center), alas.
I enjoyed the show, even with those sound issues. I wasn't familiar with the show and hadn't heard the soundtrack before seeing it; this was very much an "I've heard good things about it" outing.