“Hadestown” at Seattle’s Paramount Theater makes a powerful argument for how art can change the world

theater overview

Can artwork actually change the world? You would be hard-pressed to discover a extra fascinating debate in regards to the potential of artwork than a ‘Hadestown’ present Till July 17 On the Paramount Theatre. “Hadestown,” that includes music, lyrics, and e book by Anaïs Mitchell, takes the parable of Orpheus and Eurydice and units up dialogues about capitalism, local weather change, and the power of artwork to steer us to a greater world. Nevertheless, the problem is identical for the handfuls and dozens of accounts of this legend: How do you cope with the inevitability of the sequence’ tragic finish?

The essential delusion of Orpheus and Eurydice is pretty easy. Orpheus and Eurydice are in love. Eurydice results in the underworld the place Hades and Orpheus go to save lots of her. Hades agrees to let her depart, however provided that she follows Orpheus and Orpheus makes her come out fully from the underworld with out turning round. It’s a take a look at of confidence – the idea that his love continues to be behind him all the best way. It’s a take a look at that, retelling after retelling, Orpheus fails. What distinguishes “Hadestown” is that not solely does it achieve constructing the idea in its viewers that this inevitable downfall is just not truly assured, however it additionally reveals that on this heart-wrenching place, it will possibly additionally stay as much as inspiration and hope.

2019 Tony Award successful Greatest Musical Movie transforms Orpheus into greater than only a particular person striving to rescue his love from the depths of the underworld. Right here, Hades turns into an alternative choice to capitalist leaders, the king of oil and coal who guarantees to construct a wall to protect the liberty of those that work for him and maintain their enemies away. These enemies, within the eyes of Hell, are those that stay in poverty. He provides Eurydice a tempting deal, an escape from an inexhaustible chilly winter, and an limitless seek for meals and heat introduced on by local weather change. This musical (which truly began in 2006 earlier than its world premiere in New York in 2016) questions the liberty that capitalism supplies and the best way society condemns these dwelling in poverty.

Even writing that makes “Hadestown” appear heavier than you’re feeling whereas watching it. The credit score goes to director Rachel Chafkin and the design workforce behind the musical. “Anticipate Me,” sung by Orpheus on his technique to the underworld, could also be probably the most wonderful musical numbers I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. (I do not say it frivolously, particularly with Hamilton coming into city the place one in every of his former favorites seems within the double whammy of “helpless” and “glad.” Coal miners’ group, transportable lanterns and swinging lamps hanging from the rafters. Add to that Rachel Hauck’s intelligent set and good choreography by David Newman and you will have technical marvels executed to perfection by this forged.

“Hadestown” is a kind of reveals the place the forged is having a lot enjoyable that you simply virtually need to soar on stage and be a part of them. “Livin’ it Up on Prime,” a quantity that includes Persephone (Kimberly Marable) wearing vivid inexperienced in opposition to the muted colours of the group round her, many within the viewers crowded into their seats. Her counterpart, Kevin Morrow as Hades, sings low bass within the seductive and sinister tune “Hey, Little Songbird” whereas attempting to lure Eurydice (Morgan Siobhan Inexperienced) into the underworld.

However within the middle is a superb efficiency by Chibueze Ihuoma as Orpheus. After Orpheus made his approach via Hades’ wall into the underworld, he sang, “I sang a really stunning tune that wept stones and let me in.” It solely takes one tune to take heed to Ihuoma’s candy lie to know why. However what this complete music boils right down to is what Orpheus sings subsequent: “And I can sing to us at residence once more.”

Everyone knows the tip of this legend. Nevertheless, at that second, I fully believed in him. Over the course of “Hadestown,” Orpheus has was a revolutionary whose phrases and songs can change the world. They make stones weep, they carry the employees of Hades out of their industrial trance, they even handle to calm the coldest hearts of the capitalists of Hades. When it comes Orpheus’ time to steer Eurydice out of the underworld, he’s now not only a hope for his or her future collectively, it’s a hope for the way forward for all these Hades enslaved. Watching this hope, understanding the inevitables, is heartbreaking.

So I ended up asking myself, if Orpheus is an alternative choice to the ability of the humanities and a pacesetter able to opening and warming the eyes of the oppressors, what does he imply he’s doomed? What does that imply, in a narrative that speaks explicitly about local weather change and the perils of capitalism? After all, as a result of “Hadestown” is so precisely written, the musical has a solution to that, too. Hope is not understanding that it’s going to work, it’s understanding that even when it would not work, we are going to sing the tune once more and he’ll strive once more. Sure, Orpheus all the time fails. However perhaps, simply perhaps, subsequent time he will not. So we sing once more. We proceed to progress.


With music, lyrics and a e book by Anis Mitchell. till July 17; Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine Avenue, Seattle; vigorously inspired masks; Tickets begin at $46; 800-982-2787; stgpresent.org