I don’t know where Hadestown came from but it seems like suddenly it’s everywhere. And everyone loves it. So, I did a bit of Googling to figure out the background of the show before going into my first listen of the 2017 cast recording. Turns out it’s a musical based on a concept album by Anaïs Mitchell from 2010 that has since had a few small runs and a live cast recording and was even on at the National Theatre recently (I’m so mad I didn’t go and see it because, spoiler, I’m now obsessed with Hadestown) before making its way to Broadway with an amazing cast.
But, what’s the story? Hadestown is a modern/modern-feeling retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. If you don’t want anymore Hadestown spoilers, I’d stop here because I’m about to have a natter about Greek mythology and the show itself now so will probably spoil the ending for you.
Are you ready for a slightly-random-and-kind-of-unrelated-but-actually-kind-of-is-related anecdote? I sure do hope so, because you’re getting one. About two weeks ago I knew very little about Greek mythology. That was before I stumbled upon a copy of Mythos. Mythos is essentially a book of Greek myths retold in a comedic style by Stephen Fry. It’s great, I’d definitely recommend it and I’ve already started his second book on Greek mythology, Heroes. But, honestly, I have no idea why I bought Mythos. It’s not the kind of thing I’d normally pick up. It’s not a novel and I don’t really read short story collections or anything similar but something made me really want to read it. As I said, I’m glad I did because I loved it and now have a new-found love and appreciation for Greek mythology.
Naturally then, when I found out Hadestown, as the title suggests, had a link to Greek mythology, I was keen to start listening. So I did. I listened to the first song of the live recording and… I didn’t really like it.
Here’s the issue I had. I’m not a big fan of jazz, it’s just not my thing and that first number (Road to Hell) is very jazzy and bluesy. I really wanted to like it but it just didn’t click with me on first listen so I stopped and that was it for a couple of days. But, then I saw Amy Lovatt (a theatre YouTuber who makes brilliant videos so if you don’t watch her, you should!) did a cover of All I’ve Ever Known and it didn’t sound jazzy at all. It just sounded nice. So I decided to give it another try.
Livin’ It Up on Top was more fun to me and I love Amber Gray from the Great Comet cast album so I enjoyed that song but it wasn’t until I listened to All I’ve Ever Known that I fell properly head-over-heels-and-walk-right-into-the-Underworld-just-to-get-tickets in love with a Hadestown song. It’s just beautiful. I have nothing else to say. I just love it and have listened to it on repeat several times.
I’m not going to go over every song in this live recording especially since it’s so fresh in my mind but here are a few further initial thoughts:
- Amber Gray is amazing and I love her voice so much, please God may I see her live one day?!
- I love chantey numbers in musicals and there’s literally a song called “Chant” so of course it’s one of ,my faves!
- Damn Patrick Page’s voice goes low in Songbird, I hope he has some throat sweets back stage with him on Broadway.
- Wait For Me is beautiful ahhhhhh and I can’t wait for the new cast recording so I can listen to the new lyrics ahhhhhh
- Ow my heart hurts. Orpheus, why? You literally had one job. Even if she didn’t follow you out you were getting out of Hades anyway, why did you turn around?!
- Hermes getting sad at having to sing the tragedy over again in Road to Hell II is almost more painful than when Orpheus looks back.
- Maybe I do like a bit of jazz and blues after all…
I just want to go way down way down to Hadestown (not literally, I think I learnt the lesson) and see this show. Why I didn’t go and see it at the National Theatre I don’t know but maybe the Broadway hype will bring it back over here soon. I did look into the cost of tickets to see it on Broadway and they were literally the same price as the flight to New York so might just park that idea for now.
ANYWAYS, the moral is listen to Hadestown. And read Mythos. Bye for now!