Members say: Great singing, Great staging, Absorbing, Original, Enchanting

About the show

New York Theatre Workshop presents a folk opera based on the 'Orpheus' myth using songs from Anaïs Mitchell's concept album of the same name.

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Set in a post-apocalyptic America, this sung-through musical chronicles Orpheus' mythical quest to overcome Hades and regain the favor of his one true love, Eurydice. We travel from wide open plains where love and music aren't enough to sustain the residents, down to Hadestown, an industrialized world of mindless labor and full stomachs. Inspired by traditions of classic American folk music and vintage New Orleans jazz, Mitchell's beguiling melodies and poetic imagination pit nature against industry, faith against doubt, and love against death. Directed by Obie Award-winner Rachel Chavkin.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Epoch Times

“Tightly directed by Rachel Chavkin, who helped develop the piece, one feels literally a part of the story from beginning to end...The score, ranging from ballads to bluegrass, is brilliant...Page turns in a bravura performance as Hades, and Gray is wonderful as Persephone. Her performance captures both the exuberance of a bird in a flight and one trapped in a cage...With a story of love, loss, and rebirth both timeless and universal, ‘Hadestown’ makes for a totally thrilling experience.” Full Review

Stage Buddy

"Put a great Greek myth together with an awesome genre-spanning score plus a superb cast and you get the downtown hit 'Hadestown'…It hits with the full impact of the consequences of one fearful action…Mr. Sullivan’s stage presence is a study in 'less is more;' he is riveting and endearing as he moves the action along with his blues-tinged vocals, sometimes pulling out a harmonica to wail upon…The lyrics are chilling and familiar in this election year. 'Hadestown' is not to be missed!" Full Review

90.7 WFUV

"I wouldn't change a thing about this practically perfect production...The superb cast is blessed with talent and attitude...Anais is fortunate to have entrusted the direction to Rachel Chavkin, who has a clear vision for the material...The action is immersive, with the cast sinuously moving in and out of the audience, which surrounds the small stage. As a result, you're carried along by the music of the sung-through production, played by an excellent onstage band." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"Anaïs Mitchell’s 'Hadestown' is a faithful retelling of this epic myth with a deep connection to the present and the plight of the 99 percent. Orpheus’ journey to rescue Eurydice from Hades and death and the gripping journey of the pair to the very Gates of Hell has never been more clear or more compelling...Ms. Mitchell’s scintillating 'Hadestown' quickens the deadliness of our current political maelstrom and the social ennui it so weakly attempts to address." Full Review

Broadway & Me

"Mitchell and the ever-inventive director Rachel Chavkin have transformed the song cycle into a theatrical piece that sticks close to the main storyline but they've added a down-home Louisiana vibe that is alternately sweet and peppery and deliciously satisfying...The multiracial cast is terrific, except for Damon Daunno's Orpheus who is charming but strains when his songs venture into falsetto…Best of all, however, is Chris Sullivan, who plays the world-weary narrator Hermes." Full Review

Front Row Center

"A thrilling new musical…With her partner, director Rachel Chavkin and this magnificent design team and orchestra – a thing of beauty has been created. While at times it is is more concert than theatre (this was the first incarnation of the piece) the story nevertheless reaches out and grabs you in your wooden seat." Full Review


"In 'Hadestown' the old tale has been brought to fascinating, lushly staged new life…Imperative for anyone who appreciates vibrant, original musicals. While 'Hadestown' hasn't completely shed its album-concert roots, it's not overstating anything when it describes itself as a folk opera...The real star of 'Hadestown' is the music with its well blended mix of folk music, blues-y jazz and pop...The lyrics are also very smart...'Hadestown' is highly original and enjoyable." Full Review


“Chavkin has crafted a visually arresting production to match the richness of Mitchell's score...Chavkin and Mitchell enrich this ancient story in their imaginative rendering, making the characters and their relationships seem fresh and relatable...Everything about ‘Hadestown’ is designed to grab your attention and pull you into the story. Even if you are not a fan of folk music, it will be difficult to resist this tuneful and visually spectacular production.” Full Review

Time Out New York

“The stellar ensemble fills the theater with soaring harmonies, weaving in and out of the audience and the onstage band. Mitchell’s music, lush and strange and lyrically brilliant, has found its match in this cast...The one weak spot is Daunno, whose vocal and acting chops don’t stack up against his peers. Still, ‘Hadestown’ is something special, a sensory feast that’s also a passionate debate between pragmatism and romance.” Full Review


"Anais Mitchell’s remarkably diverting musical...This highly original piece has been directed with great flair by the talented Rachel Chavkin…Chavkin ensures that we are immersed fully in this captivating tale, since the cast often stands and dances before us (and even interacts with a few of us)…Mitchell’s magnificently varied score is the main attraction…More importantly, each piece of the mostly sung-through score works beautifully in this theatrical setting." Full Review

The New York Times

“A gorgeously sung, elementally spare production...The performers intermittently move through aisles in the audience, bringing an inviting intimacy to the production. It’s a smart tactic, because while its score is continually beguiling, ‘Hadestown’ might feel static were it not for Ms. Chavkin’s simple but inventive staging...Ms. Mitchell’s lovely music and well-turned lyrics are tightly bound together, and recall traditional folk music with a distinctive Southern flavor.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“What's most engaging about ‘Hadestown’ isn't the story it tells but the way it tells it -- with a barrelhouse sense of rhythm and plenty of blue notes. Under Chavkin's direction, the entire cast is in synch with the music's sassy, cynically upbeat mood, delivering each lyric with a lazy vibrato and a shrugging acknowledgement of the world's wicked ways...‘Hadestown’ delivers its tragic tale with a wink and a snap in its step." Full Review

Village Voice

"The Orpheus myth is about so much more than young love denied. And, luckily, singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and director Rachel Chavkin celebrate such depths in the delightful new folk opera 'Hadestown'...The piece infuses the familiar Greek legend with sharp-edged commentary on capitalism, exuberant songs, and a complex meditation on love....Mitchell's best songs are raucous group numbers, expanding the characters' dilemmas into playful meditations on love and hardship." Full Review


“Offers one of the most enjoyable new scores this side of ‘Hamilton’...You feel as if you've slipped into a wormhole and landed in a New Orleans jazz joint circa the 1920s...The story of Orpheus and Eurydice doesn't quite justify a two-hour show, and the second act of 'Hadestown' feels flat...Still, good luck trying to get Mitchell's infectious, down-and-dirty melodies out of your head.” Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

“The material has been given an enthralling environmental staging...Energetically sung by the powerful-voiced ensemble, the music is terrific: endlessly inventive and eclectic, as melodic as it is funky and folksy...The lyrics aren't as scintillating as the music, and the action feels overly busy at times. The dialogue can be wince-inducing...It hardly matters, thanks to the music's relentless energy and inventiveness as delivered by the crack band and terrific ensemble.” Full Review

New York Theater

“Mixes sweet and sexy folk, rocking New Orleans jazz, get-down blues and sinful soul. The eight cast members who perform the 35 songs are uniformly terrific; it’s hard to imagine anybody better. If the plot strays little from the bare-bones story of Orpheus, the songs and the staging are enough to enchant for the two-hour running time...'Hadestown' is not a traditional musical. Think of it as a concert with benefits, but don’t resist the temptation to go.” Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"'Hadestown' manages to be both simple in structure but complex in references...Most of the time the allegory works. Occasionally it is strained...It’s a talented cast, and the music is so often devilishly enticing that it is easy to forgive it some dramaturgical gaps…The love story could have used an injection of sizzle…Beautiful harmonies and evocative performances keep it from drifting too far into the didactic. Chavkin and Mitchell craft a vivid space to explore a probing political agenda." Full Review


"First recorded and performed as a concept album, the song cycle by Anaïs Mitchell is easy listening, sometimes sparkling…Director Rachel Chavkin working with terrific design talent and superb jazz-meets-country orchestrations by Michael Chorney, provides a Tiffany setting for Mitchell’s work...I didn’t weep for E&O when he blew their escape plan in the end. But maybe it’s me: The lady seated behind me, emoting heartily the show, was practically speaking in tongues by the end." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"For a show inspired by a tale dramatized in countless films, plays, and’s disappointing to see how little drama has been squeezed from it here, despite the many appealing songs and the infusion of a capitalistic exploitation theme...With its extensive use of mics, and even a section where Persephone introduces each orchestra member for applause, it's basically a well-staged concert. Judging by the warm response, however, many will have a hot time in old Hadestown tonight." Full Review

The Huffington Post

“This interestingly told and interestingly staged journey to the Underworld, alas, only occasionally hits the heights...While we have a bunch of prettyish numbers...things don’t get hot until we get the hell to Hades. The second act more thoroughly engages us and holds our attention...Fans of Mitchell’s album will likely be wowed by the piece, and the stage version is a worthy attempt at trying something different. But this visit to 'Hadestown' is not quite compelling.” Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

“A testament to the rewards that can be reaped from conceiving an approach and sticking to it no matter what. Lots of theatre claims to be immersive, but few accomplish it as totally as ‘Hadestown’ does. But for all its physical and technical brilliance, it's dull, even irritating, as an example of musical theatre writing...As with other recent stage efforts from pop artists, it has no discernible interest in telling its story on the theatrical terms.” Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

“The likelihood of enjoyment may depend on your willingness to accept that what you are watching is not in fact a musical but more of an illustrated pop concert, if a very pretty one. On the other hand, if you go in hoping for a story told through song, the traditional province of musical theater, you will be very much disappointed...Luckily the singing is generally excellent...When almost everything is narrated, the lack of variety dulls emotion and smothers the pulse." Full Review

Financial Times (UK)

"Mitchell’s version cleverly evokes the 'satanic mills' of industrialisation and the lonely romance of the railroads, but it’s not quite enough to pad out the story for two hours. As directed and co-developed by Rachel Chavkin, 'Hadestown' thus feels more like a semi-staged concert (albeit an entertaining one) than a fully developed work of musical theatre. The ending in particular fails to extract much pathos from Orpheus’s fatal backward glance." Full Review

AM New York

“Proves to be smart and romantic but dramatically underwhelming...In Mitchell’s hands, the sensitive Orpheus is too focused on playing the guitar to provide for Eurydice’s real-world needs, so she independently ventures down to an industrialized underworld...The cast is excellent and songs are either gently touching or catchy, but ‘Hadestown’ does come off as slow, undercooked and choppy, more reminiscent of a concert than a theatrical work.” Full Review

The Wrap

“What Mitchell’s music doesn’t have is much dramatic drive. Song after song gives us a glimpse into the characters’ emotional state. Rarely are we further along in the story when someone finishes singing...Mitchell the lyricist is no match for Mitchell the composer. Her wordplay is intelligent, but rarely is it inspired...Rachel Chavkin’s direction occasionally creates magnificent stage pictures, but the individual moments don’t build.” Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Ambitious, Clever, Edgy, Quirky, Great staging

See it if it finally makes a much deserved transfer to B'way. Also if you dig the inventive, thoughtful direction of Rachel Chavkin (Great Comet, SMS)

Don't see it if see it.

Clever, Intelligent, Quirky, Romantic, Great singing

See it if You want to see a wholly original musical.

Don't see it if You like more traditional musicals.

Absorbing, Enchanting, Exquisite, Resonant, Great staging

See it if you like to see something creative with wonderful music and a touching story. And you want to witness an adventure through fluid movements.

Don't see it if you have no interest in mythology or folk music.

Also This is one of the most unforgettable theatre experiences I had. It st... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Enchanting, Great music, Great singing, Transporting

See it if you enjoy folk music in general or Once in particular -- this was a fabulous show and I can't wait for the cast recording!

Don't see it if folk music is not your thing.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if Want to be challenged and kept guessing.

Don't see it if Are closed off to creative and absorbing productions.

Great acting, Riveting, Great writing, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You want to be blown away.

Don't see it if You are not interested in Southern Gothic style music.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great singing, Surprising

See it if are looking to see something different and random and want to go in blind and then be surprised by moments of unexpected brilliance

Don't see it if you don't like folky, singer-songwriter type music, you are not interested in seeing something a little different

Original, Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Great singing

See it if you know -- or would like to know -- the Orpheus myth.

Don't see it if you only like the same old, same old stuff. This is creative.

Original, Absorbing, Great acting, Quirky, Wonderful band

See it if you appreciate an intimate theater experience, a good yarn, great acting, singing, music arrangements and a truly exceptional band.

Don't see it if you're not interested in mythology, theater in the round, musicals and a non political reference to building a wall to keep out the enemy.

Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You're a fan of Anais Mitchell or the tale of Eurydice and Orpheus. This tells it in a whole new way with a brilliant staging. Amazing set

Don't see it if You don't like folk music.

Masterful, Great singing, Musically brilliant

See it if you appreciate incredible harmonies brilliant music.

Don't see it if you are looking for a new and inspired book. It's the same old story of Orpheus and Eurydice.

Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You enjoy a unique presentation of a classic story.

Don't see it if You like your Greek tragedies presented classically.

Clever, Quirky, Romantic, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you're a sucker for great music and a romantic story told in an unconventional way.

Don't see it if you prefer a more clear-cut narrative or a happy ending.

Original, Disappointing, Overrated, Slow, Mostly great performances

See it if you're a NYTW and/or Anais Mitchell fan.

Don't see it if you can't get past the fact Orpheus is miscast. It made it impossible for me to connect to the love story or care about its resolution.

Clever, Edgy, Enchanting, Great singing

See it if you like non-conventional musical theater songs and Greek staging conventions

Don't see it if you like tap dancing.

Original, Epic, Exquisite, Great singing, Unique

See it if Absolutely breathtaking sung-thru telling of Orpheus tale. I was mesmerized; vocals were gorgeous. Staging is spare yet unique & interesting

Don't see it if You need dialog; this is pure music & pure magic. Live band was fantastic. I was not familiar w/the legend but had no trouble following.

Epic, Masterful, Refreshing, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you love good pop music scores and if you love theatrical invention. It is an evening that will transport you. Fantastic!

Don't see it if can't think of a reason not to see this masterful and intelligent production.

Original, Ambitious, Enchanting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You like new works, you like the writer, you want to see creative staging and love theatre that created an environment.

Don't see it if You want a theatrical piece full of drama, you don't like folk music, you don't like contemporary theatre you want a musical structured show

Absorbing, Enchanting, Great acting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you like Natasha Pierre and other innovatively staged musicals

Don't see it if You like a more traditional book musical

Original, Refreshing, Great staging, Memorable, Fabulous music

See it if a folk, pop, retro jazz/soul score sounds like a good time. Be, Gray, and Page are unique voices we need in musicals. I loved the experience

Don't see it if performed in the round/actors moving through the audience. You prefer more lavish sets/choreography/costumes. The book is a little muddled.

Also I don't think I was supposed to find the Orpheus character as grating ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Great music, Great singing, Great staging, Fresh/new

See it if Very creative/original way to recreate a classic. Lyric, poetic, moving. Incredible talent on/behind stage. Powerful staging/music.

Don't see it if Very uncomfortable seating. The littlest bit of knowledge of Greek myths enhances, but the lack thereof doesn't detract from the enjoyment.

Edgy, Enchanting, Overrated, Great staging

See it if You love Natasha, Pierre, the downtown musical theater scene, or just want to see something new, innovative and otherworldly.

Don't see it if You want classic musical theater or a story that is character and plot driven as opposed to creatively and stylistically driven.

Absorbing, Enchanting, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if you enjoy modernized retellings of classic myths and you are compelled by stories that question how and why we tell the stories we tell.

Don't see it if you prefer straight-forward musicals (this almost feels more like a performance piece, if you will) that don't provoke much reflection.

Absorbing, Exquisite, Profound

See it if you love exploring new musicals and creative approaches

Don't see it if you are not appreciative of innovation.

Original, Creative, Absorbing, Clever, Great singing

See it if You want to see an absorbing intimate production! Great story with a stellar cast and wonderful music & lyrics!

Don't see it if You aren't willing to sit in incredibly uncomfortable seating for over 2 hours. The theater was also pretty hot, felt like I was in Hades.

Cast & Creatives (15)