Morgan Siobhan Green didn’t see “Hadestown” until after it had reopened on Broadway following pandemic-related shutdowns that kept it offstage for nearly 18 months.
By that point, she’d already been cast as Eurydice in the national tour.
Green had worked with director Rachel Chavkin before and, with that foundation of trust and collaboration built, auditioned for the show.
“I just listened to the music and the songs that I was auditioning with,” Green said. “It really does tell a full story. It gives you the tools you need as an actor to bring yourself even if you don’t have a whole lot of context.
“A lot of times, I feel musicals make music, and then try to put some lines in between to make these songs work. The thing I love about [‘Hadestown’] is the music is the monologue, is the dialogue. It’s everything that needs to be communicated.”
“Hadestown,” with music, lyrics and book by Anaïs Mitchell, makes its touring debut in Seattle at the Paramount Theatre July 12-17. Winner of eight 2019 Tony Awards, including best musical and best original score, the show refashions the Greek myth of Orpheus, who travels to the underworld to save his lover, Eurydice. In Mitchell’s telling, their fates are closely intertwined with the king of the underworld, Hades, and his wife, Persephone, while god Hermes is on hand to narrate the proceedings.
Mostly sung-through and with a score that incorporates folk and New Orleans jazz influences, “Hadestown” has traversed from early stage incarnations to a 2010 album by Mitchell to off-Broadway and Broadway runs.
While “Hadestown” remains tethered to the myths it’s inspired by and the characters’ otherworldly abilities — Orpheus’ music enchants inanimate objects and Persephone’s travel patterns determine the seasons — Eurydice stays closer to real life, Green said.
“She’s just a girl who doesn’t have a lot,” she said. “And I think in many ways, she represents so many people who try and try and try and try again. I think of her as someone who is always taking a step forward and then like, three, four steps backwards — [due to] the way that the world treats people like her.”
Joining Green on stage are Broadway veteran Kevyn Morrow as Hades, original Broadway company member Kimberly Marable as Persephone and Tony-winner Levi Kreis, well-known to local audiences for his performances at Village Theatre, including in “Million Dollar Quartet,” as Hermes. Orpheus is played by Chibueze Ihuoma, who took over the role in mid-June after beginning the tour in the company.
“[Ihuoma] is no stranger to playing this role,” Green said. “He’s gone on quite often. I remember his first time going on, and it was just a magical experience as a scene partner, as someone who also used to be a swing and an understudy.
“It is a lot of fun to have different people going on stage with you, and it also keeps you rooted in your character work. It is not asking you to change people; it’s just asking you to be present as the character and to accept the different energy and interpretation that people are giving to you.”
After a long delay, “Hadestown” is still early in its touring life span, and a crop of regional productions is likely to follow. Green sees a malleability to the show, and she’s excited to see future interpretations, she said.
“There’s so much room for the desperation and the joy and the grit and the uniqueness of any person that will step into these roles,” she said. “It would almost be a trap to feel like every person has to play it a certain way. Because the music is all that you have. And it’s so amazing to hear how it manifests itself in different people.”
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