Review: ‘Hadestown’ is a hell of a show at San Antonio’s Majestic Theatre – San Antonio Express-News

In the Tony-winning wow of a musical, which is making its San Antonio debut this week at the Majestic Theatre, the information comes from Hermes, who’s played by Levi Kreis with wit and authority. 

Hermes, known as the herald of the gods, both tells and is part of the story. It is drawn from the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice – one of the all-time sad tales. 

Chibueze Ihuoma, center, plays Orpheus in the musical "Hadestown." The show is currently playing at the Majestic Theatre.

Chibueze Ihuoma, center, plays Orpheus in the musical “Hadestown.” The show is currently playing at the Majestic Theatre.

Kevin Berne

As the story goes, the lovers are parted shortly after they fall for one another. In this telling, she makes a choice to go to Hadestown, where she is promised more security than she has found with Orpheus, a dreamy singer-songwriter too consumed by his art to focus on anything practical. Orpheus then makes the dangerous journey to retrieve her.

Hades, the lord of the realm that bears his name, is won over by Orpheus’ music, which reminds him of the love he once felt for his wife Persephone. He agrees to let Eurydice go, but there is a catch: Rather than traveling side by side, she will have to follow him, and he will have to simply trust that she is there. If he turns to look at her at any point before they reach the other side, she will be returned to Hadestown. It does not end well – a sad tale, indeed.

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Kimberly Marable stars as Persephone in the touring production of "Hadestown." The Tony-winning musical is making its San Antonio debut at the Majestic Theatre.   

Kimberly Marable stars as Persephone in the touring production of “Hadestown.” The Tony-winning musical is making its San Antonio debut at the Majestic Theatre. 

T Charles Erickson/BroadwaySF

The stellar cast and the smoking seven-piece band make the most of the material, written by Anaïs Mitchell and developed and directed by Rachel Chavkin. Chibueze Ihuoma and Alex Lugo (filling in for Morgan Siobhan Green on Tuesday night) have a swoony chemistry as Orpheus and Eurydice that powers the love story. Kevyn Morrow is all seductive malevolence as Hades, some of which falls away when he is in the company of his bride, Persephone, the fantastic force of nature Kimberly Marable.

The Fates – Belné Moyano, Bex Odorisio and Shea Renne – are marvelous as well as they swoop in and out of the action.

The otherwordly story’s set and costumes evoke New Orleans’ French Quarter and the Depression. Apocalyptic climate change references abound as well, and are chillingly – or, perhaps, sweatily – familiar: “Ain’t no spring or fall at all anymore/ It’s either blazing hot or freezing cold.”

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The story is told in a relatively low-tech way that befits its timelessness. There are no projections in the mix. Smoke swirls about in Hades’ realm. Muscular choreography and massive lanterns swinging back and forth help to convey the difficulty of Orpheus’ journey across the River Styx, a scene so vivid it earned sustained applause Tuesday night, briefly stopping the show. And when Orpheus sings his song to Hades, the sound seems to generate a warm light that radiates briefly into the audience.

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Majestic Theatre, 224 E. Houston.

Details: $40-$130, majesticempire.com

The show is romantic and mesmerizing throughout, with a score that makes it hard to sit still in spots. It says a lot about the spell that the show casts that there wasn’t the often-standard mad dash for the aisles at the start of the curtain call. Instead, most folks stuck around for an extended standing ovation until the hard-working actors left the stage – a tribute they more than deserved.

dlmartin@express-news.net | Twitter: @DeborahMartinEN

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