Hadestown Debuts in Philadelphia


Charles Erickson

Kimberly Marble and company in the Hadestown North American Tour

Elena Rouse, Co-Culture Editor

Live theater is a vividly unique experience, and for the audience members of the Tony Award winning musical Hadestown, it is a transport to the depths of the underworld. 

Hadestown, winner of eight Tony Awards in 2019, is on its first national tour, making its way to the Academy of Music on the Kimmel Cultural Campus in Philadelphia from Feb. 9 to Feb. 20. The venue is only a quick train ride away from campus.

The show centers around two pairings, Orpheus and Eurydice and King Hades and his wife Persephone. It is a retelling of Greek myths, written by Anais Mitchell, that uses American folk, New Orleans and rock influences. 

Maria Im, who plays violin, spoke about the show and what it means to be a band member on stage with the performers.  

 “There is no show like Hadestown,” Im said. “The music in itself is extremely unique. The band being on stage and so involved with the show is so unique. I tell a lot of my friends, ‘If you want to come watch Hadestown, you have to be prepared to be blown away and not have any expectations because the genre is totally bending, the roles are bending, the diversity on the stage is, for me, so new and fresh.’”

An aspect of the show’s uniqueness is the fresh music. Im described a moment where she wept while playing during the show, which is a testament to the music’s power. In Hadestown, Im says that musicians have their set to play, but there are moments of improvisation infused into the music

Kimberley Marable, who plays Persephone, said the show has “Music that will infiltrate your heart.”

She went on, encapsulating the complicated depth of the show’s melodies, tied in with the story line.

“It’s a love song,” Marable said. “It’s a sad song. It’s an old song. It’s a tragedy, and it’s beautiful.” 

The show is also filled with multifaceted characters, something Marable can attest to.

“[Persephone] is a complicated woman goddess queen who is coping with a lot of stuff and is trying to find her way back to joy and live with her eternal partner,” Marable said. 

A member of the original cast, Marable’s experience with Hadestown spans across years, which provides her with the opportunity to delve deep into her character. 

“For me specifically, I’ve been with this show for years now,” she said. “On the one hand, it’s been really spectacular learning this company’s version of the show…the other thing too is that we are living breathing humans, so literally every day it’s different.” 

 The two show members were also able to elaborate on having the opportunity to be “living breathing humans” together once again on stage. Due to COVID-19, Broadway performances shut down until September of 2021. With live performances back, an energy has come along with it. 

“Something that was missing for so long, something we’ve all been missing for so long is the ability to be in the same space together,” Marable said. “I think it’s so wonderful that we get to be in a community as artists, as audience members and just share in beautiful music and storytelling together.”   

Im shared similar sentiments.

“I think as performers, a lot of our energy that we output is also fueled by hearing response from the audience and feeling the energy in the air,” Im said, going on to discuss how nice it is to be able to have that energy in the air once again.

 As it begins its run in Philadelphia, Hadestown provides the chance for students to get off campus and dive headfirst into another world. Tickets are on sale now and are included in a community rush for discounted tickets