Tony-Award winning musical ‘Hadestown’ coming to Indianapolis

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From top left, clockwise) Matthew Patrick Quinn, Lana Gordon, J. Antonio Rodriguez, Will Mann, Amaya Braganza and the company of
(From top left, clockwise) Matthew Patrick Quinn, Lana Gordon, J. Antonio Rodriguez, Will Mann, Amaya Braganza and the company of "Hadestown" in the 2023 North American Tour. (Photo/T. Charles Erickson)

“It’s an old song,” and the cast of the Broadway National Tour are “gonna sing it again” for Hoosier audiences.

Clowes Memorial Hall is transforming into the underworld for eight performances April 2-7 as the Broadway National Tour of “Hadestown” makes a stop in Indianapolis. Written by Anais Mitchel and directed by Rachel Chavkin, the Tony and Grammy-Award winning musical is about love and loss and life and death, Will Mann, who plays Hermes, told the Recorder. 

“I always say that the ‘Hadestown’ fans are unmatched. People really identify with the themes and really feel the love,” Mann said. “So, when it comes to your backyard, it really is some people’s only opportunity to be exposed to this kind of art … I think it’s hugely important that we get to do this, and I don’t take it for granted.”

Set to New Orleans jazz band music, “Hadestown” weaves together two Greek myths of dreamers and lovers— Orpheus and Euridyce and god Hades, king of the underworld, and Persephone, goddess of spring — although audience members do not need to be familiar with Greek mythology to enjoy the show, Mann said.

Mann’s character, Hermes, is the narrator of “Hadestown” and escorts folks down to the underworld once they have passed. He is the messenger of the gods as well as the god of stories and language. In the show, Hermes is the guardian of Orpheus and Euridyce and the audience all in one. In many ways, Mann said the role is not much different from who he is offstage.

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Set to New Orleans jazz band music, “Hadestown” weaves together two Greek myths of dreamers and lovers— Orpheus and Euridyce and god Hades, king of the underworld, and Persephone, goddess of spring. (Photo/T. Charles Erickson)

“It’s very special because these gods are all encompassing. Whoever you are, you can bring that into these roles,” Mann said. “I think what’s cool about this show is it finds room for everybody. It’s an everyman kind of show; you can see yourself in all of these people. So therefore, the Hermes that the people see when I’m on stage, it was definitely Will Mann.”

Quiana Holmes, who plays one of the workers — or souls who mine the underworld — said beyond the dreamers and lovers, “Hadestown” deals with topics of climate change, industrialization, immigration and the “undeniable power of the mind.”

Holmes’ favorite line — “I’ll tell you where the real road lies. Between your ears, behind your eyes. That’s the road to paradise; likewise, the road to ruin,” — is delivered by Hermes in the opening number. It introduces the theme of power, which she said resonates with her both on and offstage.

“That’s really spoken to me as I’m coming into myself as a woman in this world, as a Black woman in this industry, how my thoughts can shape my entire world around me; it can shape the people,” Holmes said.

“Hadestown” recently celebrated its 900th performance. Although Mann has not been in all 900 performances, he has been in “Hadestown” since 2021 and said the show never stays the same. The versatility of the characters and messages hidden within the poetry and lyrics of the show can be interpreted in many ways depending on how a line is sung.

“I feel like the reason why a lot of our fans end up seeing the show several times is because every time they see it, they’re gonna get a new piece, they’ll get a new layer, they’ll see something that they didn’t notice before,” Mann said. “Because there’s a lot in there and it’s so brilliantly written that sometimes I still find things that I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s what that means.’ I can totally say it in a different way and it makes more sense.”

Despite how different each performance has the potential to be, Mann said the message of the show remains the same: love is worthwhile, regardless of if it lasts a short time or a millennium. Holmes hopes audience members leave with the message that they are enough — a message that has resonated with her since she first read the script.

“I really hope audiences see that sometimes you’re gonna doubt yourself. Sometimes, you’re gonna feel like, ‘I can’t do this.’ Sometimes you’re going to have those voices in your head where you’re like, ‘This isn’t for me,’ but don’t look back,” Holmes said. “Keep going forward because you don’t know what’s at the end of it all. And you don’t know what you might be losing by looking back.”

“Hadestown” is onstage for eight performances April 2-7 at Clowes Memorial Hall, 4602 Sunset Ave. The show has an approximate runtime of two hours and 30 minutes with one intermission and is recommended for audience members ages eight and up. Tickets start at $66 and are available at indianapolis.broadway.com.

Contact staff writer Chloe McGowan at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @chloe_mcgowanxx.