Hadestown at the Straz ‘A Stunning Performance’


On December 1st, the tour cast of Hadestown performed at the Straz Center in Tampa Bay, to tell a story of tragedy through the lenses of a modern world. The cast uses music and comedy in perfect harmony to tell two iconic stories of love. The set, costumes and acting were used to thrust these old tales into a modern world filled with poverty, greed, slavery, and eventually, freedom.

The Experience:

When going to see a show at the Straz, most immediately notice the ornate beauty of the place. The brown brick flooring, the red carpet, the spacious seating, all of it provides a unique experience that no one could ever forget. This feeling continues inside the theatre doors where you will find that when the lights go down, you are in for the experience of a lifetime. Hadestown was no exception. Between the set, props, lighting, acting choices, and the story itself, the audience was left in awe. Michelle Laney, a mother of two, stated, “That was absolutely stunning.” after the show. Many members of the audience were also reported to be crying afterwards due to the unfortunate sad ending. Nevertheless, the experience that both the Straz and the cast of Hadestown gave the audience was unforgettable.

The cast of Hadestown during bows.

The Show:

 Hadestown follows two ancient love stories through the course of the show, Hades & Persephone, and Orpheus & Eurydice. These mythic tales are then set into a modern world where the environment is dying and so are most of the people.

This is shown during “Any Way the Wind Blows” when Eurydice sings,

“Weather ain’t the way it was before  

Ain’t no spring or fall at all anymore                                                                 

It’s either blazing hot or freezing cold  

Any way the wind blows” 

This weather is later explained to be because of Hades taking his wife back to the underworld too early. Moreover, there are more problems in this world other than the weather crisis, for example, during act two we find out that Hades is buying souls and making them work for him and calling it “Freedom”. Eurydice ends up signing one of the contracts from Hades and selling her soul in exchange for never being hungry again. This leads to one of the best musical numbers in the whole show called “Wait for Me” sung by Orpheus when he finds out that Eurydice has gone to the underworld (Hadestown). It’s a song of love and strength. Love for Eurydice and strength for himself.

During the number the lights get brighter and brighter, which during an interview, Bradley King, lighting designer for Hadestown, stated, “They’re meant to invoke the idea of headlights from passing cars on a highway.”

Another thing that happens is these huge swinging lights come down from the rafters and they swing around Orpheus, which emulates a feeling of determination from the graceful way he avoids them by the end. Nevertheless, it’s one of the most impactful numbers of the whole show. 

By the end of the show Orpheus and Eurydice are given a chance to leave Hadestown on one condition, they must walk single file with Orpheus in front and Eurydice behind and Orpheus can’t look back on their way out because if he does Eurydice goes back to Hadestown forever. In the end, Orpheus looks back and the show ends with Hermes explaining that even though it’s a sad song it’s still an important one to sing. 


In summary, Hadestown is a fantastic show that should be seen by all. Between the beautiful and complicated set, the amazing cosmetics and costumes, the stunning lighting, and the acting itself, it brings an old tale back to life in a two-and-a-half-hour performance. So, if you ever get the chance to see it, take it, it will be worth it.