Hadestown (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
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Hadestown (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
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Audio CD, November 1, 2019
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HADESTOWN intertwines two mythic tales — that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone — as it invites you on a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back. ABOUT THE ALBUM: • This Tony-winning score defies musical theatre convention, weaving together American songwriting traditions from indie folk to pop to blues and beyond. • This album was produced by Grammy® winner David Lai (the 2009 West Side Story Cast Album) alongside Todd Sickafoose and Anaïs Mitchell, who also collaborated on Mitchell’s celebrated modern folk album Young Man in America. • This recording represents the Broadway show in its entirety. • It features vocal performances by Reeve Carney (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark); Tony nominees Eva Noblezada (Miss Saigon), Patrick Page (Spring Awakening), and Amber Gray (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812); and Tony winner André De Shields (The Wiz). • Throughout July 2019, select tracks were released based on specific characters' songs, building to the full album release on July 26. By the end of July, the album had received 5.9M streams and counting. • The deluxe 2-CD set comes with a 64-page booklet, including full libretto and breathtaking production photos. • A limited edition 3LP vinyl box set — including libretto and free download code — is also available. ABOUT HADESTOWN: • Winner of 8 Tony Awards including Best Score and Best Musical. • Hadestown's journey to Broadway began a decade ago, with Anaïs Mitchell’s Grammy-nominated 2010 concept album featuring guest vocals by Ani DiFranco, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Ben Knox Miller (The Low Anthem), and more. • Before arriving on Broadway, Hadestown had fully staged productions at Manhattan’s New York Theatre Workshop, Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre, and London’s National Theatre. • Consistently selling at over 115% of gross potential, and currently performing at over 100% capacity, Hadestown's ticket sales continue to break records at the Walter Kerr Theatre. • Demand for tickets continues to grow, with advance bookings through July of 2020. • As of July 2019, Hadestown has 23K Facebook followers, 26.8K Twitter followers, and 111K Instagram followers.
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Now that I do have the entire album I am not super impressed. The comments (on the website that I found the updates about the release information on) said they felt the album was pretty low energy compared to what they'd seen on Broadway, and I disagreed at the time (with the few songs I had), but I'm starting to see what they meant now. Honestly I'm surprised at the 100% glowing reviews that have popped up here now. I became interested in this album based on video clips I'd seen online - particularly the reprise of Wait for Me - and the final release just isn't doing it for me. It doesn't help that they postponed the release of this album to do a better job recording the songs; if they still hadn't nailed them maybe they should have postponed the release again.
I went into it excited about Eurydice and Persephone (I love mythology) and was more excited in their characters when I was living off of the partial release, but have lost some interest now that I have the full album. Based on the video clips I was actually interested in seeing this show on Broadway, based on this cast album I am not.
Eurydice comes off...poorly. She's convincingly uninterested in Orpheus at first, I don't feel much chemistry between them when she starts to change her mind, and then she flits off with Hades eager to believe everything he tells her in sharp contrast to her initial reaction with Orpheus (her street smart vibe just evaporates). She has better chemistry with Hades than Orpheus. She only genuinely seems interested in Orpheus when he shows up in Hadestown to rescue her.
I was also disappointed that we didn't get more of Persephone - I feel like we're hemming the edges of an interesting character that doesn't get a real chance to shine. I wish she had some meatier songs that really dug into her character more instead of flitting over the surface of it. I'd like some serious emotional feedback and not just side notes. Based on the music I find myself more interested in Hermes and the Fates than what's going on with the main characters.
Also the chunks of dialog that are excessively rhymey are a little irritating. Perhaps it's the performance but this dialog comes off as a bit forced and mechanical and it makes you wish they had more natural interaction instead of rhyming every or every other line with each other or themselves.
The actors have great voices but despite taking the extra time to produce this album it's just not as captivating as I anticipated it would be. I want to love it but I'm not moved by it - I think that's what I really expected based off of the clips and the content; a moving, emotional soundtrack. Some of the songs have a nice sound but no bite. There's also some inconsistency in how the characters come off; as I said the earlier songs were more engaging but the big songs they saved for the final release are the most disappointing. I feel like they could have done a much better job with this album.
So in summary - the preorder plan was poorly executed and the performances on this album don't live up to the clips of live ones available elsewhere online.
Top international reviews
For myself it's even more special as I was fortunate enough to see the show on Broadway last month with the entire cast on this recording. Total keeper and two discs! A truly great musical to begin the new decade.