Anaïs Mitchell‘s 2010 concept album Hadestown, which started as a DIY show in Vermont, just became a Tony Award-winning score, with the Broadway show itself taking home a whopping eight Tonys. “I didn’t set out to write the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, it was just some lyrics that came into my head when I was driving, and they seemed to be about this thing, so it was very mysterious, kind of a gift from the muses,” Anaïs revealed in an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife on the Tony Awards red carpet. “But, of course, the story exists, it’s an ancient myth and it feels like it contains so much richness within it. It’s a love story, a political story, it’s a story about faith and solidarity versus being made to feel alone. All of those things kept giving and giving.”
Hadestown, with Anaïs’ lyrics, tells the tragic tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, as well as Persephone and Hades, the king and queen of the Underworld. “This story is older and bigger than any of us. It feels we’re chipping away at a sculpture that’s already in the stone,” the folk singer said. She developed the musical with 2019 Tony Award-winning director Rachel Chavkin, and brought the story of Orpheus’s journey to the Underworld to rescue his love, Eurydice, to the theater.
“I’ve had some wonderful collaborators along the way, from the earliest days in Vermont, where it began as a DIY show to the album we made in 2010 and of course working with Rachel for the past 6 years,” Anaïs gushed. While she developed this storyline years before the current political climate was even a blip on our radar, Anaïs knew from the start there were political parallels in the music and storyline. “The songs have always been political. I never expected it would feel as relevant to current political events and the administration as it does now,” she explained.
In particular, her song “Why We Build the Wall,” sung by the haunting Patrick Page, has aged rather interestingly in the time of President Trump, but to Anaïs, it “always has felt like it was a political song.” “It’s about rich and poor, and about the building of walls. So, if people can find meaning for today’s times from it, I”m grateful for that, and, of course, that’s not why I wrote it,” she said.
You can see Hadestown on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theater!