Duncanville HS Graduate Will Mann Shines in “Hadestown”

Duncanville HS Graduate Will Mann Shines in Hadestown
Will Mann & Hadestown Workers photo by T. Charles Erickson

Broadway actor Will Mann, a 2001 graduate of Duncanville High School, is wowing Dallas audiences in the national tour of ‘Hadestown’ at Winspear Opera House. The jazz-infused, multi-award-winning musical is presented by Dallas Summer Musicals through Jan. 30. As the most honored show for the 2018-2019 Broadway season, “Hadestown” has been a “can’t-wait, must-see” show for North Texas musicals lovers.

Hadestown Exceeds All Hype

“Hadestown” exceeds all its hype, offering one of the most joyful experiences you’ll ever have at the theater–surprising for a show based on a tragic love story. Anais Mitchell’s music, lyrics and book combine Americana folk music with New Orleans-style jazz in retelling the sad Greek myth of Orpheus and his beloved Eurydice. As the son of the Muse of Poetry, Orpheus’ magical lyre and voice could charm the stones. He was engaged to marry Eurydice, a dryad or tree nymph, and tries to rescue her from the dead after she’s bitten by a snake. Their story intersects with that of Hades, ruler of the underworld, and Persephone, goddess of the seasons.

Duncanivlle HS graduate in Hadestown
photo by T. Charles Erickson

The musical opens in a setting similar to New Orleans’ Preservation Hall, with Hermes, the fleet footed messenger of the gods, as our narrator and guide. The three Fates (goddesses who decide the destinies of mortals) and the Workers (five performers who sing and dance in unison like a Greek Chorus) complete the talented ensemble cast. Seven terrific orchestra members are also located onstage, and sometimes even join the dancing performers.

This national touring production is full of great performances. Golden-voiced Orpheus (Nicholas Barasch) wins hearts with his single-minded devotion to Eurydice. Morgan Siobhan Green is delightful as Eurydice, who glows with happiness as Orpheus’ unconditional love warms her heart. Their duets and scenes together, especially the playful ‘Wedding Song,’ are endearing.

Levi Kraus Dashing as Hermes

Tony Award winner Levi Kraus makes a dashing Hermes in his fancy suits, with his high-stepping dancing and light patter keeping us entertained even when things aren’t going well for the lovers. Or the workers, or even poor Persephone, who’s come to realize Hades is something of a tyrant. As Persephone, Kimberly Marable—with her sensual dancing and gorgeous voice–steals the show anytime she takes center stage. When she’s gone from the stage, we miss her as much as Hades does. Kevyn Morrow gives an equally splendid performance as Hades, aided by his powerful, deeply resonant bass voice.

Duncanville HS gradate in Hadestown
Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Belén Moyano, Bex Odorisio, and Shea Renne play The Fates. The Workers Chorus features our own local phenom Will Mann, along with Lindsey Hailes, Chibueze Ihuoma, Sydney Parra, and Jamari Johnson Williams. These Workers are not only fine singers but fantastic dancers–watching them bound from one side of the stage to the other is like watching a tennis match. The swings for the touring production include Kimberly Immanuel, Alex Lugo, Eddie Noel Rodríguez, and Nathan Salstone.

Orchestra Members

Orchestra members include Cody Owen Stine (conductor/piano); Jacob Yates (cello/assistant conductor); Maria Im (violin); Michiko Egger (guitar); Audrey Ochoa (trombone/glockenspiel); Calvin Jones (double bass); and Anthony Ty Johnson (drums/percussion). Music coordinator is David Lai.

When “Hadestown” finally opened on Broadway, co-developed and directed by Rachel Chavkin, it was praised by critics as “our new obsession.” Anais Mitchell’s masterpiece is still playing on Broadway, with no sign of slowing down. Thanks to strong touring companies like the one we have in Dallas, musical fans around the country can now share the passion for this exuberant work of art.

“Hadestown” runs through Jan. 30 at the Winspear Opera House. For performance schedule or ticket information, please visit dallassummermusicals.org or attpac.org.