It’s been 19 months since the Kennedy Center stage presented a full musical theatrical production to a live audience, but luckily that is all changing this weekend with the start of its 2021-2022 season.
And that’s quite a start. “Hadestown,” winner of eight Tony Awards in 2019, including Best New Musical, begins its nationwide tour at the Kennedy Center Opera House October 13-31.
The acclaimed new musical was written by singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and developed with innovative director Rachel Chavkin, both Tony Laureates for their roles.
“Hadestown” follows two mythical tales, one based on the ancient Greek myth where Orpheus goes to the underworld to save his lover, Eurydice; the other from King Hades and his wife Persephone.
Nicholas Barasch, who began his Broadway career at the age of 10, plays Orpheus, whose character embarks on a hellish journey into the underworld and vice versa.
“I was a huge fan of the show even before I was part of it, so when I heard they were launching a nationwide tour in 2019, I really wanted to be a part of it,” Barasch said. “Orpheus is a role I’ve wanted to play ever since I first saw him on Broadway.”
The actor harassed his reps to get him an audition, and it happened in early 2020, just before the pandemic. So even though he got the role and the series was due to launch in fall 2020, he had to wait a year to play that dream role.
“It’s been a long time coming, but I’m really excited to finally be able to play it,” said Barasch. “Orpheus is a unique leadership role, and I don’t feel like a typical leader anyway. I am red, rather sensitive, and I am not attracted to the big vibrato. He sings a lot in falsetto too, and in recent jobs I’ve had to do that a lot, so it felt perfect.
Of course, the actor was also drawn to the score and the story, and feels audiences will be captivated by the production, just as he was during the Broadway tour.
The actor’s other Broadway credits include “The Mystery of Edward Drood” and “She Loves Me,” which won him a Drama Desk Award, but it was in 2009 that it all started in the revival of “West Side. Story “.
“I was doing community theater and it was really just a fun activity, and Broadway wasn’t something I thought about, I was a kid,” Barasch said. “According to my mother, I was the one who pushed for an agent because it seemed attractive to me. Finally, I signed with a manager and auditioned in New York, and I landed “West Side Story”, which was pretty surreal. “
He continued to work regularly on stage, his last Broadway role being in “She Loves Me” as a high school student. “Hadestown” marks his first national tour.
The actor noted that while this is very similar to the Broadway production, some changes were made to the touring version.
“We have a new set, a new cast, and Rachel Chavkin, our director, always comes up with new ideas for telling the story in this particular space,” said Barasch. “The Kennedy Center is our official tour opener and everyone is excited to start.”
The production also stars Morgan Siobhan Green as Eurydice, Tony Award-winning Levi Kreis as Hermès, Kimberly Marable as Persephone and Olivier Award nominee Kevyn Morrow as ‘Hades.
“What makes the show so fresh and new is that it’s basically a folk opera,” Barasch said. “It’s almost all sung and you get those huge Broadway acts, and you get all the visual wonder with the lights and the smoke and the sets, but you also get a wonderful score, where sometimes you just feel like you ‘ You are somewhere in a living room listening to someone play the guitar, everything is encompassing and the story is a timeless love story.