‘I lean into a lot of that softness’: Hadestown cast readies to bring award-winning Broadway musical to Denver

Chibueze Ihuoma Hadestown PROVIDED Kevin Berne
Courtesy Kevin Berne/Hadestown
Chibueze Ihuoma performs in the musical Hadestown. The Broadway hit opens soon at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

After winning eight Tony Awards including Best Musical and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, Hadestown is making its first tour stop in Denver. 

The Broadway musical combines the myths of Orpheus and Eurydice and King Hades and Persephone to take audiences to the underworld and back. 

The struggle between industry and nature, skepticism and  faith, fear and love, is a haunting and hopeful theatrical poem.

Chibueze Ihuoma plays Orpheus in the show and said his approach to this demanding role began as a fan. That, he said,prepared him to meet this opportunity. 

“When I first heard it was the off-Broadway recording. And when I heard the role of Orpheus, I thought this is something I could do,” Ihuoma said. “I was like, ‘Wow, I've never heard a Broadway-style show use [this] where [the] main character uses falsetto in this way and where [the] main character displays this kind of softness.’”

Though each Broadway tour is tied closely to the original performances, the actors must still find a way to bring something original and authentic to their version.

“I think my version of Orpheus, I am very in tune to the folk tradition that was created on the original cast album. And so I lean into it a lot,” Ihuoma said. “And especially as a Black performer, a Black man playing this role, I lean into a lot of that softness and a lot of that, more folky type of inclinations, because I think it's one, both interesting for me, but also something that people might not expect.”

Ihuoma said he hopes the music fills people with hope — hope that the world can become a better place.

“And we could make that a reality through music, through community, through togetherness, through trust of one another,” he said.

Hadestown opens at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts on August 30th and plays only through September 11th.