Going to Hell

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

We were in New York last week celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary when we headed off to the Broadway half-price ticket window and bought tickets to a new and mostly unheard of show called Hadestown. This musical recalls the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and their journey to dark reaches of the underworld. The play is presented as if it appears in a New Orleans jazz club with an onstage 7-piece band. The show picked up 8 Tony awards this past Sunday including Best Musical. I gave it my “Rich Standing “O” honor at the end of the performance.

The musical has had a long journey to success. Author and songwriter Anais Mitchell began her work on Hadestown in 2006 as a community theater project in Vermont. Over the next 13 years she and, in 2013, Director Rachel Chavkin refined the effort through a series of workshop projects and performance try outs in Edmonton and London. What makes Hadestown different is its evolutionary path, and the twists and turns these two women leaders afforded it. Unlike most Broadway productions, they did not have big name backers who set them up with a rehearsal studio right in the heart of New York. This work happened in small studios in remote locations.

Ms. Mitchell wrote that over the past 13 years, she frequently asked herself why she was continuing to work on a project that seemed so far from fruition and probably seemed more like the Hell she was writing about in her work. Her answer, however, was that there was something effortless about the project and as Michelangelo described when carving David out of that solid piece of granite, she felt that she was chipping away at her masterpiece one newly discovered line at a time.

We each have a quality of persistence that helps us to retain our energy and focus around the work that is most vital and important to us. It may be in our professional settings, with our families, or in some important community work that you believe and are committed to fulfilling. That kind of persistence is what makes success. As happens to Orpheus at the close of Hadestown, is that it is not about the mistakes that we make, but that we keep on trying.

Your Challenge This Week: What has been a driving force for you in your life? What is it that you believe in and helps you stay focused in order to achieve it? Just because you may have put it aside does not mean that it is dead and gone. Go back and revisit it and see if it sets off that spark for you again.

© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2019


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