Q&A With The Cast: Melaine La Barrie – Hermes in Hadestown  

June 3, 2024
Q&A With The Cast: Melaine La Barrie – Hermes in Hadestown  

Melanie La Barrie currently plays Hermes, the narrating voice throughout the story, in Hadestown in London’s West End. Melanie has had an extremely successful career in Musical Theatre starring in leading roles in West End and Broadway productions. Melanies credits include Mary Poppins, Matilda and & Juliet.

Melanie was kind enough to spend her time answering some of our questions, giving us an insight into her life and experiences in Hadestown.

Please can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself, how you got into Musical Theatre and some of your highlights in your career so far?

I’ve originated several West End musicals including Mary Poppins, Matilda and & Juliet. Currently enjoying myself as Hermes in the Original West End production of Hadestown. Every chance I get to work on a new musical is an absolute delight. 

As a performer, have you noticed any differences between working on Broadway and in the West End? Do you have a preference?

There isn’t much difference in terms of the work, you still have to work hard to make sure that you are contributing in the best way to the vision of the show as a whole and that you are telling the story in the best way possible night after night. I have no preference. I enjoy myself wherever I’m fortunate to work.

What was your first experience of the show or even the story it is based on?

Greek myths were a part of my childhood, I was fascinated with them as a child growing up in Trinidad and Tobago. I only came to a knowledge of the show very recently, when I decided that I wanted to be a part of this unique type of storytelling. I saw the show for the first time on Broadway and it was a transformative experience.

If a character in this show had a spin-off, who would it be about and what would it be called?

I think the Fates would have a spin off, a living room slice of life about how they spend their time when they’re not trying to mess with people’s heads. I’ve no idea what it would be called, that’s why people get paid big bucks to be writers and I just try my best to say their words!

What song you would request if you came to The Theatre Cafe Diner, and what song/s would you sing if you were working there for a day?

I would absolutely never sing if I came to the Theatre Cafe Diner, the anxiety that flew up in my body at this question is absolute! However, if everybody else could perform La Vie Boheme from Rent for me, that would be terrific.

What is the most influential thing someone has ever said to you regarding your career as a performer?

I remember Philip Osment once telling me that there was nothing wrong with being ordinary. Too often, the focus is on being the star. He reminded me that there was actually great value in being foundational, in being the solid rock upon which others could build. I’ve spent most of my career since trying to contribute in the best way that I could to the story. doing my best to be part of a team, and not focusing on whether I would be noticed or not. It has served me in good stead and has helped me have good mental health in what can be a difficult profession.

Have you ever had any onstage mishaps or mishaps during rehearsals for this show?

I had flown straight in from completing my run in & Juliet on Broadway to start rehearsals. And there was a lot to do. However, I didn’t realise just how hard jetlag would hit me. So after working, quite effectively I thought, for about a week, it came time to run the first half. And every single bit of work I’d done seemed to be locked away in some secret compartment in my head. I’d had absolutely no recollection of ever having done any work on the first half. So it was mostly me floundering over in a corner, while my company chuckled at my apparent amnesia and gave me a whole lot of grace.

Why should people come and see Hadestown?

The storytelling is beautiful, the music is extraordinary, the performances are sublime. I feel as though every night, we all go through something quite special together, we all get caught up in the whirlwind of story and hopes and effort and dreams. Come see how the world could be. And make sure your heart can take it.

Hadestown is playing at the Lyric Theatre. The winner of 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album, Hadestown has been seen by three million, streamed by over 350 million and adored by fans around the world.

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