Review: The Gods want to party in ‘Orpheus in the Underworld’


Orpheus, played by Ian Butler, performs with Eurydice, played by Rayna Morano, during the Orpheus in the Underworld dress rehearsal on Oct. 29. Orpheus in the Underworld is a satirical and comedic opera about the story of Orpheus traveling from Earth to Mount. Olympus to the Underworld to rescue his wife Eurydice. The opera will be perform in Fisher Theater on Nov. 1, 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 4 at 2 p.m.

Averi Baudler

The Iowa State Department of Theatre continues to bring immense talent to the Fisher Theater stage with their most recent production, “Orpheus in the Underworld.”

The opera follows the story of Eurydice and Orpheus, a couple who cannot stand one another, and Orpheus’ journey to heaven, and the underworld, to get his wife back after she is taken to Hades by the mischievous Pluto.

The first song of the show set the tone for the talent and humor that the audience would be experiencing for the next two hours, as Eurydice, played by Rayna Morano, sang about infidelity and her crush on the neighboring shepherd boy.

The audience watched as the stage transformed into Olympus. In the opera, all of the Gods and Goddesses had grown bored of paradise and instead wished to travel to Hades with Orpheus, played by Ian Butler, to partake in a wild party.

The opera surprisingly contained both humor and dialogue, which is not something that can always be said of shows in the genre. Many of the characters were able to provoke frequent chuckles and applause from the audience as they made their way onto the stage.

The most impressive and memorable part of the show, however, was the immense talent that came from the students in the cast, crew and orchestra. The music was sung beautifully and expressively, the orchestra complimented the story perfectly, and the set and lighting gave the show the extra touch that it needed.  

Both the wide-ranged solos and the group vocals had the audience mesmerized with how powerful and well rehearsed they were as they filled the Fisher Theater with sound.   

Pluto, played by Zachary Smith, was easily the most hilarious and theatrical character in the show. His portrayal earned many laughs from the audience as he sang and danced his way around the stage all while wearing leather pants and a corset.

The ensemble of this show was what really helped take the story to another level. Each person on stage, regardless of whether they had a lead role or not, were completely invested in their own character’s backstory.

There was never a character on stage who was boring to look at. Their lively reactions to songs and dialogue, along with their choreography, made it impossible for the story to ever slow down.  

“Orpheus in the Underworld” was definitely an entertaining show full of talented student actors, musicians, and crew members. It is not what many would expect when they think of a classic opera.

This show not only contains humor and music, but an abundance of talent that will leave each audience member smiling as they exit the theater.