Introduce Yourself(ie): 10 Questions with Hadestown Star Damon Daunno
July 11th, 2016
by Damon Daunno
Damon Daunno leads the new hit New York Theatre Workshop musical Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell's bold reimagining of the classic Orpheus and Eurydice tale from Greek mythology. Daunno stars as a broke, idealistic, guitar-playing Orpheus who hopes to bring his love back from the underworld.
It's a breakout role for Daunno, who previously appeared on Broadway in RTC's Brief Encounter and most notably in Daniel Fish's critically-acclaimed revival of Oklahoma!. Below, BroadwayBox hears from the actor/musician about Hadestown, not being Hugh Jackman, and flirting with Twitter.
1. Scene in Hadestown I feel most alive:
There is a song called "Livin' It Up" which serves as both celebration and manifesto of all things true and generous, and we all come together and share a toast with the whole audience, and there is a moment of stillness when I get to look at everyone in the room with their arms up sharing that split second of presence I feel very much alive and well.
2. The thing that attracted me most to this project:
It was the music that first grabbed me as the album is pretty much perfect but the people at the helm, Rachel Chavkin and Anais Mitchell and all the musicians associated, created such an inspired vibe in the room that I didn't want to be away from it!
3. Note or advice director Rachel Chavkin gave me that I carry with me every performance:
Punk rock for beauty! There is more to this telling than two lovers and a bad guy. It's about investigating what you stand for and how community is affected and Orpheus, she would say, is a light but with army boots...lovely.
4. I’m not on social media because:
I suppose I don't need any more distractions and often those social platforms can be fairly toxic, but more than anything technology has never been my friend and I feel a bit like a caveman when I try and keep up—though I have been flirting with the twitter recently and godspeed to all folks who indulge!
5. The artist who I’m inspired by most when creating original work:
It depends on the project for sure. Inspiration is a broad spectrum and it's not always 'artists' that one can draw from. Half the fun of a new project and to seek new inspiration and deepen what moves you. I have my greatest hits for sure but I try and make new friends for each show as it were. For Orpheus, I was deeply inspired by the poetry of Hafiz and the hardcore vocalist Ian MacKaye who are equally badass in vastly different ways.
6. I feel most creative when:
It's super late and my whole block is asleep and there is a big fat moon in the sky.
7. I have been known to completely nerd out over:
Music history. Give me a genre and a decade and let's boogie!
8. Favorite thing about growing up in Jersey:
Ha. Thats a bit of a loaded question. I think I loved the suburbs as a kid. Very classic small town front lawn knowing your neighbors kind of thing, but if ever I got stir crazy I could take the 33 bus outside of my local 7/11 into Manhattan and be in Times Sq in 30 mins, which felt super hip as a teen. So as it turns out, I suppose the ability to be somewhere else in a short amount of time
9. Three important ingredients in creating my Curly for Bard’s Oklahoma! were:
1. Don't do anything Hugh Jackman did (jokes...but seriously that wasn't our vibe)
2. Let the words be heard and experienced with total truth and simplicity
3. Own the sh** out of those chaps!
*bonus ingredient: Do whatever Daniel Fish asks. Not always the best advice but in this case his vision was extraordinary.
10. My personal version of hell would most likely include:
Not being allowed or able to sing (as it's beautiful investigation provides timeless catharsis) and maybe being forced to exclusively eat Taco Bell or something. Woof.
Get yourself down to New York Theatre Workshop before July 31 to see Damon Daunno in the acclaimed new musical 'Hadestown'.