Broadway fans in Pittsburgh are in for a real treat this month.

Two national touring productions of well-respected musicals will be setting up shop at the Benedum Center, Downtown, from Nov. 15-27: “Hadestown,” which adapted the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice for the stage, from Nov. 15-20; and “Les Miserables,” the latest version of the long-enduring story originated by Victor Hugo in 1862, from Nov. 22-27.

“Hadestown” is the second show in the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s 2022-23 PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series, while “Les Miserables” is the first of two “season specials” the Cultural Trust is bringing to town through May. Tickets for both shows are selling out fast — particularly “Hadestown” — and are available via

The Union Progress had the opportunity to chat with Hannah Whitley, who plays Eurydice in the “Hadestown” tour, and Ben Cherington, a 2020 Carnegie Mellon University graduate and swing performer in “Les Miserables,” about their respective shows and what Pittsburgh audiences can expect from each of them.

Come see how the world could be

Whitley graduated from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., in May and is currently embarking on her first national tour as Eurydice in “Hadestown.” The 22-year-old has never performed in Pittsburgh before, but she’s pretty familiar with Rust Belt vibes after growing up in nearby Cleveland.

“I’ve always wanted to come to Pittsburgh, but we were technically football rivals,” Whitley said. “All I’ve known is, ‘Boo, Steelers!’ But I’m not a football person, so I’m excited to come to Pittsburgh.”

Though she doesn’t have much professional theater experience, Whitley described herself as a “huge English nerd” and poetry enthusiast. Greek mythology wasn’t necessarily her bag before landing this “Hadestown” role, but her passions for English and storytelling “brought me into this show and made me feel so connected to it.”

“Hadestown” is an almost entirely sung-through twist on Orpheus’ journey to the underworld in search of lost love Eurydice. The show took Broadway by storm in 2019 and that year won eight Tonys, including for best original score and best musical. It’s exactly the kind of “really story-driven” musical that has always drawn Whitley.

“I like a musical that has a grounded story, as grounded as a play would be,” she said. “I’m really pulled toward works that are socially conscious or are talking about the world around us.”

Hannah Whitley as Eurydice in the North American tour of “Hadestown.” (T Charles Erickson/Courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust)

As far as she is concerned, Eurydice as a character “is as layered and nuanced as all of us are.” She loves that all the “darkness, light, joy [and] trauma” Eurydice contains can’t be pigeonholed into any preexisting Broadway archetype.

“The most rewarding and challenging part about playing Eurydice is that she in a lot of ways is so messy,” she continued. “As an actor, you kind of want to have it all figured out. With Eurydice, you have to have the vulnerability and courage as an actor to not know.”

The “Hadestown” tour started on Oct. 6, and Whitley has gotten a kick out of watching how both those who are already familiar with it and newbies react to what they’ve just seen. Recently, a girl came up to her after the show with her program and said, “You can sign it if you want.” Just thinking back on that experience continues to warm Whitley’s heart.

Whitley invoked the show’s tagline when giving her final pitch to Pittsburghers on why they should check “Hadestown” out next week.

“Come see ‘Hadestown,’” she said, “and come dream about what the world could be.”

The cast of the “Les Miserables” North American tour sings “One Day More.” (Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman/MurphyMade)

‘You probably haven’t seen it like this’

Cherington was in the first semester of his senior year at CMU when the Pirates hired a new general manager who also happened to be named Ben Cherington. The 24-year-old Fairfax Station, Va., native called that happening while he was going to school in Pittsburgh the “craziest thing ever.” He remembered so many of his friends and classmates sincerely asking, “Is that your dad?”

“Just from googling his name, he’s been a big part of my life,” Cherington joked.

His Pittsburgh ties run deeper than his college days and sharing a name with a member of Pirates brass. Cherington’s paternal grandparents grew up in the Steel City, and his father often would visit his large extended family in Pittsburgh, many of whom are still here. Getting into CMU was a big deal for Cherington for many reasons, including the fact he would get to spend at least four years living in “a city that was so important to my family.”

He credited his CMU training and the four Pittsburgh CLO shows he performed in for preparing him to put in the work on an undertaking as massive as a “Les Miserables” national tour. He and two other CMU graduates involved in the tour will be making their triumphant returns to Pittsburgh later this month.

“I absolutely cannot wait,” he said. “It’s going to be so many reunions happening all at once. I wish we were going to be in town longer!”

Like Whitely, he is a first-timer touring with a well-known Broadway musical. He’s a swing on the show, meaning any given performance could find him standing in for any of the 11 ensemble members or not appearing on stage at all. He said he enjoys how “it’s always a surprise” to find out what he’ll be doing on a day-to-day basis.

If that wasn’t a unique enough touring experience, he also happens to be traveling the country with his girlfriend, Eden Mau, who is a member of the ensemble and understudies Cosette. He said it was a “complete coincidence” that they both auditioned for “Les Miserables” and that they’ve been “having a great time” since the tour kicked off in early October.

“Les Miserables” follows former prisoner Jean Valjean as he struggles to start a new life for himself as revolution brews in 19th-century France. It’s always been one of Cherington’s favorite shows, and he insists that the youthful energy pervading this particular production makes it feel “like it’s all happening for the first time.”

“Having a bunch of young, fresh perspectives is something that makes this show really pop in a new way,” he said. “When you keep inviting young voices to the table, the story illuminates itself in new ways.”

He can’t wait for Pittsburghers to experience the way this “Les Miserables” presents classic songs like “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own” and “The Confrontation.” He promises that anyone who has always appreciated the “giant scale” “Les Miserables” operates on won’t be disappointed by this iteration.

“This is one of the most beloved musicals that’s ever existed,” he said. “I’m surrounded by some of the most gifted artists I’ve ever met. You’ll get to see some Pittsburghers do their thing, and you get to be a part of sharing Pittsburgh with dozens of people traveling here to do if for you.

“If you’ve seen it before, you probably haven’t seen like this.”

Coming soon

Here’s a quick rundown of what else the Cultural Trust has in store for Pittsburghers with its 2022-23 Broadway series at the Benedum Center:

• “Hairspray,” Jan. 3-8

• “Jagged Little Pill,” Jan. 24-29

• “Beetlejuice,” Feb. 21-26

• “Six,” March 14-19

• “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical,” April 4-9

• “Dear Evan Hansen,” May 2-7 (season special)

Joshua covers pop culture, media and more at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Contact him at

Joshua Axelrod

Joshua covers pop culture, media and more at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Contact him at