The Grammy Award winner and indie music icon Ani DiFranco will play the role of Persephone in the Tony Award-winning musical Hadestown beginning February 9, 2024. It will be DiFranco’s Broadway debut, but also something of a return: DiFranco originated the part on the 2010 concept album that started it all.
“I could not be more thrilled to be joining the cast of Hadestown,” DiFranco said in a statement. “It’s like I get to rewind to my New York youth and follow the road not taken.”
As a young songwriter, Anaïs Mitchell, who wrote the music, lyrics and book for Hadestown, long considered DiFranco a hero. DiFranco would eventually play a significant role in Hadestown’s creation, helping Mitchell develop the concept album that was ultimately released on the Righteous Babe Records label owned by DiFranco in 2010. As DiFranco told Rolling Stone in 2019, “It wasn’t nearly as developed as it is now, but the core songs were there and I thought, ‘Good songs, man—this girl does it.’ So I got behind it.”
Blending frank alternative folk with a punk, anti-corporate sensibility, DiFranco is a singer, songwriter, record label owner, feminist and social activist, a vital force in the ’90s known for her tattoos, piercings and such songs as “Both Hands” and “Not a Pretty Girl.” She gained an ardent following while producing and releasing her music on her own label, which she founded at 19, and earned a number of Grammy nominations over the years, taking home the award in 2004. She published her memoir No Walls and the Recurring Dream in 2019.
“I can’t really overstate the influence of Ani’s music and example on me as a young songwriter,” Mitchell said. “Poetic, bold, radically emotive and fun, she simply has been a mythic figure in my life, and I can’t think of anything more beautifully full circle than Ani playing the role of Persephone on Broadway. Grateful and awestruck.”
DiFranco takes over the role of Persephone from Betty Who. Hadestown currently stars Jordan Fisher as Orpheus, Lillias White as Hermes, Phillip Boykin as Hades and Solea Pfeiffer as Eurydice, with Lindsey Hailes, Belén Moyano and Brit West as the Fates.