Eva Noblezada has played Eurydice in Hadestown since 2018, and to this day, it delights her that people are shocked by the ending of the show. Spoiler alert: Every night, when Eurydice and Orpheus (played by Reeve Carney) are so agonizingly close to exiting the underworld, Orpheus turns around and looks at his wife—thereby damning her to hell for all eternity. “It's an old tale from way back when,” as the opening number of Hadestown goes, and the audience knows how the show ends before it even begins (it is based on Greek mythology after all). And yet every night, they gasp.
How does Noblezada feel when she hears their reactions? “I'm always surprised. I'm always shocked!” she exclaims. Though that doesn’t mean every audience reaction is appropriate, says the actor: “The other day, this made me so mad, someone went, ‘Booo!!!’ And everyone laughed. And I was like, that is the stupidest, most selfish thing you could have done. And Reeve and I were like, ‘you know, the joke's on them because it didn't faze us. So they just look like an idiot.” But Noblezada appreciates the more positive audience reactions: “I'm always shocked at how shocked they are. It's also awesome because some of these people have seen the show like five times. I love that.”
Noblezada will have a bit longer to soak up the audience accolades. After four years of playing Eurydice (including the 18-month pause during the COVID-19 pandemic), Noblezada is handing out her final red carnation. Her final performance in Hadestown will be August 13. Solea Pfeiffer will take over the role starting August 15.
Noblezada grew up majorly while playing Eurydice, and the role earned her a second Tony nomination. And while she was in Hadestown, two films that Noblezada starred in was released: Yellow Rose and Easter Sunday.
And it’s made her more comfortable with herself—she also frequently does cabaret shows where she cracks jokes and is refreshingly unfiltered. Such as telling Playbill about the time she “baby barfed” in her mouth right before going onstage for Hadestown because she had eaten too much for dinner. “I was like, I can never do this again. I can never stuff my mouth with Vietnamese spring rolls,” she says chuckling. You can hear more of Noblezada’s candid thoughts in her solo show, Nostalgia: A Love Letter to NYC, which was recorded for Audible. And she will be performing at Joe’s Pub August 20.
But speaking to Noblezada in her apartment, with her black-and-white dog Petunia licking her face, the actor is visibly excited for what’s next, even if she doesn’t quite know what it is yet. Below, she talks about why now was the time to leave the Underworld, and how she’s been working nonstop since she was 18.
Why was now the time to leave Hadestown?
Eva Noblezada: I'm tired. I'm exhausted and it's time for new life. It's time for new opportunities. And honestly, it's just time for me to live my life. I've been doing the schedule since 2014. And it's just time for me to do what I want to do and that's not eight shows a week right now. I feel like for me, personally, there’s a disconnect that I want to bridge between my body and how I feel. Eight shows a week kind of puts you off your own axis, and it's just time to realign with what I want to reimagine for myself in my life. So, it's exciting. I'm really happy.
I've seen some of your Instagram videos and it's admirable how you talk about the physical exhaustion of performing eight times a week and your burnout. I feel like a lot of people always underestimate how much that show schedule takes out of you and how it's not sustainable to do it for a long time.
I appreciate that, that means a lot to me. Because sometimes it feels like you can never please everyone. You can do eight shows a week, but then you call out for two shows in a row because you genuinely were not feeling good. And it would have been detrimental for you to do those two shows, because you need to heal. And then that pisses people off. But then you do eight shows a week and everyone's like, you're still there? What's wrong with you?
I felt so pressured to be perfect. And it made me feel like I wasted so much time, versus just being authentic—genuinely listening to what I can do, what I want to challenge myself to do, and what was necessary to do. I think it's important to pave your own path and do whatever makes you feel good, while challenging yourself. You can never please everybody, but it's not really our job.
You've spoken about how you had a vocal injury in 2019. How did you overcome that?
I don’t know how I did. I was given two weeks off—which, in my opinion, was not nearly enough. But that's the best that we got. And I'm very grateful to have had those two weeks off. I remember when I came back from those two weeks, I was so ready. And I ran into somebody on the stage who worked for the show. And they said, “Glad to have you back. Now that you're back, are you going to be hitting the notes that are written?” Because I was doing substitutional notes, because some shit's too high to sing eight times a week if you're screlting it.
It made me feel like shit. You're making it seem like the only reason I'm hired is to hit these high notes. And that's the only reason that I'm able to do my job well. It's more than that: it's performance. It's the acting. It's the storytelling and the connection that I'm having with each note, each word. It makes any singer feel bad when their importance is based off a note or a belt.
But people say hurtful things all the time. And we have to understand everyone's going through their own lives. I’m not going to judge someone harshly—or not anymore, at least— because they say something horrible about me. If it hurts me in a way that I'm like, "Oh, ouch," then I have to look at myself and go: "Have I been neglecting that part of myself in being so unkind?" And then that's a lesson for me. Now I can work on speaking to myself a little kinder when it comes to body image or vocal stamina or whatever. That's a lifelong journey, and it gets easier and easier every day.
From when you started Hadestown in 2018 to now, how have you grown?
Because of Hadestown, I've learned what my strengths are. I've learned that weaknesses don't make you weak at all—they just show you where you're vulnerable and where you can strengthen more in your life, which I think is awesome. It taught me patience with myself, patience with my craft.
It's crazy. I still feel weird when people are like, you’re the original Eurydice. I think because it's such a family piece. It taught me so much. I feel like more of an artist than I ever have been, because of being able to do this show. It provided challenges that I was able to overcome and in ways that I never thought I would be able to. It's impossible to have been a part of the show without remembering anything but the extraordinary amount of love that was poured into the show. And because of how much love was poured into the show, that's why it's as good as it is, because you can feel it pouring out for the people who are involved every night.
So, what are you up to after you finish Hadestown?
Literally two days after my last show, I booked a two-and-a-half-hour facial massage. And I honestly just want to walk around the city. Petunia and I are gonna frickin’ go crazy. I'm going to show her everything the city has to offer. Because I'll have time. I haven't seen my family for Christmas in 10 years, because we never get the time off.
I still will be able to do one-woman shows whenever I want, and this is gonna be the perfect opportunity to be in, like, a play. I'll be available! So, that's awesome. But I’m always auditioning. And the universe isn't saying "no," because I'm not good enough. It's just saying, “No, wait, there's something better.” But I'm just excited to do normal people stuff. I don't even know what that is. But I'll figure it out.
Are you looking forward to seeing less of Reeve Carney every night, since you’re partners and you lead Hadestown together?
Never! Reeve is my best friend. He's also my soulmate, my partner. There's never ever going to be a reality in which I want to spend less time with him. To me, the hardest part about leaving the show is less time with Reeve—not really less time, it's just less stage time. But this is not the last show we're ever going to do together. We're going to hopefully do many, many, many shows together in different formats, and they're gonna be amazing.
But it's gonna be hard not to see the incredible people that I work with every day, because they're super special, cast and crew.
During Nostalgia, you sang “Cabaret” as your encore. Does that mean you’re going to be in the revival?
Oh, hell no! If anything, it means, who knows if I will ever be in the show but who cares? Because I get to sing the song whatever I want! Reeve and I watched it for the first time, the Cabaret movie, together. And we were like, holy crap. It's just iconic. I have always wanted to play Sally. That'd be awesome. One day. I like singing the songs, but I am definitely not up for Sally Bowles here.