Lana Gordon currently appears in Hadestown as Persephone eight times a week, but when she first stepped onto the Walter Kerr stage in October 2021, she performed twice a week as the Queen of the Underworld, serving as the Persephone alternate. Gordon has now taken over the role full-time, following original cast member Amber Gray’s departure in February.
Gordon made her Broadway debut in the ensemble of the original cast of The Lion King in 1997. She also appeared on Broadway in Jesus Christ Superstar, as well as the European tours of West Side Story and Hair. Most recently, Gordon played Velma Kelly in Broadway’s Chicago, a role she’s stepped into a few times. Playbill spoke with Gordon about her experience transitioning into the Persephone role, on a full-time basis. Read our Q&A below.
What are the challenges of transitioning from being the Persephone alternate to playing the role full time?
My challenges talking over the role... well, I don’t consider things to be challenging. I actually feel quite at home, enjoying each and every moment I step on that stage!
What are the benefits of already being experienced in playing Persephone?
The benefits of playing the role twice a week is that all the nerves are gone.
When you took on the role as Persephone alternate, were you aware you’d eventually take over the role full time?
I did not expect that, no. But it sure is a wonderful feeling to be able to have the opportunity.
What did your day-to-day rehearsal process look like while making your transition?
Actually, I did not have any rehearsals. I just jumped right into the role.
When playing Persephone, what qualities and emotions do you focus on most in your portrayal?
Playing Persephone, I focus on staying true in the moment, and trusting I have all I need, and just let things happen naturally.
What is your favorite song or scene to perform in Hadestown? And why?
Oh, I love “Lady from the Underground." I get a chance to play and find different moments throughout the number. That brings me such joy!
What was it like taking on the role of Persephone after playing Velma in Chicago? Does one come more naturally to you?
Coming from a dance background, I feel a deeper connection to [Velma].
How would you summarize your experience returning to the Broadway stage following the COVID-19 shutdown? How did you stay warmed up?
[I’m] grateful to be back on the stage. I kept myself in shape and at peace with yoga online. I also did several virtual performances that kept me on my toes, and I put a voice over studio in my closet. I learned quite a lot about myself during that time.