Morgan Siobhan Green

Morgan Siobhan Green plays Eurydice in the first national touring company of “Hadestown.”

Morgan Siobhan Green walked into her first speech competition for the highly regarded Bradley University team and found out that one of her opponents was delivering the same monologue as her.

She asked her coach if she should switch pieces. He replied, “No. Just do it better than her.”

Better wasn’t Green’s goal when she landed the role of Eurydice in the first national touring company of “Hadestown,” which opens at the at Downtown’s Ahmanson Theatre on Tuesday, April 26. 

The show won eight Tonys in 2019, including best musical and best scenic design by Rachel Hauck. But when Green was in rehearsals and saw the Broadway production and realized her performance differed significantly from her counterpart, Eva Noblezada, she didn’t worry.

“I feel like I’m so different from Eva. But both of us have such a valid, necessary approach to Eurydice,” Green said. “I think they both work in a beautiful way, which is a testament the writing, which can hold the gravitas and the nuance of individuals.

Green’s praise is for singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, who — with help from director Rachel Chavkin — turned her album of the same name into a stage show. It took several iterations and more than a decade before Hadestown made it to Broadway.

Based on the Greek myth of Orpheus going to the underworld to save his lover, Eurydice, this version turns earth into a sizzling New Orleans-styled jazz joint, which transforms in dramatic fashion to a rusted, confining hellish factory run by Hades.

The setting may be a far cry from her hometown, Decatur, Illinois, where her first show at a Montessori school was “Macbeth” — in the fourth grade. 

Since then, she has mostly done straight plays, but a few years ago she appeared in the musical “Moby Dick,” directed by Chavkin.

“I hadn’t heard about ‘Hadestown’ until I met Rachel,” she explained. “When I heard about a national tour for it, I even retweeted that and thought, ‘Good for Rachel.’ But after Moby Dick I was called in for ‘Hadestown.’ I hadn’t seen it yet, so I listened to the music, and I was really taken by the storytelling of the music.”

Green said she was excited to be the one to introduce the character across the country, and she appreciates that Chavkin welcomes individuality to the performances, as opposed to simply copying the New York production.

“It really sunk in, the responsibility that I have in telling this story,” she said. “It is not beyond me what I look like, how I play this character, who this character is and what it means for me to bring her to life.”

A significant part of telling this story comes from Hauck. An Orange County native, her scenic designs have adorned Los Angeles stages for years, beginning with her work for Center Theatre Group’s Taper Too program, which featured new works.

The “Hadestown” ethos she crafted began with Chavkin telling her that when she listened to the show’s music, she kept visualizing a round world.

“There’s something very embracing about what Anais has written and how she tells the story always from a place of love, always the poet,” Hauk said. “I understood immediately what Rachel was talking about when she said it felt like a round world. It didn’t feel sharp, and it didn’t feel angular. When I think about the show now, it is round, it is embracing, it does have many ways of wrapping up the audience and putting the story in the palm of their hands.”

It took some alterations to retain the emotional and visual power of the Broadway set for a touring production, but Green said the transformation from the above-ground to the underworld remains as stunning and impactful.

That’s not a surprise to CTG producing director Douglas Baker, who admitted that not all national tours are created equally.

“For me, it boils down to knowing the producers of the show and knowing them well enough to rely on them to produce a show that’s going to be at the quality we expect for a show playing at the Ahmanson,” said Baker, who first saw the show in London in 2018. “Many, many people talk about this tour being even stronger than earlier versions of the show, because now (the creative team) knows exactly what they want.”

 “Hadestown”

WHEN: Various times Tuesday, April 26, to Sunday, May 29

WHERE: Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

COST: Tickets start at $35

INFO: 213-628-2772, centertheatregroup.org