Lillias White is set to join the Tony-winning musical “Hadestown” in the role of Hermes. When she begins, White will become the first female-identifying actor to play the role.
White, a Tony and Daytime Emmy Award winner, will begin performances on Sept. 13 at the Walter Kerr Theatre.
White will succeed T. Oliver Reid, who stepped into the role in June following André De Shields’ departure. Reid will play his final performance on Sept. 4.
White was last seen on Broadway as Matron “Mama” Morton in “Chicago.” Her previous stage credits include “Dreamgirls,” “Once on This Island,” “Cats” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” In 1997, White won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her role in “The Life.” White received another Tony nomination in 2010 for “Fela!”
The cast of “Hadestown” currently features Jewelle Blackman as Persephone, Reeve Carney as Orpheus, Patrick Page as Hades and Eva Noblezada as Eurydice. Soara-Joye Ross, Jessie Shelton and Kay Trinidad appear as the Fates.
The cast also includes Emily Afton, Malcolm Armwood, Alex Puette, Trent Saunders, Grace Yoo, Tara Jackson, Max Kumangai, Sayo Oni and Yael “YaYa” Reich.
“I am always thrilled to attend a Broadway opening and seeing ‘Hadestown’ opening night in 2019 was a magical and unforgettable experience,” White said. “Everything about it was full of life. I sat behind [director] Rachel Chavkin’s father who was bursting with pride, and I got to meet Rachel who was giving birth to a phenomenal show while carrying new life in her belly. Everything about that evening glowed with beauty and love and promise, and I was moved to tears by my most excellent friend Dr. André De Shields and the entire company. I am delighted and honored to step into the role of Hermes and be part of this beautiful production.”
“I’m over the moon about Lillias stepping into this role,” Chavkin said. “She’s a total legend, has an earth-shattering voice and will bring a grace and warmth to the role that is completely her own. ‘Hadestown’ is a myth, and so we’ve always felt these characters can mold to whomever is playing them and take on new life and meaning with each new actor/spirit. I’m very proud to say the cast for our national tour is wholly individual from the Broadway company, and just as powerful, and I’m so proud to welcome a woman for the first time into the iconic role of Hermes, our storyteller and guide. Like the Greek gods themselves, our actors change shapes, size, color, tonality, vibe, and doesn’t it make the world more delightful.”
“Hadestown” opened at the Walter Kerr Theatre on April 17, 2019 and reopened on Sept. 2, 2021 after the theatrical shutdown.
The show is produced by Mara Isaacs, Dale Franzen, Hunter Arnold and Tom Kirdahy.