"Hadestown" producers Christopher Schout, Jennifer Melin Miller and Frances Wilkinson. (Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune)
Betting on hell on Broadway proved to be a hot ticket for a group of theater-loving Minnesotans.
"Hadestown," the Anaïs Mitchell musical that is set in the underworld, won eight Tonys Sunday, including the biggest award of all — best musical.
The show is backed in part by Stone Arch Theatricals, a Twin Cities-based vehicle created by Jennifer Melin Miller to support Broadway ventures.
Television viewers saw Miller join the whole "Hadestown" team onstage Sunday at Radio City Music Hall. Also onstage were Stone Arch partners Frances Wilkinson, Wayne Zink and Christopher Schout, all active supporters of arts and culture in the Twin Cities.
The show may be based on the myth of Eurydice and Orpheus, but it has real world resonance, intimated “Hadestown” director Rachel Chavkin, who won a Tony for her work on the show.
“My folks raised me with the understanding that life is a team sport — and so is walking out of hell,” she said. “That’s what is at the heart of this show: It’s about whether you can keep faith when you are made to feel alone."
Santino Fontana, who graduated from the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA program, also won a Tony for the title role of “Tootsie.” Fontana thanked Ken Washington, the late Guthrie director of company development who spearheaded the BFA program and nurtured generations of artists.
In a heartfelt speech, Fontana described Washington as “a teacher and mentor who single-handedly changed my life by telling me: 'You are an actor and anything you do that doesn’t feed that is a waste of (your) time.'”