Working on a Song: The Lyrics of HADESTOWN

Anaïs Mitchell

nonfiction music
informative lighthearted medium-paced

272 pages | first published 2020

A stunning book of lyrics from Hadestown--the winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical--annotated and explained by its creator, songwriter Anais Mitchell
On Broadway, this modern telling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice has been a runaway success. Heralded as "The best new musical of the season," by the Wall Street Journal, and "Sumptuous. Gorgeous. As good as it gets," by The New York Times, this show is the breakout hit of 2019, and is positioned to be a longtime Broadway favorite with its poignant social commentary, to the tune of spellbinding music and lyrics.
In this book, Anais Mitchell takes readers inside her more than decade's-long process of building the musical from the ground up--detailing her inspiration, breaking down the lyrics, and offering thoughtful annotations of Hadestown. Fans of the musical will love this deeply thoughtful, revealing, and open look at how the songs from “the underground” evolved and became what they are today.

What the community thinks

summary of 46 ratings (see reviews)


informative 94%
inspiring 84%
reflective 52%
emotional 36%
hopeful 36%
relaxing 21%
funny 10%
lighthearted 10%
challenging 5%
dark 5%
sad 5%
tense 5%


medium 57%
fast 26%
slow 15%

Average rating