Getting to Know Kimberly Marable, Currently Starring as Persephone in the North American Touring Company of HADESTOWN

Kimberly Marable. Photo by Lia Chang

Kimberly Marable is living her best life. In 2019, she was cast in the Original Broadway cast of Hadestown as a worker, and was also the understudy to Persephone and The Fates.

Front Row: Reeve Carney, Eva Noblezada, André De Shields, Patrick Page, Amber Gray. Back Row: Afra Hines, Timothy Hughes, Ahmad Simmons, Jewelle Blackman, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, Kay Trinidad, John Krause, Kimberly Marable. Photo by Lia Chang
Front Row: Reeve Carney, Eva Noblezada, André De Shields, Patrick Page, Amber Gray. Back Row: Afra Hines, Timothy Hughes, Ahmad Simmons, Jewelle Blackman, Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, Kay Trinidad, John Krause, Kimberly Marable. Photo by Lia Chang

This summer, she performed in André De Shields’ theatrical concert, Black By Popular Demand: A Musical Meditation On How Not To Be Eaten By The Sphinx at Feinstein’s/54 Below and at The Cabaret in Indianapolis. De Shields shared, “Kimberly Marable in her stage presence posesses an interior glow that promises enchantment.”

Rudy Bird, Lori Tishfield, André De Shields, Freida Williams, Samuel Moses-Jones, Kimberly Marable, Sean Mayes. Photo by Lia Chang

Tonight, she celebrates her opening night in the North American tour of Hadestown at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, starring as Persephone, with performances through October 31. Previews began on October 5th at Greenville, South Carolina’s Peace Center. The tour continues to over 30 cities in its first season. For the latest tour route and other information, visit: www.hadestown.com/tour

Kimberly Marable as Persephone.
(Photo: T Charles Erickson)

The cast of Hadestown also stars Nicholas Barasch as Orpheus, Morgan Siobhan Green as Eurydice, Tony winner Levi Kreis as Hermes, and Kevyn Morrow as Hades. The Fates are played by Belén Moyano, Bex Odorisio and Shea Renne with the Workers Chorus featuring Lindsey Hailes, Chibueze Ihuoma, Will Mann, Sydney Parra and Jamari Johnson Williams. Kimberly Immanuel, Alex Lugo, Eddie Noel Rodríguez and Nathan Salstone round out the company. 

Direct from the original Broadway company of Hadestown, Kimberly portrayed a worker and understudied Persephone and one of the Fates. Kimberly’s additional Broadway/International touring credits include The Lion King, The Book of Mormon, Sister Act, Dreamgirls, Hairspray, and The Wedding Singer. Pre-Broadway development: HadestownPal Joey with Marin Mazzie and Patina Miller, and The Wanderer with NKOTB’s Joey McIntyre. She has appeared on CBS’ “FBI” and “Bull” and NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert series. You can hear Kimberly as Lorelai in the Netflix anime series, “Cannon Busters,” and as a promotional voice for a number of TV networks. Brooklyn born and raised. Dartmouth College grad. Kimberly co-founded Broadway Serves, which provides theater professionals with community service opportunities. She serves on the Advisory Committee for the Actors Fund’s Looking Ahead program and recently joined the Board of Trustees for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Kimberly was also featured in a Bev’s Girl Films short film, Cream and 2 Shugahs, starring opposite Marjorie Johnson. @misskimizzo

Kimberly Marable, Rudy Bird, Lori Tishfield and Freida Williams. Photo by Lia Chang

Kimberly and I were on a plane to Indianapolis as part of the mini-tour of André De Shields’ theatrical concert series when the cast list was released to the press and she could officially share the news. This interview was conducted as we taxied to the gate of the Indianapolis International Airport.

Lia: When did you first learn that you were going to be Persephone on the Tour?

Kimberly: I found out over the summer, in June of 2021 and it was actually really exciting. I was on the phone with Mara (our lead producer) discussing the possible reopening dates for Broadway, and she mentioned that another option, as opposed to returning to the Broadway company, was to open the North American tour as Persephone. What really moved me was how much it was stressed that whatever decision I made, I would be fully supported. I knew that I would miss this wonderful company of humans on Broadway that really defined my Hadestown experience. I decided to also talk with Rachel about what to do. We had a lovely conversation about how exciting the new company is, the new set, and just the prolific nature of this show. The opportunity to be able to play this role, which as I told Rachel, Persephone is the dream role I never knew I wanted, or needed until I met her, really sealed the deal for me.

Kevyn Morrow as Hades with Nicholas Barasch as Orpheus and Kimberly Marable as Persephone.
(Photo: T Charles Erickson)

Lia: Who is a Persephone?

Kimberly: Persephone is a complicated queen. I actually was talking to a lot of women who were auditioning for the role before I found out that I’d be given the opportunity to embody Persephone. I think there are common misconceptions that she is just a drunk but that just diminishes all that she is. She’s a devoted wife. She’s a lover of nature. She is a nurturer. She is fun. She is hopeful. She is someone who is empathetic and stands up for what’s right. She’s incredibly devoted to her husband in spite of himself and all the things that are complicated about him. She loves the sun, but is willing to be in the darkness to be with her love. Seeing how the underworld has changed over millennia because they are Gods,Persephone found a way to make it through and that is through drinking. It’s a coping mechanism. I really enjoy trying to find the WHY of why she is, rather than who she is because Persephone is just complicated. I love that about her. Plus, she gets to sing the best songs.

Kimberly Marable, Levi Kreis, Morgan Siobhan Green and Nicholas Barasch and the company of “Hadestown”
(Photo: T. Charles Erickson)

Lia: What did it mean to you being a member of the Broadway company of Hadestown?

Kimberly: I have to start by saying that this was the first time I originated a show on Broadway so being a part of this company meant everything. There were many bucket list items that I got to check off: Being a part of the first cast of a show that had never been on Broadway. Performing on the TONYs! So many things.

Lia: Have you worked with other female directors before?

Kimberly: Resident directors yes, but not creating from the ground up. I truly believe this was a special experience that I will be very lucky if it is matched. The environment that was created because there were women at the helm, from Rachel in Team Directing…There were women everywhere. It was wonderful to be supported and to know that all the gifts that I have and the ideas I have to offer, are being considered and implemented if they are the best ones for the story.

Lia: What was your understudy track?

Kimberly: I was a understudy for Persephone and I also understudied a Fate. I went on for both. I went on for Persephone a lot more. For the Fate, I had to learn how to play the accordion. I actually went on for a different Fate that I didn’t cover. That was exciting. That was a first, learning a track between shows and performing it that night.But I always had the most fun and rewarding experience when I went on for Persephone.

Kimberly Marable and company in the Hadestown, North American Tour. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Lia: How is the role of Persephone being tailored to you?

Kimberly: Before the shutdown, the producers were going to make a culturally appropriate wig for me. They are still doing that. We’ve had a fitting, we’ve had discussions about curl patterns, colors that would look like they would grow out of my hair. I’m so thankful. I’ve never experienced that kind of sensitivity when it it comes to my hair. I really appreciate the great lengths that they are going to. 

Lia: Who do you think made this decision?

Kimberly: So many people – our Broadway wig and makeup supervisor, Kevin Thomas Garcia, as well as Costume Designer Michael Krass and Director Rachel Chavkin. We all came together and decided we need to have hair that looks like it belongs on me… that it could have grown out of my scalp. Our show has a wigmaker who is particularly experienced with Black hair and hair in general. I feel really taken care of. I’d say this is the case for most Black women, but the subject of hair is particularly sensitive to me because I’ve always had natural hair and a big Afro, and not everybody knows what to do with it. Usually it is approached as a problem. How do we stuff it under a wig versus how do we celebrate what makes you beautiful and Kimberly.

Rachel Hauck wins a Tony Award for Scenic Design of a Musical for Hadestown during the 2019 Tony Awards with Jewelle Blackman, John Krause, Cherie B. Tay, Malcolm Armwood, Ahmad Simmons, Kimberly Marable, Jessie Shelton, Afra Hines, Timothy Hughes and Khaila Wilcoxon. Photo by Jenny Anderson, Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Lia: What was it like to perform on The Tonys?

Kimberly: Performing on the Tonys. I’m still pinching myself and this was two years ago. This was the stuff that dreams are made of. The lights, the inclusion. The entire company was able to perform. That doesn’t always get to happen. We had 17 cast members as opposed to the normal 13 on stage. Even though the space of Radio City is gargantuan, they have that inset area where some of the audience is sitting so they’re very close. We could see them experience the awe that is Hadestown. That was really special to be able to share that with them and to share the magic of our show.

Lia: Have you ever performed on The Tonys before?

Kimberly: Never. This was my first time and hopefully not the last.

Sean Mayes and Kimberly Marable. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: You’re currently on a little mini-tour with André De Shields, your Hermes. What has this experience been like?

Kimberly: This has been the greatest master class of all time. Truly. From a directorial standpoint, André  has allowed me to see things that I never knew I was capable of with the material that he has given me. He’s given me the space to take on challenges like that and not hide or shrinking from myself because I’ve never done something before. Also, because I’m going to be heading on tour, it’s been a wonderful, wonderful opportunity to share a stage with him, and to get a front row seat on the glory that is André De Shields. Also, back to the idea of a masterclass, to stand and listen to his brain and all of the many things that he knows, his wisdom, his opinions, and just how eloquently and anecdotally he shares those things with all of us. I’m so blessed to have a front row seat to that. This experience has been on of learning and one of joy. Working with André is a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you get a second opportunity, you better take it. I’m even more appreciative of this opportunity because the show is Black By Popular Demand: and because the aim of the show is Black Lives Matter. It was a welcome reckoning for me.

Lia: What are you most looking forward to about being on tour?

Kimberly: So many things. I’m certainly excited to be playing Persephone eight times a week and being able to delve into the complicated, joyous creature that she is and sharing this beautiful story with the nation and the continent. I’m looking forward to traveling. It’s been a while and there is so much to see and experience. I’m excited to work with and get to know the new company and to see how everyone brings their fullest self to telling this story. I think it is one of the great things about it, everyone is different. Because of that, everyone will bring their own life experience, their own skillset and their own spirit to telling this story. I think that is how it is supposed to be. 

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Hadestown is written by celebrated singer-songwriter and Tony Award winner Anaïs Mitchell and developed with innovative director and Tony Award winner Rachel Chavkin.

Following two intertwining love stories – that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone – Hadestown invites audiences on a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back. Mitchell’s beguiling melodies and Chavkin’s poetic imagination pit industry against nature, doubt against faith, and fear against love. Performed by a vibrant ensemble of actors, dancers, and singers, Hadestown delivers a deeply resonant and defiantly hopeful theatrical experience.

The creative team for Broadway features Tony Award winner Rachel Hauck (set design), four-time Tony Award nominee Michael Krass (costume design), two-time Tony Award winner Bradley King (lighting design), Tony Award winners Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz (sound design), Obie Award® winner and Chita Rivera Award® winner David Neumann (choreography), Liam Robinson (music direction and vocal arrangements), Tony Award winners Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose (arrangements and orchestrations), Ken Cerniglia (dramaturgy), and Stewart/Whitley (casting).

Broadway.com: Exclusive! Take a First Look at the Hadestown National Tour

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, an Award winning filmmaker and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. Her short film, When the World Was Young, written and directed by Garth Kravits, recently garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2021 Lia Chang Multimedia, unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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