"I had no idea that throwing on an eyelash and walking across the stage as the bearded-lady Fate was going to have everybody so excited," said swing T. Oliver Reid, who did just that at the March 9 evening performance of Hadestown.
In a pandemic-induced twist of fate (sorry...), the Hadestown cast found themselves without several players on Wednesday. The matinee performance was cancelled, and the company was rehearsing different Workers' Chorus possibilities for the evening curtain, when stage management informed Reid that he would have to step in as Fate 1. Luckily, as fate would have it (not sorry...), Reid, in addition to his Swing track, serves as the show's dance captain, so in teaching all the parts in rehearsals, he's become familiar enough to now play those parts.
He teased his Fate role by posting to Instagram while in makeup (which he notes that he did himself—he was in La Cage aux Folles, after all). "Well it was apparently… “fated." Side pony makes a debut tonight."
Side Pony Fate? "It has been a long-standing joke in rehearsal that Side Pony is really Fate #4, and if anything happens Side Pony is going to go on, and we'd all laugh not thinking that it would ever really happen," said Reid. "However, the name is officially changed now to Auntie Fate, because once I got on stage, I found that Auntie has a little more age on her."
The wardrobe supervisor ran to Macy's and came back with a selection of dresses and palazzo pants and with a few adjustments of the hem and sleeves, some extra lace and the turban that was already there, Auntie Fate took the stage. Check out the photo of the trio below, with Reid, Kay Trinidad, and Emily Afton.
If we've learned anything these past few months, it's that swings and understudies are often called upon, and often do, save the day. But this moment for Hadestown, may have been particularly fated (last one, promise). "I think before the show, I had a moment of concern...when I come out as a Fate with this beard, am I going to get quizzical looks from the audience?" said Reid. "But I have to tell you, it was like a kid on their birthday or Christmas, because I saw all these wide eyes and open mouths in the audience. It felt like there were people in the audience that were being seen in a way that maybe they had not been before. That there was an acceptance that they hadn't seen before."
This weekend's performances will continue with understudies and swings taking roles. Reid will again appear as a Fate, as well as Hermes, who he does normally understudy. Non-binary performer Tomás Matos will also be making their debut as a Fate this weekend.
Hadestown features a book and lyrics by singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and has a cast led by Grammy winner Reeve Carney, Tony winner André De Shields, Lana Gordon, two-time Tony nominee Eva Noblezada, and Tony nominee Patrick Page. The musical follows the love stories of Greek mythology's Orpheus and Eurydice, and King Hades and Persephone.
T. Oliver Reid made his Broadway debut in Chicago. Prior to Hadestown, he was most recently seen onstage in Once on This Island. Other of his thirteen Broadway credits include Follies, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Mary Poppins. Reid along with Warren Adams, founded Black Theatre Coalition, an organization created to dismantle the systemically racist and biased ideology in the theatrical job space.