Anaïs Mitchell is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and playwright. Her first musical, Hadestown, won the 2019 Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Original Score.
Mitchell grew up on a working sheep farm in Addison County, Vermont. She began writing music when she was 17. After attending Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, Mitchell's music career quickly took off. She released a self-produced album, The Song They Sang... When Rome Fell in 2002, garnering her attention from her first record label, with whom she released her second album, Hymns for the Exiled, in 2004. This brought her to the attention of fellow singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco, who signed Mitchell to her own label.
In 2006, Mitchell debuted the first incarnation of her folk opera Hadestown, created in collaboration with arranger Michael Chorney and director Ben T. Matchstick. It was staged in 2007 and toured with a Vermont cast through Vermont and Massachusetts. The same year, her album The Brightness was released.
In 2010, a conceptual album of Hadestown was released to rave critical reviews. The recording featured Mitchell as Eurydice, joined by DiFranco, Greg Brown, Justin Vernon (of indie rock band Bon Iver), Ben Knox Miller (of indie rock band The Low Anthem), and The Haden Triplets.
Mitchell joined Bon Iver on their North American tour in 2012, the same year her fifth album, Young Man in America was released. This album was also praised highly by critics. She followed this up with Child Ballads, created with Jefferson Hamer, a collection of original folk compositions based off the traditional ballads of England and Scotland. In 2014, she released xoa, featured acoustic, stripped-back covers of many of her older work as well as three new songs.
In 2016, Hadestown premiered in New York City Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop. The production was a hit with critics and audiences, leading to pre-Broadway runs in Edmonton and London before transferring to Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre in April 2019. Hadestown was nominated for the most Tony Awards of the season--14 total--and won Best Musical and Best Original Score for Mitchell.