Children of Eden

Children of Eden

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Children of Eden is a two-act musical play with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Stephen Schwartz (composer)
Stephen Lawrence Schwartz is an American musical theatre lyricist and composer. In a career spanning over four decades, Schwartz has written such hit musicals as Godspell , Pippin and Wicked...

 and a book by John Caird
John Caird (director)
John Newport Caird is a British stage director and writer of plays, musicals and operas. He is an Honorary Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, a regular director with the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain and the Principal Guest Director of the Royal Dramatic Theatre,...

. The musical is based on the Book of Genesis. Act I tells the story of Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

, Cain, and Abel, and Act II deals with Noah
Noah's Ark
Noah's Ark is a vessel appearing in the Book of Genesis and the Quran . These narratives describe the construction of the ark by Noah at God's command to save himself, his family, and the world's animals from the worldwide deluge of the Great Flood.In the narrative of the ark, God sees the...

 and the Flood. While using the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 as a plot source, it freely deviates in many details, and is a story of parents and children without a specific religious point-of-view. Though it had a short run on London's West End
West End theatre
West End theatre is a popular term for mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres of London's 'Theatreland', the West End. Along with New York's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English speaking...

 in the Prince Edward Theatre
Prince Edward Theatre
The Prince Edward Theatre is a West End theatre situated on Old Compton Street, just north of Leicester Square, in the City of Westminster.The theatre was designed in 1930 by Edward A. Stone, with an interior designed by Marc-Henri Levy and Gaston Laverdet...

 and has never played Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

, the show is popular in community theatres worldwide. While many productions of the show have used the same principals in both acts, with the actors each taking on a different character for the story of Noah, the original West End production did not utilize doubling of principals.

Production history


Children of Eden was originally written in 1986 as Family Tree for a production by Youth Sing Praise, a religious-oriented high school theatre camp at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows
National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows
The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows is a Catholic shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Belleville, Illinois, nine miles southeast of St. Louis, Missouri. The Shrine's director is the Reverend Father Greg Gallagher, OMI...

 in Belleville, Illinois
Belleville, Illinois
Belleville is a city in St. Clair County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city has a population of 44,478. It is the eighth-most populated city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area and the most populated city south of Springfield in the state of Illinois. It is the county...

. Stephen Schwartz adapted the script and music of Family Tree into a full-length musical, giving it the title it uses today.

The original cast production of Children of Eden was developed as a Royal Shakespeare Company
Royal Shakespeare Company
The Royal Shakespeare Company is a major British theatre company, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. The company employs 700 staff and produces around 20 productions a year from its home in Stratford-upon-Avon and plays regularly in London, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and on tour across...

 (RSC) workshop, directed by John Caird
John Caird (director)
John Newport Caird is a British stage director and writer of plays, musicals and operas. He is an Honorary Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, a regular director with the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain and the Principal Guest Director of the Royal Dramatic Theatre,...

, and starring Ken Page as Father, Richard Lloyd-King as Snake, Martin Smith
Martin Smith (actor/musician)
Martin Smith was a British actor, singer, and composer who starred in many shows in London's West End...

 as Adam, Shezwae Powell as Eve, Adrian Beaumont
Adrian Beaumont
Adrian Beaumont is a British composer, conductor and university teacher.He studied at University College, Cardiff, completing a PhD in Composition in 1972. He lectured in music at the University of Bristol from 1961 until his retirement in 2002, his 41 years continuous service making him the...

 as Cain, Kevin Colson
Kevin Colson
Kevin Colson is an Australian stage, film and television actor best known for his portrayal of Sir George Dillingham in the musical Aspects of Love, for which he received a Tony nomination, and his early role as Cliff in the original London production of Cabaret opposite Judi Dench...

 as Noah, Earlene Bentley as Mama Noah, Frances Ruffelle
Frances Ruffelle
Frances Ruffelle is an English musical theatre actress and recording artist. Her mother is Sylvia Young, the founder of the famous theatre school at which Frances trained, and her daughter is recording artist Eliza Doolittle. Her younger sister is actress Alison Ruffelle...

 as Yonah, Anthony Barclay as Japeth, Craig Pinder as Shem, Ray Shell
Ray Shell
Ray Shell is an African American, film, TV and stage actor, as well as an author, director and producer. He is famous for creating the roles of Nomax in Five Guys Named Moe and Rusty in Starlight Express...

 as Ham, Hiromi Itoh as Aysha and Ruthie Henshall
Ruthie Henshall
Valentine Ruth Henshall , better known as Ruthie Henshall, is an English singer, dancer, and actress best known for her work in musical theatre. Henshall attended the Laine Theatre Arts school in Epsom, Surrey before making her first professional appearance on stage in 1986...

 as Aphra. After the RSC's budget was cut, it opened at the Prince Edward Theatre
Prince Edward Theatre
The Prince Edward Theatre is a West End theatre situated on Old Compton Street, just north of Leicester Square, in the City of Westminster.The theatre was designed in 1930 by Edward A. Stone, with an interior designed by Marc-Henri Levy and Gaston Laverdet...

 in London's West End
West End of London
The West End of London is an area of central London, containing many of the city's major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings, and entertainment . Use of the term began in the early 19th century to describe fashionable areas to the west of Charing Cross...

 on January 8, 1991. The show closed on April 6, 1991 to poor reviews and after the Persian Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 put a damper on tourism worldwide.

The show's poor reviews and quick closing meant that any hope of a Broadway transfer was abandoned. The original London cast album was released on LP and CD, but quickly went out of print. The CD release was marred by manufacturing defects that caused most of the discs to "bronze
CD bronzing
CD bronzing is a specific variant of disc rot, a type of corrosion that affects the reflective layer of CDs and renders them unreadable over time...

", becoming unplayable. Consequently, a playable copy of the disc is highly prized by musical theatre collectors. Schwartz believes the show has not played on Broadway because of the expense required to produce it in an Actor's Equity house, due to the cast of characters.

There is an extremely rare concept recording of the show that exists. The recording features Stephen Schwartz himself playing the piano. The recording was made before the Papermill Playhouse production in an effort to review the rewrites and revisions. The recording was made available only for a limited time on Stephen Schwartz's website via RealAudio streaming. The recording is considered to be the rarest version of the show that exists. Only a handful of people possess CD or digital copies of it, including Stephen Schwartz himself and Michael Kohl.

Throughout the 1990s, the show received numerous productions at both the amateur and professional levels; it was also reworked and edited, with songs and scenes being added and cut. In 1997, a major production was mounted at the Paper Mill Playhouse
Paper Mill Playhouse
Paper Mill Playhouse is a regional theatre with approximately 1200 seats, located in Millburn, New Jersey, less than 25 miles from Manhattan. Due to its location, it can draw from the pool of actors who live in New York City. Its location, as well as its focus on producing large-scale shows, makes...

 in Millburn, New Jersey
Millburn, New Jersey
Millburn is a township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township population was 20,149.Millburn Township was created as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 20, 1857, from portions of Springfield Township.Millburn also...

, featuring Stephanie Mills
Stephanie Mills
Stephanie Dorthea Mills is an American R&B and soul singer, and a former Broadway star.-Career:Mills began her career appearing in her first play at the age of nine. Two years later, Mills won Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater a record six times...

. A cast recording
Cast recording
A cast recording is a recording of a musical that is intended to document the songs as they were performed in the show and experienced by the audience. An original cast recording, as the name implies, features the voices of the show's original cast...

 of this production was produced by Schwartz himself. This revised version, commonly known as the "American version" or "Paper Mill version", is substantially what is currently licensed for production in the United States. The New York City premiere of the piece was as the inaugural World AIDS Day Concert presented by Jamie McGonnigal
Jamie McGonnigal
Jamie McGonnigal is a voice actor, actor, producer, activist and director, who has worked for various companies such as 4Kids Entertainment, NYAV Post, DuArt Film and Video and FUNimation Entertainment....

 and Kate Shindle. The concert featured Julia Murney
Julia Murney
Julia Kathleen Murney is an American actress, singer and theatre performer, primarily featured in theatre and television commercial voice-overs. Until 2005, she was commonly known as the Broadway actress who had technically never appeared on Broadway...

, Norm Lewis
Norm Lewis
Norm Lewis is an American actor and baritone singer. He has appeared on Broadway as well as in regional theatre.-Life:Lewis was born in Tallahassee, Florida and grew up in Eatonville, Florida...

, Darius de Haas
Darius de Haas
Darius de Haas is an American stage actor and singer.He was born in Chicago and raised in a musical family—his father is bassist Eddie de Haas and his mother Geraldine was one of the Bey sisters of the musical trio Andy and The Bey Sisters...

, and Jai Rodriguez
Jai Rodriguez
Jai Rodriguez is an actor and musician best known as the culture guide on the Bravo network's Emmy-winning American reality television program Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. He has also co-authored a book with the other Queer Eye hosts.-Biography:Rodriguez is of Puerto Rican and Italian descent,...

 and raised funds for The National AIDS Fund. The show's publisher, Music Theater International, reports that Children of Eden is one of its top 20 most frequently licensed properties, which is very unusual for a show that has never had a Broadway or Off-Broadway
Off-Broadway
Off-Broadway theater is a term for a professional venue in New York City with a seating capacity between 100 and 499, and for a specific production of a play, musical or revue that appears in such a venue, and which adheres to related trade union and other contracts...

 run. Its popularity is partly due to its ability to accommodate a large or small cast; its universal themes of family, love, greed, anger, and others; and its religious material, which make it a favorite for churches, synagogues, and post-secondary schools. The most recent production of Children of Eden was played at NIDA (St. Andrews), Sydney, Australia, on the second and third weekends of March, 2011. A world premiere of the symphonic version will run in Kansas City from July 15 to 24, 2011, accompanied by a 55-piece orchestra.

Synopsis (American version)


Act I
The play opens with the creation story from the Book of Genesis ("Let There Be"). Eve
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

 is drawn to the tree of knowledge, even though Father (the God-character is always addressed as "Father" by the other characters) has warned her to stay away ("The Tree of Knowledge"). Father attempts to distract Adam and Eve by playing a game where Adam and Eve name all the animals ("The Naming"). With his children distracted for the time being, everything is right with the newly created world ("Grateful Children," "Father's Day," and "Perfect"). Eve, however, still hungers for something more than what she has ("The Spark of Creation"). She meets a snake that tempts her with the fruit from the forbidden tree ("In Pursuit of Excellence"). Eve eats the fruit, meaning that she must be banished from the Garden of Eden ("The End of a Perfect Day" and "Childhood's End").

In a twist from the Genesis tale, Adam is portrayed as torn between two choices: either he can stay with Father in Eden, or he can eat the fruit and be banished with Eve. He chooses to stay with Eve, even though it means leaving the garden forever ("A World Without You"). Adam and Eve are driven out into the surrounding wilderness and have two children, Cain and Abel ("The Expulsion" and "The Wasteland"). Eve realizes that the same fire that led to her eating the fruit is present in her son, Cain ("The Spark of Creation (Reprise 1)"). Cain tells Abel of the problems that Adam and Eve made for them by leaving the garden and says that he intends to find the lost garden ("Lost in the Wilderness").

Adam and Eve find some pleasure in the fact that they have been able to create a life for themselves outside of Eden ("Close to Home"), but this peacefulness is again shattered when Cain says that he has found a ring of stones, proof that they are not the only humans alive; Adam admits that he had seen the ring of stones and the people who live there before but that he had never mentioned it because he was afraid of the potential consequences ("A Ring of Stones" and "Clash of the Generations"). This leads to a fight between Adam and Cain, but when Abel intervenes, he is killed, as Cain attempts to kill Adam but hits Abel instead ("The Death of Abel"). Father decrees that Cain's descendants will always bear a mark for the sin of their ancestor ("The Mark of Cain").

Act I closes with Eve about to die. She delivers a monologue about Cain's departure from the family and the birth of another son, Seth
Seth
Seth , in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is the third listed son of Adam and Eve and brother of Cain and Abel, who are the only other of their children mentioned by name...

, who has since had children of his own. She then prays that her children and her grandchildren will regain the garden that was lost ("Children of Eden").

Act II
The act opens with "Generations," a list of the many descendants of Cain and Seth, all the way down to Noah and his family, whose story comprises the second act’s plot. Father tells Noah that a storm is coming, so Noah must build a boat ("The Gathering Storm").

Noah has three sons, and two of them, (Shem
Shem
Shem was one of the sons of Noah in the Hebrew Bible as well as in Islamic literature. He is most popularly regarded as the eldest son, though some traditions regard him as the second son. Genesis 10:21 refers to relative ages of Shem and his brother Japheth, but with sufficient ambiguity in each...

 and Ham
Ham, son of Noah
Ham , according to the Table of Nations in the Book of Genesis, was a son of Noah and the father of Cush, Mizraim, Phut and Canaan.- Hebrew Bible :The story of Ham is related in , King James Version:...

), have wives, but his youngest son, Japheth
Japheth
Japheth is one of the sons of Noah in the Abrahamic tradition...

, is unhappy with the wives Noah has tried to obtain for him. Instead, he wishes to marry the servant-girl, Yonah, a descendant of the race of Cain, and Japheth tells this to his surprised family ("A Piece of Eight"); however, Noah will not allow Yonah on the ark. All the animals return so that they can board the ark ("The Return of the Animals" and "Noah's Lullaby"). Japheth comes to say goodbye to Yonah. She sings "Stranger to the Rain," in which she says that she has always faced the problem of being shunned because she bears the mark of Cain
Curse and mark of Cain
In Christianity and Judaism, the curse of Cain and the mark of Cain refer to the passages in the Biblical Book of Genesis where God declared that Cain, the firstborn son of Adam and Eve, was cursed for murdering his brother, and placed a mark upon him to warn others that killing Cain would provoke...

. Japheth decides to sneak Yonah onto the ark. Japheth and Yonah sing "In Whatever Time We Have," which tells of their love for each other.

The rain comes, and it keeps raining and raining ("The Flood" and "What is He Waiting For?"). Yonah releases a dove to find dry land ("Sailor of the Skies"). The rest of the family discovers Yonah, and Shem and Ham wish to throw her overboard, but Japheth intervenes. It escalates into a fight, and it is only because Yonah intervenes that one of the brothers is not killed. Noah is unsure as to what he must do. His wife asks him if Father speaks to him anymore, and when Noah answers "No," she tells him, "You must be the father now." Noah has to decide what should be done without God telling him what to do ("The Spark of Creation (Reprise 2)"). Noah sings of the difficulties that he has faced in being a father, while at the same time Father sings of the problems he has faced in being a father ("The Hardest Part of Love"). Noah calls the family together ("Words of Doom"). He decides to give Japheth and Yonah his blessing ("The Hour of Darkness"). Then the dove returns and the family again sees the light of the stars. Mama leads the family in the gospel song ("Ain't It Good?"). Father gives humanity the power to control its fate ("Precious Children"). The family sings of the problems they will face and their desire to return someday to the Garden of Eden ("In the Beginning").

Characters


Original London Production

Act I
  • Father
  • Adam
  • Eve
  • Snake
  • Cain
  • Abel

Act II
  • Father
  • Noah
  • Mama Noah
  • Shem
  • Ham
  • Japeth
  • Aysha
  • Aphra
  • Yonah

Chorus (both acts)
  • Angels
  • Animals
  • Humankind


American Productions
  • Storytellers – acting as the narrator
  • Father (God)
  • Adam
    Adam and Eve
    Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

    /Noah
    Noah
    Noah was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the tenth and last of the antediluvian Patriarchs. The biblical story of Noah is contained in chapters 6–9 of the book of Genesis, where he saves his family and representatives of all animals from the flood by constructing an ark...

  • Eve
    Adam and Eve
    Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

    /Mama Noah
  • Cain
    Cain and Abel
    In the Hebrew Bible, Cain and Abel are two sons of Adam and Eve. The Qur'an mentions the story, calling them the two sons of Adam only....

    /Japheth
    Japheth
    Japheth is one of the sons of Noah in the Abrahamic tradition...

  • Abel
    Cain and Abel
    In the Hebrew Bible, Cain and Abel are two sons of Adam and Eve. The Qur'an mentions the story, calling them the two sons of Adam only....

    /Ham
    Ham, son of Noah
    Ham , according to the Table of Nations in the Book of Genesis, was a son of Noah and the father of Cush, Mizraim, Phut and Canaan.- Hebrew Bible :The story of Ham is related in , King James Version:...

  • Seth
    Seth
    Seth , in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is the third listed son of Adam and Eve and brother of Cain and Abel, who are the only other of their children mentioned by name...

    /Shem
    Shem
    Shem was one of the sons of Noah in the Hebrew Bible as well as in Islamic literature. He is most popularly regarded as the eldest son, though some traditions regard him as the second son. Genesis 10:21 refers to relative ages of Shem and his brother Japheth, but with sufficient ambiguity in each...

  • Aphra (Ham's wife)
  • Aysha (Shem's wife)
  • Yonah (Noah's servant; Japheth's wife)
  • Young Cain
  • Young Abel
  • Snake (several people)


Musical Numbers


1991 Prince Edward Theatre Production
Act I
  • Let There Be – Father and Angels
  • The Naming – Father, Adam, Eve, Animals and Angels
  • The Spark of Creation – Eve
  • In Pursuit of Excellence – Snake and Eve
  • A World without You – Adam
  • The Expulsion – Father, Adam, Eve and Angels
  • Wasteland – Angels
  • Lost in the Wilderness – Cain and Adam
  • Close to Home – Adam, Eve and Abel
  • Children of Eden – Eve and Her Children


Act II
  • Generations – Ham and Company
  • Degenerations – Father, Noah and Civilised Society
  • Shipshape – Shem, Ham, Aysha and Aphra
  • The Return of the Animals – Noah’s Family and Animals
  • Stranger to the Rain – Yonah
  • In Whatever Time We Have – Japeth and Yonah
  • The Flood – Antediluvian Mankind
  • What Is He Waiting For? – Noah's Family
  • Children of Eden (Reprise) – Yonah
  • The Hardest Part of Love – Noah
  • Ain't It Good? – Mama Noah, Her Family and Angels
  • In the Beginning – Company




Track Listing for the Paper Mill Playhouse Cast Recording (1998)
Act I
  • Let There Be – Father & Full Company
  • Perfect (Part 1) – Storytellers, Father, Adam & Eve
  • The Tree of Knowledge – Father & Adam
  • The Naming – Father, Adam, Eve & Storytellers
  • Grateful Children – Adam & Eve
  • Father's Day – Father
  • Perfect (Part 2) – Storytellers, Father, Adam & Eve
  • The Spark of Creation – Eve
  • In Pursuit of Excellence – Snake & Eve
  • The End of a Perfect Day – Storytellers
  • Childhood's End – Storytellers, Father & Eve
  • A World without You – Adam, Father & Eve
  • The Expulsion – Father & Storytellers
  • The Wasteland – Storytellers
  • Wilderness Family – Adam, Young Cain & Young Abel
  • The Spark of Creation (Reprise 1) – Eve
  • Lost in the Wilderness – Cain & Abel
  • Lost in the Wilderness (Reprise) – Cain
  • Close to Home – Adam, Eve, Abel, Young Cain & Young Abel
  • A Ring of Stones – Adam, Eve, Cain & Abel
  • Clash of the Generations – Adam, Eve, Cain & Abel
  • The Death of Abel – Eve & Storytellers
  • The Mark of Cain – Father & Storytellers
  • Children of Eden – Eve & Full Company


Act II
  • Generations – Storytellers
  • The Gathering Storm – Noah & Father
  • A Piece of Eight – Storytellers, Noah, Mama Noah, Japheth, Yonah, Ham, Shem, Aphra & Aysha
  • Blind Obedience – Noah
  • The Return of the Animals – Orchestra
  • The Naming (Reprise)/Noah's Lullaby – Storytellers & Noah
  • Stranger to the Rain – Yonah
  • In Whatever Time We Have – Japheth & Yonah
  • The Flood – Father & Storytellers
  • What is He Waiting For? – Noah, Mama Noah, Japheth, Ham, Shem, Aphra & Aysha
  • Sailor of the Skies – Yonah
  • The Spark of Creation (Reprise 2) – Mama Noah
  • The Hardest Part of Love – Noah & Father
  • Words of Doom – Storytellers
  • The Hour of Darkness – Noah, Mama Noah, Japheth, Yonah, Ham, Shem, Aphra & Aysha
  • Ain’t it Good? – Mama Noah & Full Company
  • Precious Children – Father
  • In the Beginning – Japheth, Yonah, Noah, Mama Noah, Father, & Full Company


External links