Children of Eden
Music & lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, book by John Caird
Prince Edward Theatre, London - 8 January 1991 - 6 April, 1991
From the composer/ lyricist of Godspell and the co-director of Les Misérables comes a joyous and inspirational musical about parents, children and faith... not to mention centuries of unresolved family business! Based freely on the Genesis stories of Adam, Eve, Noah, their children and their 'Father', Children of Eden offers a frank, heartfelt, tuneful, charming and often humorous look at the pleasures and pains of parenting.
CHILDREN OF EDEN begins with God creating the heaven and the earth. He then creates his "children" to share his dream and gives them the garden of Eden. Eve then eats from the tree of knowledge at which point she "sees what Father sees". Adam must choose between his Father and his wife and (obviously) chooses the latter. Father exiles them from Eden and condemns them to be "Lost in the Wildreness" where they have two boys, Cain and Abel. Cain inherits his mothers rebeliousness, wanating to travel and find out about the world but his Father (Adam) forbids it. Cain defies his father (the same way Adam and Eve defied God) and, in a fit of rage, tries to strike him. Abel intervenes and ends up getting killed. Cain yells to Adam, "That should have been you!!" and runs into the wildreness. Here he apparently finds a tribe of other humans but is labelled an outcast by God. Act 1 ends with Eve, alone after Adams death, sings the title song to all her children and grandchildren. As her offspring take over the final verses, Eve begins her ascent to heaven where Father (and Adam) await to greet her.
Act 2 begins with the descendants of Adam and Eve spreading all over the world in the song "Generations". We meet Noah and his family, building an ark at God's (Father's) insistance. Only the family of Noah (his wife, sons and their wives --none of whom bear the "mark of Cain") will be allowed on the ark. However one of Noah's sons is in love with a woman who bears the mark of Cain. As the animals enter the ark two by two (in a wonderful number that is all orchestra wherein people with animal masks, costumes and puupets represent all animals in a scene that rivals the spectacle of LION KING) Noah's son hides his lover on the ship. After the flood the girl is discovered and once again a father (Noah) must deal with the rebelious child in the song THE HARDEST PART OF LOVE ("You cannot close the acorn once the oak begins to grow, And you cannot close your heart to what it fears and needs to know, That the hardest part of love....Is the letting go" --A BEAUTIFUL song!!). Noah decides to forgive his son and accepts his new wife into the family. As the ark comes to rest atop a mountain the family of Noah seperates to the ends of the earth to start a new generation of humans.
5 men, 4 women, 2 boys, chorus 8 (may be expanded)
Reed I (piccolo/flute/ clarinet/ alto sax): Reed II (alto recorder [opt.]/clarinet/ bass clarinet/tenor sax) : Reed III (oboe/cor anglais/clarinet [opt.]/tenor sax [opt.]) : Horn: Guitar I (electric/ acoustic/ mandolin) : Guitar II (electric/ acoustic) : Keyboard I (piano/ synthesizer) : Keyboard II (synthesizer): Keyboard III (synthesizer [opt.] - may be used to cover reeds and horn): 2 Percussion: Cello: Bass: Guitar.
On line review:
CHILDREN is a beautiful and haunting (and FUN) show and I would encourage anyone to mount a production. I saw the PAPERMILL cast aat the North Shore Music Theater in Mass. and it was incredible! The response from the audience was quite remarkable as it is an INTENSELY moving experience!! Full of hope and (when done right) wonder. The animal costumes/puppets can be done simple and yet the audience goes wild when the animals come out! It really is an exceptional show!
Original London Cast Recording - London 828 234 2