By JANE SIMONS, Special Contributor | Published April 5, 2007
Published: April 5, 2007
ATLANTA—Featuring music that ranges from gospel to rock to opera, “Children of Eden” tells the story of Creation and beyond. Christ the King’s Cathedral Players will present the inspirational musical on two weekends—April 20-22 and April 27-28—in the Cathedral’s Hyland Center.
All proceeds will benefit the Buckhead Christian Ministry, which provides emergency help to individuals and families in Atlanta.
A London musical with a rich score by Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked,” “Pippin” and “Godspell”), “Children of Eden” has received wide acclaim when performed in the United States.
Showing audiences how the “Father” deals with Adam and Eve and their headstrong kids, as well as Noah and his ark, the musical’s story comes from Genesis—both the first books and the story of Noah’s ark. But audiences immediately understand that the relationships among Father, Adam and Eve and their children have more to do with modern earthly families today and their immediate challenges and misunderstandings. Produced and directed by Patty Guenthner, “Children of Eden” begins when the Father declares, “Let there be….” He creates Adam and Eve and gives them a perfect place to live in the Garden of Eden. He tells them about the tree of knowledge from which they must never eat the fruit, but a Snake convinces Eve to pursue knowledge and eat the fruit of the tree.
Eve offers Adam some apple juice, leading Father to exile Eve. Adam has to choose between staying in the Garden or departing with Eve. After they are expelled, Eve gives birth to two sons, Cain and Abel, in desolate surroundings.
As the boys grow up, their behavior echoes that of their parents. And so begins the incredible story of how the Father deals with His creation and all of its human failings.
The story concludes with Eve as an elderly widow. She gathers her grandchildren together and momentarily communicates with Father and sings of returning home to Paradise. She asks her family “not to blame us, we were just human,” referring to her act of leaving the Garden with Adam, and the influence of one generation’s experience on their descendents.
In the second act, storytellers trace the line of Adam to Noah and his three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Father wants Noah to quickly finish building the ark, so he can flood the world and destroy the race of Cain. And so the saga of Noah and his family comes to life, with the plight of all animals hanging in the balance.
Dennis Nelson plays the Father in “Children of Eden.” In a true ecumenical spirit, Dennis has played God at Northside United Methodist Church and is a fixture with the Cathedral Players, having performed leading roles in many productions.
Nelson said he was truly inspired by the music in “Children of Eden” and that “Stephen Schwartz has written some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever been privileged to sing.”
Jim Walsh has the double role of Adam and Noah in “Children of Eden” and is an active member of Holy Cross Church, Atlanta, directing the band, choir and playing guitar there. This is the second time he has performed in the “Children of Eden” cast and said the show “appeals to audiences of all ages; parents find it particularly pertinent as it explores the relationship between parents and children and the struggle balancing love and security with independence.”
Suzanne Foy plays Eve and Mama Noah in “Children of Eden” and said that the show is entertaining for all.
“From the traditional love duets to a tap-dancing snake to a gospel celebration at the end of the flood—there’s an unbelievable variety of songs and dances for one show.”
Show times are as follows: April 20, 8 p.m.; April 21, 7 p.m.; April 22, 2 p.m.; April 27, 8 p.m.; and April 28, 7 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and children ages 10 and under.
To reserve tickets, send cash or a check to Christ the King Theatre Ministry, 2699 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA 30305. Tickets will be held at Will Call.
For more information about “Children of Eden,” call (404) 233-2145, ext.648, or visit www.christtheking-atl.org/cathedralplayers.html.