Musical (1991)

Musique: Stephen Schwartz
Paroles: Stephen Schwartz
Livret: John Caird
Production à la création:

Freely based on the story of Genesis, CHILDREN OF EDEN is a frank, heartfelt and often humorous examination of the age-old conflict between parents and children. Adam, Eve, Noah and the "Father" who created them deal with the headstrong, cataclysmic actions of their respective children. The show ultimately delivers a bittersweet but inspiring message: that "the hardest part of love... is letting go."

Acte I (Version américaine au Paper Mill Playhouse)
The play opens with the creation story from the Book of Genesis ((Let There Be). Eve 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, 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).

Acte 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 and Ham), have wives, but his youngest son, Japheth, 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. 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).

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 in Belleville, Illinois. 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 (RSC) workshop, directed by John Caird, and starring Ken Page as Father, Richard Lloyd-King as Snake, Martin Smith as Adam, Shezwae Powell as Eve, Adrian Beaumont as Cain, Kevin Colson as Noah, Earlene Bentley as Mama Noah, Frances Ruffelle as Yonah, Anthony Barclay as Japeth, Craig Pinder as Shem, Ray Shell as Ham, Hiromi Itoh as Aysha and Ruthie Henshall as Aphra. After the RSC's budget was cut, it opened at the Prince Edward Theatre in London's West End on January 8, 1991. The show closed on April 6, 1991 to poor reviews and after the Persian Gulf War 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", 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 in Millburn, New Jersey, featuring Stephanie Mills. A cast recording 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 and Kate Shindle. The concert featured Julia Murney, Norm Lewis, Darius de Haas, and Jai Rodriguez 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 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.

1991 Prince Edward Theatre Production)
Acte 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
Acte 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)
Acte 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

Acte 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

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Children of Eden

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Children of Eden

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.

Version 1

Children of Eden (1991-01-Prince Edward Theatre-London)

Type de série: Original
Théâtre: Prince Edward Theatre (Londres - Angleterre)

Durée : 2 mois 3 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première: 08 January 1991
Dernière: 06 April 1991
Mise en scène : John Caird
Chorégraphie : Matthew Bourne
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Ken Page {God), Martin Smith (Adam), Shezwae Powell (Eve), Richard Lloyd-King (Snake), Adrian Beaumont {Cain), Kevin Colson {Noah), Ruthie Henshall, Frances Ruffelle
Commentaires : 'The opening of Children of Eden in the West End of London coincided with the start of war with Iraq and one of the worst slumps in audience attendence in recent years; as a result this spectacular musical was unable to find its audience.
Mais ce n'est pas le seul problème…
A “new biblical musical” told the story of the Old Testament from the Creation until just after the Flood. In a kind of throwback to the earlier success of Stephen Schwartz’s “Godspell”, the characters appeared in cute costumes, some of them appearing as cute, furry little animals. God and Eve were portrayed as jolly black performers, and Cain’s slaying of Abel was performed “in the humdrum context of a family spat”. The scenery was domed scaffolding, with disco and laser effects, and according to one critic: “The Garden of Eden was decorated in tatty hanging drapes and was like unto the current state of Liberty’s in its carpet and fabric sales department”. With very mixed critical reaction, the general cry was “Where is the nearest Exodus”? The show lost all its investment and closed after ten weeks.
Presse : Daily Telegraph: 'Neither a triumphant success or ghastly failure' - '...fervently uplifting ballads' - '...animals presented most imaginatively thanks largely to Richard Sharples's witty costumes and Matthew Bourne's inventive choreography. The giraffes are especially enchanting' - 'Adrian Beaumont is excellent as Cain, Earlene Bentley stops the show after the flood has subsided with 'Ain't it Good'' - 'Children of Eden is mildly and fitfully entertaining'

Guardian: ' amiable well directed piece of biblical storytelling but one that lacks a big idea' - 'Several of his 21 songs fall pleasantly on the ear. What his score lacks is a consistency of idiom; thus we get a 30's tea dance number from the snake, a forties close harmony routine from Noah's offspring, a sixties disco swinger from Ham and Company and a periodless hot gospel number from Mama Noah' - 'Best features of the evening are, in fact, John Caird's production and John Napier's design concept'

Daily Express
'Schwartz's music was pleasant but unmemorable, though the voices were heavenly and he might have a psychedelic hit with 'Generations' - 'It has energy, superb choreography and some spectacular moments, especially when the chorus dressed up as animals' -

The Times
'Napier has indeed designed a staggering transformation, in which the stage as we know it has disappeared altogether, replaced by a huge arched space with 2 long galleries all around the stage floor' - 'There is no doubt that it is a remarkable spectacle' - 'Although it may be called to question artistically and spritually, it has all the hallmarks of a major popular success. Dreary it most certainly is not'

Herald Tribune
'There are one or two good numbers and some equally strong performances from Kevin Colson as Noah, Ken Page as a huge black God and Frances Ruffelle as the girl thrown of the ark for having the wrong parentage' - 'Not so much a plot show as a ecumenical revivalist pageant, it has a splendid set by John napier and several ingenious animal acts'

Plays and Players:
'The plot is a glutinous mixture of coyness and over simplification that makes the insulting platitudes of Miss Saigon look profound' - '...the cast don a variety of magnificent skeletal animal costumes, the beasts are truly amazing creations' - '...spectacular upbeat 'Generations' sung marvellously by Ray Shell's Ham'

'Schwartz's musical score though laced with attractive if derivative gospel 'Godspell' and swing numbers is let down by hugly variable lyrics' - 'Richard Sharples's ingenious animal costumes and John Napier's two tiered set are inspired' - 'I expect it will run for much the same reasons as Starlight Express' (Not a compliment then !!)

Independent on Sunday:
'As a drama its a shambles, musically a ragbag, there's no sex, no wit. It has a huge all singing, all dancing cast and some nice leading actors - Kevin Colson and Frances Ruffelle - and some visual tricks' -

Daily Mail
'However, there is spectacle in plenty and talent too with this multi racial cast' - 'A touching and effective Yonah from Frances Ruffelle who managed to flesh out the rough and ready routine love interest on the ark with sincerity -

'...and we heard and saw that Shezwae was beautiful and the best thing in the show..... And the name of Japheth was Anthony Barclay and he was the second best thing' - What's On '...I approached Children of Eden with some trepidation but, wonder of wonders I do believe I enjoyed Stephen Schwartz's latest entry into the musical stakes' - 'With Children of Eden I have to admit he has done a thoroughly professional job of adapting the first book of the Bible, apart from a few quibbles, has produced a successful musical' - 'Where there is a lightness of touch the show scores brillantly. It is not afraid to have a sense of humour and even in the sombre second half there's a joyous opening chorus entitled 'Generations' - 'The way the team created the animals for the ark scene is brillantly imaginable and totally believable. It is stunningly well staged and it is a element of surprise that is always there that makes it an attraction' - 'Whatever secret the show has for its success I have to admit it is certainly in every way better than either Cats or Les Miserables and as they are going to run for ever, Children of Eden could well be in the same league as these perennial hits'

Version 2

Children of Eden (1997-11-Paper Mill Playhouse-Milburn)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Paper Mill Playhouse (Milburn - Etats-Unis)
Durée : 1 mois 1 semaine
Nombre :
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première: 05 November 1997
Dernière: 14 December 1997
Mise en scène : Robert Johanson
Chorégraphie : Dawn DiPasquale
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Father … William Solo
Eve/Mama Noah … Stephanie Mills
Adam/Noah … Adrian Zmed
Cain/Japheth … Darius de Haas
Abel/Ham … Hunter Foster
Seth/Shem … Vincent D'Elia
Yonah … Kelli Rabke
Aysha … Emy Baysic
Aphra … Sheetal Gandhi
Seth's Wife … Susan Pfau

Version 3

Children of Eden (2000-02-Landor Theatre-London)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Landor Theatre (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée : 3 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : 10 February 2000
Première: 10 February 2000
Dernière: 04 March 2000
Mise en scène : Sue Colgrave
Chorégraphie : Adeen Ashton
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Stuart Liddle (God), Ian Brandon (Adam), Melitsa Nicola (Eve), Nikki Tate (Snake), Stephen Lloyd-Morgan (Cain), David O’Dell (Noah), Matt Dineen (Japheth), Leigh-Ann Stone (Mama Noah)
Commentaires : Nine years earlier this show had flopped in the West End, with one critic wise-cracking “Excuse me, where’s the nearest Exodus?”. This fringe revival did not fare any better, being described as a strange, rather dull musical, and the remark “like any good musical, this one needs a good book rather than simply plundering the Good Book itself.”

Version 4

Children of Eden (2016-08-Union Theatre-London)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Union Theatre (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée : 1 mois
Nombre :
Première Preview : 10 August 2016
Première: 10 August 2016
Dernière: 10 September 2016
Mise en scène : Christian Durham
Chorégraphie : Lucie Pankhurst
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Natasha O'Brien (Eve/Mama), Stehen Barry (Adam/Noah), Joey Dexter (Father), Samantha Giffard (Aysha), Guy Woolf (Cain/Japeth), Nikita Johal (Yonah), Susie Chaytow (Aphra), Daniel Miles (Abel/Ham), Kris Marc-Joseph (Seth/Shem), Verity Burgess (Storyteller), Gabriel Mokake (Snake)

 Pas encore de video disponible pour ce spectacle