I spend a couple weekends ago seeing Children of Eden at Trietsch.… three times. Therefore, I feel like I’m somewhat qualified to write a review on it. So let’s jump right in.
For those who didn’t see it, Children of Eden is a musical written by Stephen Schwartz about Adam and Eve, the fall, Cain and Abel and Noah and the ark. Stephen Schwartz is literally amazing; he’s also written Pippin’, Godspell, Wicked, and many more. In his Biblical musicals he doesn’t write them perfectly in line with the Bible, but the changes he makes are always meaningful and add so much to the story. Godspell, for example, is a lot about twisting the Bible for our 21st century minds to comprehend in a different way. Children of Eden is a bit different but still has that creative interpretation. For example, Adam didn’t eat the apple before Father came and they hid. This left room for a song called “A World Without You”. Adam has to choose between staying in the garden forever with Father or being banished with his wife Eve. Later, this song returns when Abel has to decide if he should stay with his parents or go with Cain to find wives since they found people (this also didn’t happen in the Bible). The song is sung again when Noah has to choose rather he sacrifices his son because he snuck a Canaanite women on board the ark or if he allows them to get married (Also something that didn’t happen in the Bible). While these things aren’t historically accurate, it gave Schwartz room to fit this song that becomes a major theme throughout the show.
Okay now that I’ve shared my two cents on the script let’s get into the actual show. It was absolutely amazing. The first night I went I didn’t have the best seats so I couldn’t see much of what was going on, but man oh man was I blown away. The group numbers were so powerful and the scenes with the leads were intense and flowed so naturally that I forgot I was watching a musical. The actors were incredible, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them end up on broadway someday. Adam and Eve were absolutely remarkable, they had great chemistry and their songs were amazing. I really enjoyed watching the Cain and Abel scenes as well, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time they were on stage. Also the guy who played Cain can belt like nobody’s business and I enjoyed his songs a lot. Noah and Mama were also just astounding. I’m running out of adjectives to describe this show and its actors but man they were amazing. The lady who played Mama was sick the last show and could barely sing but she powered through so well and still sounded fantastic. Also Father was one of my favorite people to watch, he was onstage basically the entire show and I liked to watch his reactions to the scenes. He was in character the entire time and he reacted to everything going on. Also his voice… again incredible.
The second night I was fortunate to get some better seats (thanks Evan) and again….blown away. It was like a whole new show in the front, everything was so intimate and close. I also started comprehending the lyrics and lines and connecting them to other parts of the show. I think that’s really was made the show enjoyable for me, everything has such deep meaning and it was so cool to make connections to different parts of the script. Like in the beginning (ha ha) Eve says the word beyond to describe the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The word was used in more of a dark sense because it was describing the tree they weren’t allowed to eat from. It wasn’t until the second show I saw a pattern of lyrics and dialogue when characters described things they shouldn’t be doing or things that didn’t line up with God’s will with the word beyond. This is such a minor detail that I totally geeked out about but I really loved it.
By the third night, I had the majority of the show memorized and I was in this sort of weird musical theatre coma and I had no idea what was going on. I kept forgetting I was in public so I’d start singing and then get embarrassed because… you know… I was in public. The cast was just as stunning as the last two times I saw them (despite sickness which they all powered through), I became oddly interested in the “Ba ba bum bum ba ba ba bum” the guys sing in piece of eight. I guess that’s what musical theatre comas do to you.
One of my favorite scenes to watch was “The Naming” and “Return of the Animals” which is where Adam and Eve name the animals and where the animals come to get on the ark. It was super cool, several actors wore white masked shaped as animal faces and moved like that animal. I loved Mr. Parsons as the dinosaur, he was a perfect dinosaur and no one could ever “out dinosaur” him. I got sneezed on my a giraffe… so that was cool. The actors were completely committed to the animal they were portraying which was very entertaining
Over all, I really loved this show, the script, the music, the actors, the choreography, everything. If they had a second weekend I would’ve been there. I thought it was so cool that I just happened to be reading through the stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel and Noah in my Bible study right before this show. It was a complete coincidence but I’m so glad my Bible study lined up that way so that I could get more historical context on this true, powerful and relevant story of creation, why humans will never be perfect, and the pattern of sin every generation falls into. As of today, I’m almost done with Genesis and I’m still seeing the theme that Children of Eden portrayed so well; humans are and always will be sinful, but the only way to overcome that sin is through accepting Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and asking for forgiveness. We take for granted how lucky we are to be living under the new covenant -- the promise, made between us and God, that he will forgive sin and restore fellowship with those whose hearts are turned toward him.