The recent Chicago concert performances of Stephen Schwartz and John Caird's Children of Eden will stream, with a premiere date to be announced. Directed by Derek Van Barham, the staged concert was performed at the Cadillac Palace Theatre October 15.
The cast was led by Grammy Award-winning recording artist and Broadway alum Michelle Williams as Eve and Mama Noah, Broadway Les Misérables star Randal Keith as Father, The Voice finalist Koryn Hawthorne as Yonah, gospel music artist David Phelps as Adam/Noah, and YouTube creator and music artist Sam Tsui as Cain/Japheth, alongside Chris Graham as Abel/Ham, Donica Lynn as Aphra, Darian Goulding as Seth/Shem, and Rhealee Fernandez as Aysha.
Rounding out the company in the ensemble were Abbey Loria, Adia Bell, Ariana Burks, Caitlin Dobbins, Dana Norris, DeAndre Simmons, Dominic Rescigno, Haley Gustafson, Ivory Leonard, Emily Holland, Kevin Kuska, Luke Cloherty, Luke Halpern, Luke Nowakowski, Marina Magnelli, Natalie Stahl, Natalie Welch, Nick Schrier, Rachel Thomas, Shea Hopkins, and Wesly Anthony.
The production featured choreography by Nicholas Ranauro, music direction by Heidi Joosten, lighting and sound by Midwest Event Solutions, projection design by Cinevative, hair by Keith Ryan, costumes by Jeremy Swanton, and make-up by Sydney Genco. Ian Connor was production stage manager, and the concert was produced by Chicagoland Theatre Fund and Onesti Entertainment, with Kyle Reid Hass serving as artistic producer.
Based on the book of Genesis, Children of Eden has a book by Caird and a score by Schwartz and provides a unique telling of the story of creation through the epic of Noah and the flood. The musical had its world premiere in London's West End in 1991, later playing in a revised form at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse in 1997. Though the musical has not yet made it to Broadway, it has become a favorite at regional theatres, schools, and churches. The score includes such Schwartz favorites as "The Spark of Creation," "Lost in the Wilderness," "Stranger to the Rain," and "In Whatever Time We Have."
The Chicago concerts had been in the works since 2020, originally announced for summer 2020 with a different creative team and cast. Following the onset of COVID-19, the concert was postponed to August 2021. This date was also postponed.
Plans are afoot for the concert to be followed by a Broadway-aimed full production in Chicago in 2023, with details and dates to be announced.
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