Show History



The musical is based on the the book of Genesis, which has confounded and mystified artists for thousands of years. Composer and lyricist, Stephen Schwartz, was not immune to its pull; Schwartz "was intrigued with doing a show about second chances and learning from past mistakes."

Schwartz had the idea for Children of Eden when he was approached about writing a show based on the book of Genesis, spanning creation to the end of the Flood. In the summer of 1986, Schwartz wrote an oratorio of eleven songs, entitled Family Tree for a Youth Sing Praise program in St. Louis. Director/librettist, John Caird, came on board, and Children of Eden was born.


Children of Eden was initially being developed in workshop at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Composer, Stephen Schwartz, had gone to London at the request of director/librettist, John Caird, but, while working on the show, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher slashed the theatre company's budget, forcing the cancellation of their season and the elimination of all developmental funding. A decision was eventually made to open the show directly in the West End, where it premiered on January 8, 1991. Later, Schwartz admitted that the production was "like staging a first draft... we just weren't ready for a commercial production." With mixed reviews and a decline in tourism because of the Gulf War, the production shuttered after only three months. It closed on April 6, 1991.

Following the closing, Schwartz began to tweak and rework the musical through various regional productions across the U.S. In 1997, New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse mounted a reworked version to much success. The cast featured Stephanie Mills and Adrian Zmed, and spawned a two-disc cast recording. In December of 2003, Children of Eden arrived in New York City as a one-night-only, all-star benefit concert.

Children of Eden was also featured in the Festival of New Musicals sponsored by the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. NAMT has nurtured the creation, development, production and presentation of new musicals since 1985.


  • The acclaimed Paper Mill Playhouse production of Children of Eden used several children in the chorus, who played many of the animals by means of puppetry, costumes and masks.