Children of Eden
Based on the story of Genesis, the age-old conflict of parents and children takes the stage in this epic, heartfelt Stephen Schwartz musical.
Show Essentials
11
Roles
+ Ensemble
PG
Rated
2
Acts

Full Synopsis

Act One

The story of Adam and Eve, Cain, and Abel

The musical begins in darkness. As the chorus of Storytellers describes the beginning of the world, when Father created the heavens, candles are lit around the stage. Father comes on and declares, "Let there be light." Father builds the world based on his dream ("Let There Be"). He creates Adam and Eve and gives them the Garden of Eden in which to live. Eden is a perfect place.

Eve wants to know about the glowing tree on top of the hill. Father tells them that it is the tree of knowledge and that they must never eat its fruit. Eve questions why Father put the tree there if it's not good. Father tells her to have faith in his reasons. To divert their attention away from the tree, Father asks Adam and Eve to help him name all of the animals. With the help of the Storytellers pretending to be animals, Adam, Eve and Father name the animals ("The Naming"). When that is done, Adam and Eve go to sleep as Father sings them a lullaby ("Grateful Children"). Father reflects on how well his universe turned out ("Father's Day"). Meanwhile, in the night, Adam and Eve kiss and realize that they are not brother and sister.

One day, Eve goes up to the tree of knowledge, and it enchants her. When she tries to show the tree to Adam, he is not interested and goes back to naming his bugs. However, Eve remains curious about the world beyond ("The Spark of Creation") A Snake comes up to Eve and asks her questions. Eve does not know the answers, but she is intrigued. The Snake convinces Eve to pursue knowledge and eat the fruit of the tree ("In Pursuit of Excellence"). Eve eats the fruit and tricks Adam into eating it by turning it into juice. When Adam realizes that they have eaten from the tree of knowledge, he and Eve hide from Father. Father calls to them, but Adam is ashamed. Unashamed, Eve tells Father that she understands her own potential. Father orders Eve to leave the garden and tells Adam that he will make him a better wife. Adam chooses to stay with Eve instead of staying in Eden ("A World without You"). Father exiles Adam and Eve to the wilderness ("The Expulsion").

Time passes as the Storytellers describe Adam and Eve's desolate new environment ("The Wasteland"). Eve gives birth to two sons, Cain and Abel. Adam prays to Father to be let them back into paradise. As the boys grow up, Cain becomes more curious about the world while Abel remains obedient to Adam. Eve worries that she has passed her hunger for knowledge onto Cain. Cain convinces Abel to leave their home to seek their own destinies out in the world ("Lost in the Wilderness"). Father comes upon Cain and Abel and tells them that he has placed his hope in them. Cain declares that he will find his own destiny without Father's help and storms off. Before he leaves, Father makes Abel promise that he won't tell Adam about the meeting and tells Abel that he is the only hope for the future. When Adam learns that Cain is gone, he curses him, but also remembers Cain and Abel playing childhood games ("Close to Home").

Cain returns and describes what he has found: "A Ring Of Stones," which means that Adam's family members are not the only people in the world. Adam thinks that the other people are barbarians and orders Cain never to speak of them again. However, Cain, wanting to be a part of a larger family, tries to leave, but Adam blocks his way. Abel tries to restrain Cain, but Cain kills him with a rock. Shouting to Adam that he should be dead, Cain runs off as Abel dies in Eve's arms. As Cain is running, Father appears before him and asks where his brother is. Cain asks if he is his brother's keeper. Father marks Cain's forehead and curses him and all of his children ("The Mark of Cain").

Eve comes out. She is now an old woman. Adam has died. She introduces her third son, Seth, who is married with children. Father returns to Eve and tells her that Cain is alive. Eve tries to ask more questions, but Father disappears. Eve gathers the grandchildren together and tells them that this is her last harvest. Eve and the company dream of the day when they will return to their true home, Paradise ("Children of Eden").

Act Two

The story of Noah and the flood

The act begins in light, a thousand years after Act One. The Storytellers come on and trace the line of Adam to Noah and his three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth ("Generations"). Father wants Noah to finish building the ark quickly, so that he can flood the world and destroy the line of Cain.

Meanwhile, Noah has other worries. His youngest son, Japheth, is not married. When Japheth announces that he will present his bride at dinner, Noah and the family eagerly prepare for the feast ("A Piece of Eight"). At the dinner, Japheth announces that he wishes to marry Yonah, the servant girl who bears the mark of Cain. Noah declares that it will not be possible because Father would disapprove. Japheth storms off just as animals start appearing on their way to the ark. Noah and his family try to organize the animals, but more and more keep boarding ("The Return of the Animals"). After everyone is on board the ark, Noah sees Yonah standing alone and apologizes that he can not take her with him. Yonah is left alone as the rain starts to fall and she prepares to go her own way ("Stranger to the Rain"). Japheth finds Yonah, states that Father is wrong and hides Yonah in the ark. They declare their love for one another ("In Whatever Time We Have"). As Japheth pulls Yonah into the ark, "The Flood" begins as Father sends down more rain.

The rain continues for forty days and forty nights. With food running out, Noah and his family begin having cabin fever as they anxiously wait for the rain to stop ("What Is He Waiting For?"). Yonah, worried that she is the reason that the rains have not stopped, sends a dove to find land ("Sailor of the Skies"). Shem and Ham find Yonah on the ark. Ham fetches Noah, who is very displeased with the situation. Shem tries to throw Yonah overboard. Japheth runs on to stop him, but Noah blocks his way and pushes him away. A fight ensues. Japheth almost kills Ham, but Yonah stands in his way. Japheth backs off. Mama Noah speaks up, and the children leave her alone with Noah. Noah reveals to her that Father no longer speaks to him. Mama Noah tells him that he must be the Father now. Alone, Noah reflects on the difficulty of being a father to a son who makes his own choices ("The Hardest Part of Love"). Hearing Noah, Father realizes that he has to let humanity choose its own destiny.

Noah marries Japheth to Yonah. The dove returns with an olive branch, and the stars come out. Mama Noah celebrates their new hope with the Storytellers ("Ain't It Good"). The sun shines, and the ark lands at Mount Ararat. The three sons decide to travel in different directions, each with a different animal. Japheth announces that he will search for Eden. Noah says goodbye to his children. Father promises not to destroy the earth again and to let humanity take responsibility for its own fate ("In the Beginning").

Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Flexible Cast Size
Cast Type: Children
Dance Requirements: None

Character Breakdown

Ensemble
Family Members; Children; Storytellers
Father
An older looking, impressive man. A true father figure, he wants the best for all of his children but parents with a firm hand. Protective, loving, and reminiscent of God.
Gender: male
Age: 35 to 55
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Adam / Noah
Adam: Eve's bright and childlike partner. He is initially devout to Father and loving to his wife & children. Later plagued by guilt. Hard-working and reserved. Noah: rough but simple. He is unsophisticated and shrewd, but also warm and loyal. He builds the ark to save his family and honor Father.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Eve / Mama
Eve: curious and questioning, smart and excited. Chose an imperfect life of knowledge over a perfect life of innocence. Mama: Noah's wife and inherently motherly. She possesses a gentle strength, is reassuring, and serves as the mediator of the family.
Gender: female
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Cain / Japheth
Cain: Abel's older, adventurous brother. Follows in his mother's footsteps and longs for the companionship of other humans. He is strong, stubborn, and independent. Japeth: in love with Yonah and is willing to sacrifice his life to be with her. He is Noah's youngest son. Clever, rebellious, stubborn.
Gender: male
Age: 18 to 25
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Abel / Ham
Abel: Cain's younger and more conservative brother who follows the "rules". He chooses his parents over Cain. Ham: Japeth's middle brother and Aphra's husband. He is not as docile as Japheth, nor as hot headed as Shem. Looks up to and follows Shem's lead.
Gender: male
Age: 18 to 30
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Seth / Shem
Seth: Adam and Eve's third son and their family's second chance at life. He is innocently adventurous. Shem: the oldest of Noah's three sons. Married to Aysha, he is impulsive, strong, and hot-tempered.
Gender: male
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Aphra
Ham's pregnant wife. Longs for the flood to be over and is constantly worrying.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Aysha
Shem's wife. Cynically bitter and constantly accusing those aboard the ark.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Yonah
Noah's servant who falls in love with Japheth and becomes his wife. A descendent of Cain. She is strong, yet humble, kind, and smart.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Young Cain
The older of the two brothers. Is curious and questioning like his mother. Intense.
Gender: male
Age: 10 to 13
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Young Abel
The younger of the two brothers. Favors his father in personality. Obedient and devout.
Gender: male
Age: 8 to 11
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Full Song List
Children Of Eden: Let There Be
Children Of Eden: The Tree Of Knowledge
Children Of Eden: The Naming
Children Of Eden: Grateful Children
Children Of Eden: Father's Day
Children Of Eden: Perfect, Part II
Children Of Eden: The Spark Of Creation
Children Of Eden: In Pursuit Of Excellence
Children Of Eden: The End Of A Perfect Day
Children Of Eden: Childhood's End
Children Of Eden: A World Without You
Children Of Eden: The Expulsion
Children Of Eden: Wasteland
Children Of Eden: The Spark Of Creation (Reprise)
Children Of Eden: Lost In The Wilderness
Children Of Eden: Close To Home
Children Of Eden: A Ring Of Stones
Children Of Eden: Death Of Abel
Children Of Eden: The Mark Of Cain
Children Of Eden: Children Of Eden
Children Of Eden: Generations
Children Of Eden: The Gathering Storm
Children Of Eden: A Piece Of Eight
Children Of Eden: The Return Of The Animals
Children Of Eden: Stranger To The Rain
Children Of Eden: In Whatever Time We Have
Children Of Eden: The Flood
Children Of Eden: What Is He Waiting For?
Children Of Eden: Sailor Of The Skies
Children Of Eden: The Hardest Part Of Love
Children Of Eden: Words Of Doom
Children Of Eden: The Hour Of Darkness
Children Of Eden: Ain't It Good
Children Of Eden: Precious Children
Children Of Eden: In The Beginning

Show History

Inspiration

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.

Productions

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.

Trivia

  • 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.

Critical Reaction

"An expansive, ambitious musical – a rich score [with] pageantry and sweep."
– L.A. Times

"An affectionate show with a large heart – Stylish, entertaining and often moving."
– Roanoke Times

Connect

Billing

Based on a concept by Charles Lisanby

Requirements

You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.
CHILDREN OF EDEN
(100%)
Book by
Music and Lyrics by
JOHN CAIRD
(50%)
STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
(50%)
Based on a concept by Charles Lisanby
(25%)
 
Orchestrations by
Bruce Coughlin and Martin Erskine
(16.67%)
 
“Based on a concept by Charles Lisanby” shall be 50% of the Composer/Lyricist and Bookwriter’s size, and on the title page of all programs and published versions, on houseboards and wherever billing includes production designers.
The Composer/Lyricist and Bookwriter are to receive billing credit no less than 50% of the title in all forms of publicity and advertising under the control of the Producer where and whenever the title of the Play appears. The names of the Composer/Lyricist and Bookwriter shall be equal in size, type, coloring, boldness and prominence. No billing shall appear in type larger or more prominent than the billing to the Composer/Lyricist and Bookwriter except for the title of the Play.
Orchestrator credits goes wherever the production designers are credited, in 1/3 the size of the Composer/Lyricist and Bookwriter’s credits.
SHORTENED BILLING: In ads of 1/4 page size or less, or where only the title of the play, performance dates and venue are provided, the following "shortened billing" is permissible:
CHILDREN OF EDEN
The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK25
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE ACT 12
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE ACT 22
STUDY GUIDE1

Production Resources

Resource
FULL SCORE VOL. 1 OF 4
FULL SCORE VOL. 2 OF 4
FULL SCORE VOL. 3 OF 4
FULL SCORE VOL. 4 OF 4
KEYBOARD PATCH SOLUTIONS
LOGO PACK
LOGO PACK DIGITAL
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT MEDIUM
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT SMALL
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT X-LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT XX-LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD MEDIUM
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD SMALL
OCTAVO EDITION
PERFORMANCE ACCOMPANIMENT RECORDING
PRODUCTIONPRO
REFERENCE RECORDING
REHEARSAL ACCOMPANIMENT RECORDING
REHEARSCORE APP
REHEARSCORE+
STAGE MANAGER SCRIPT
TRANSPOSITIONS-ON-DEMAND
VIRTUAL STAGE MANAGER

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
BASS
CELLO
DRUMSANKLUNG , CHINESE CYMBAL , DUMBEK , FINGER CYMBAL , KIT , MARK TREE , SHAKER , SUSPENDED CYMBAL , TAM-TAM , TRIANGLE , WOOD BLOCK
ERRATA LIST
GUITARACOUSTIC GUITAR , ELECTRIC GUITAR , MANDOLIN
GUITAR 2ACOUSTIC GUITAR , ELECTRIC GUITAR
HORN
KEYBOARD 1
KEYBOARD 2
KEYBOARD 3
PERCUSSION
REED 1ALTO SAXOPHONE , CLARINET , FLUTE , PICCOLO
REED 2BASS CLARINET , CLARINET , TENOR SAXOPHONE
REED 3CLARINET , ENGLISH HORN , OBOE , TENOR SAXOPHONE