One Night Only Concert Of CHILDREN OF EDEN Closes Applause Series At Olney
The inaugural season of Olney Theatre's Center's Applause Concert Series comes to a close Friday, July 26 at 8:00pm with a one-night-only performance of Children of Eden, a lesser-known work by Stephen Schwartz, the creator of such hits as Wicked, Pippin and Godspell. The concert, featuring a full cast of DC luminaries and a large on-stage orchestra is directed by Kevin McAllister who pulls double duty, also acting and singing the role of The Father. Christopher Youstra, Olney Theatre's Associate Artistic Director/Director of Music Theatre and the series curator serves as music director and conductor.
Tickets are $60 and can be purchased online at olneytheatre.org/applause.
Children of Eden has a twisty production history that has not, to date, included Broadway. Despite that, the show has acquired cult status -- it premiered on London's West End, but closed soon after, damaged by the collapse of tourism in the wake of the first Gulf War. Subsequent productions and concert versions have been treated like the sighting of a rare bird. While it is popular on the community theatre and school play circuit, it is still very rare to hear a fully orchestrated and professionally sung version.
"I believe this is Stephen Schwartz's best score. Already a master of music theatre, he's put together a glorious work of eclectic musical styles celebrating stories of our humanity. It's really beautiful. And it's based on a bestseller! It's really an under-appreciated work," says Christopher Youstra.
In addition to Kevin McAllister (Elf the Musical) as the Father, Jay Frisby (Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical) plays Adam and Awa Sal Secka (Avenue Q) plays Eve. Their problematic children Cain and Abel are played by Michael J. Mainwaring and Hasani Allen. Calvin Malone plays Seth. Christopher Michael Richardson and Rayanne Gonzales play Noah and Mama Noah, while Ryan Burke, Andre Hinds and Connor James Reilly play their children. Other members of the ensemble include Michelle E. Carter, Sylvern Groomes, Ashleigh King, Hailey Ibberson, Quynh-My Luu, Camryn Shegogue, Meredith Eib, Chris Rudy, and Tiziano D'Affuso.
The Applause Series will return in the 2019-2020 Season with concert versions of The Kiss of the Spider Woman, Dessa Rose, and Brigadoon.