BWW Review: CHILDREN OF EDEN at Ridgedale Players Sparks Imaginations with a Creative Retelling of the Genesis Story
Many of us are familiar with the story of Genesis, but have you ever seen it performed on stage? Whether or not you have, the perfect opportunity to do so is at Ridgedale Players, where Children of Eden is playing until March 22nd*. With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (yes, that one) and a book by John Caird, Children of Eden is a creative take on the Genesis story from the Old Testament (or as I know it by, the Torah).
Act one of Children of Eden deals with the story of creation as well as Adam and Eve, while act two is all about Noah's ark. Both stories rely entirely on the theme of family and its significance in difficult situations, something that ties the two acts together to make one cohesive work of art. It's important to note that, despite the fact that it has inherently religious content, Children of Eden is a great show for people of all backgrounds.
While these stories that are ingrained are certainly compelling, what I was most drawn to ended up being the music and the singing talents of the cast. Highlights for me included "The Spark of Creation," the act one solo sung by Alexa Carollo as Eve, and "Stranger to the Rain," an act two solo sung by Celine Barron as Yonah. The former song was performed with Carollo's electric stage presence that uplifted the scene every time she was on stage as Eve. With the latter, Barron portrayed Yonah's pain with a delicate, yet powerful, voice. These two songs were my favorite of the whole show, and considering the rest of it had incredible music as well (as one can expect from a Schwartz musical), I hope you can see for yourself just how otherworldly gorgeous the music in this show is.
Considering this was very much an ensemble piece, it would be unjust to omit praise for the entire cast. They work with each other so well that you really end up picturing these actors as the people whom they're playing. That, and sheer talent, is always the sign of a great cast. Ridgedale Players consistently has both, which I can always appreciate.
One more aspect I adored from Children of Eden at Ridgedale was the creativity when it came to direction. Within the playbill, you can read the director's note written by Director/Choreographer Lindsey Brenz. While reading it, it's easy to see how important this show is to Brenz, and it shows in the final piece. She understands the significant themes of the show and highlights them with staging and the overall tone, which makes this beautiful show even more memorable.
*Unfortunately, due to the virus virus, Ridgedale has opted to cancel their performances this weekend (March 13th through 15th). For further updates, please see their Facebook page.
Children of Eden is (supposed to be) running at Troy's Ridgedale Players through March 22nd. For more information, visit ridgedaleplayers.com.