Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Children of Eden
The Ford's Theatre production of the musical Children of Eden is truly a feast for the eyes. It is one part musical and one part Cirque du Soleil. In addition to all its visual delights, Children of Eden has a wonderful score by Stephen Schwartz, who is currently enjoying success on Broadway with his newest musical, Wicked. Children of Eden's book by John Caird is equally strong.
Children of Eden recreates the story of Adam and Eve, their sons Cain and Abel, as well as the tale of Noah and his ark. It is the story of the birth of humanity and the significance of family.
This musical is done on a grand scale and in some ways is reminiscent of The Lion King to a lesser degree. The set designed by James Leonard Joy consists of a massive mountain-like staircase. Diane Ferry Williams has designed lighting that is colorful and dramatic. The costumes by Mariann Verheyen are primitive with a splash of color.
Acting as director and choreographer, David H. Bell does a superb job. The choreography is incredibly creative. His movements require not only skilled dancers but apt gymnasts. His direction is purposeful and he makes good use of the set.
The show features a first-rate cast that features Bradley Dean as Father. Dean exhibits a formidable presence with a voice to match. Joe Cassidy as both Adam and Noah also shows off a fine voice as well as excellent acting chops. He truly makes one care about his characters. Becca Ayers is Eve to Cassidy's Adam. She also portrays Noah's wife. Ayers displays an immense amount of range throughout the piece and has a voice that simply soars.
André Garner makes a compelling Cain and a sympathetic Japheth. He has an incredibly powerful voice and uses it well. Nicholas Belton also serves double duty as Abel and Ham. As Abel, he conveys a boyish quality that works very well.
This production of Children of Eden will appeal to all ages. It communicates some very basic messages while speaking to the child in all of us. Children of Eden runs at Ford's Theatre through June 6th.
Cast List (in alphabetical order)
Becca Ayers: Eve/Mama
Miles Butler, Jermaine Crawford, Brian Jordan Riemer, Nadia Danielle Ross: Children/Storytellers