Opening on Thursday, May 15 on the GHS main stage, Children of Eden, is a unique pick.
Director, Patricia Cirigliano and the cast invite the community to sit back, relax and be transported into the perfect world of Eden.
Director Cirigliano describes Stephen Schwartz’s musical as a journey from the creation of the world through the time of Noah’s Ark. But it’s not merely a Biblical tale.
Cirigliano explains, “Children of Eden explores what it means to be a father, or by extension, a parent. Father creates Adam and Eve to keep him company and worship him. He creates Eden, the perfect garden, for his children. Every parent envisions creating a perfect life for his perfect child.”
As every parent learns, there is no perfect child or rule book that guarantees a perfect world for your child.
Adam and Eve are not content in Eden, and, like all children, they question, explore and test the limits of their world. Curios Eve disobeys and disappoints her Father. When she is banished from Eden, Adam makes the heartbreaking choice to go with Eve, his love, rather than stay with his Father.
In many ways, said Cirigliano, Children of Eden is a coming of age story about young people defining themselves and choosing paths their parents don’t approve of. As one of the most poignant songs in the production goes, “The hardest part of love is the letting go.”
This is true for the Father, Adam, Noah and, certainly, of parents in general. Parents watch children sit up, crawl, walk, run, and go to their first day of school. Later there are proms, graduations and weddings. “But it can also be bittersweet,” said Cirigliano. “Children miss the innocence of childhood when they are grown and parents miss the baby they held in their arms.”
In the musical, Noah accepts Japheth’s choice of bride, rather than disowning him. “Noah heals his family through forgiveness and tolerance,” said Cirigliano. The bility to choose freely resonates in the show’s final song: Our hand can choose to stop the knife. Our hearts can choose to stop the hating. For every moment of our life is the beginning.
The theme of fresh starts is uplifting. The idea that children are not defined by their parents or their lineage, but rather can define themselves through their choices is powerful in a high school setting, according to Cirigliano.
“Students are trying to figure out who they are as a teenager, student, child and an individual. Schwartz’s message is powerfully resonant. Life is a choice,” she said, quoting a song: “It is not written in the stars. It’s in our hands.”
At a time when life can seem overwhelming, the message of Children of Eden is empowering, according to Cirigliano. “There is not one path but many. As you journey with us through tonight’s show, perhaps you will think about your own grandparents, parents and children. Perhaps the songs will touch your heart as deeply as it has touched ours.”
Children of Eden Cast List
- Father Santiago MacLean
- Adam Alan Harvey
- Eve Sarah Zygmont
- Snake Henry Cohen, Fernando Collada, Carly Polistina, Andrew Schenck, Natalie Wallington
- Young Cain Kristen Ragusa
- Young Abel Annie Martino
- Cain Oliver Prose
- Abel Axel Mark
- Seth Eamon Cartine
- Seth’s Wife Audrey Sherr
- Noah Colin Lauritano
- Mama Noah Elizabeth Budinoff
- Ham Jack Ullrich
- Ham’s Wife Courtney Hanley
- Shem Chris DeSantis
- Shem’s Wife Valentina Ruiz-Jimenez
- Japeth Oliver Prose
- Yonah Patty Kohn
Storytellers Kelley Alogna, Grace Barber, Ian Bouslough, Michael Busani, Isabelle Carter, Peter Ferrarese, Gabby Finkelstein, Melissa Fraoli, Will Freder, Nick Kach, Matt Kramer Sarah Mathes, Logan Muskus, Ian White
Dance Soloists Maddie English, Kristen Ragusa, Cayla Smith, Cara Williams
Featured Dancers Corrine Celia, Paige Edmonds, Jean Gordon, Amelia Hurst, Eden Kaufman, Katie Lawrie, Rosario Martella, Marina Pipher, Cate Soler, Valeria Toro
Ensemble: Jenny Alogna, Amanda Brea, Emily Bass, Sam Carbino, Jenna Conti, Lizzy Jones, Lacey Kennedy, Maxine King, Kiyana Marsh, Isabel Martinez, Megan Muratore, Amaia Rioseco, Monica Stevenson
Children’s Ensemble: Sabina Csak, Steven Csak, Carlos Flores, Marisol Flores, Clara MacLean, Christopher Munoz, Sofia Munoz, Abby Parsons, Carly Samalin, Gianna Schiavone, Georgia Sherr, Maggie Ullrich