Stephen Schwartz's musical Children Of Eden is getting a production at Daytona Beach's Seaside Music Theatre, with the composer expected to attend opening night in Florida, July 17.
Schwartz wrote the biblical musical in 1989, during the period between Rags and Pocahontas. Unlike those two projects, he wrote music and lyrics for this retelling of the Noah story, just as he did in the Godspell and Pippin days. John Caird, director of the Royal Shakespeare Company's recent Midsummer Night's Dream, is the librettist.
Since premiering in London in 1991, the show has never come to New York City, though it's received regional (and revised) productions at Massachusetts, Virginia, Kansas and Millburn, NJ.
"I think it's the best show I've ever done and I just want to get it right," said Schwartz in a statement before the recent Paper Mill Playhouse remounting (which was captured on CD by RCA Victor). At Seaside, the show runs through Aug. 11.
Spokesperson Fern Matthews noted that the theatre would hold nightly quizzes in the lobby where patrons young and old could win such prizes as t-shirts and trips to Disneyland. Said Matthews, "Schools in the area had their children design the questions on topics of general interest. For example, the third graders would write questions for younger viewers, while higher up on the tree, the questions get trickier." Asked about persistent rumors that Children of Eden was wending its way to New York, Matthews said, "Well, I wouldn't be surprised. We are a pretty sophisticated regional theatre, and we do big productions. I imagine one reason Stephen is coming out here is to see how Eden would play on this scale.
Schwartz will also continue his relationship with Seaside next season when they mount his collaboration with Charles Strouse, Rags.
For tickets ($21-$25) and information on Children of Eden call (904) 252-6200.
-- By David Lefkowitz