Let There Be: Schwartz and Caird's Children of Eden Aims for Broadway

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26 Aug 2007

Hunter Foster and William Solo in the 1997 Paper Mill Playhouse production of <i>Children of Eden</i>.
Hunter Foster and William Solo in the 1997 Paper Mill Playhouse production of Children of Eden.
Photo by Gerry Goodstein
Producers are hoping to bring Stephen Schwartz's Old Testament-inspired musical, Children of Eden, to Broadway in the near future.

Producer Erik Orton, of Fifth Avenue Entertainment, confirmed to Playbill.com that a Broadway production is currently in the works for a 2008-09 bow.

An industry reading for investors and others was held the week of Aug. 13, with composer Stephen Schwartz narrating and performing Children of Eden's "The Hardest Part of Love." Those involved in the reading included Kristy Cates, Gina Valentine, Julie Foldesi, Marie-France Arcilla, Sandra Turley, Ashton Byrum, Sean Parry, Matthew Herrick and Norris Chappell.

The production, capitalized at $10 million-$12 million, is set to be a family affair, with Scott Schwartz — Stephen's son, a respected New York and regional director — slated to stage the musical. Alan Wasser Associates will serve as general management for the production.

With the current success and popularity of Wicked, Schwartz's name continues to be a successful brand more than 30 years after he first emerged as a theatre writer. His musicals Godspell, Pippin and Children of Eden thrive in regional and amateur life as some of the most popular titles licensed for production by Music Theatre International. With international productions of Wicked popping up, numerous professional and amateur theatrical organizations eagerly await the rights for the Oz-set musical (the wait will be long — the show has commercial legs that are expected to take it at least into the next decade).

Orton and producing partner Karen Walter Goodwin embark on familiar Biblical territory with Children of Eden; they produced the 2005 Off-Broadway production of The Ark, about Noah, his family and the famous flood.

Children of Eden tells the story of Genesis for the first act, following Adam, Eve and their progeny through the expulsion from the garden. The musical's second act picks up with Noah and the flood, centering on the themes of parents, children, faith and perseverance.

Children of Eden, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a libretto by John Caird, originally premiered in London in 1991. Several revised American regional productions followed, culminating in the 1997 Paper Mill Playhouse mounting in New Jersey. The Paper Mill production, which is considered to be the definitive version of the show, was preserved on a two-disc cast album, starring Stephanie Mills, Adrian Zmed, Hunter Foster and Darius de Haas.

Popular songs from the production include "Lost in the Wilderness," "The Hardest Part of Love," "The Spark of Creation," "Stranger to the Rain," "Ain't It Good," "In Whatever Time We Have," and the title song.

For more information about the works of Stephen Schwartz, visit www.stephenschwartz.com.