Benanti, Murney, Harada, Lewis Star in Children of Eden Benefit Concert, Dec. 1 in NYC | Playbill

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News Benanti, Murney, Harada, Lewis Star in Children of Eden Benefit Concert, Dec. 1 in NYC The testament may be old, but young stars will make it new again when some of the hottest musical theatre talent performs the Bible-inspired musical, Children of Eden, Dec. 1 in Manhattan.
Laura Benanti
Laura Benanti

The stars will shine over characters from the Old Testament in the York Theatre Company concert of John Caird and Stephen Schwartz's Children of Eden, to benefit York and the National AIDS Fund on World AIDS Day.

Full principal casting was announced Nov. 18 for what's considered the first professional New York City hearing of the 1991 show, with book by John Caird and music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. The performance is 7 PM Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, at Riverside Church.

The cast includes Norm Lewis (Father), Jonathan Dokuchitz (Adam/Noah), Julia Murney (Eve/Mama Noah), Darius de Haas (Cain/Japheth), Max von Essen (Abel/Ham), John Tartaglia (Seth/Shem), Natascia Diaz (Aphra), Ann Harada (Aysha), Kate Shindle (Yonah), Young Cain-Kevin Ricardo Tate (Young Cain), Harrison Chad (Young Abel), Laura Benanti (The Snake-Led), with Jennifer Barnhart, Adam Fleming, Barrett Foa, Deborah Lew, Robb Sapp, Natalie Douglas, Matt Zarley, Michael Longoria, Randy Redd and Jai Rodriguez (of Zanna, Don't! and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy") singing "A World Without You," which was cut from the show.

The complete book and score will be heard (with the exception of an instrumental section), according to producer-director Jamie McGonnigal, director of special events for the York. Mark Hartman is musical director of the orchestra.

The chorus includes 100 voices. The troupe will sing in concert dress, with script in hand. The show bowed in London in 1991 at the Prince Edward Theatre. Caird wrote the book and directed. Matthew Bourne choreographed. A revised version played Paper Mill: The State Theatre of New Jersey in 1997 and was recorded for cast album.

Riverside Church is at Riverside Drive at 120th Street. Children of Eden tells Old Testament stories starting with the Creation, Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel, and then moves generations forward to the story of Noah and the Ark. Schwartz's Bible-minded show, Godspell, was an international smash. He also penned songs to the animated film, "Prince of Egypt" and Broadway current Wicked, to say nothing of Broadway's Pippin.

Tickets are available by calling (212) 868-4444. Tickets are also available on the website at


The National AIDS Fund is one of America's largest philanthropic organizations dedicated to eliminating HIV/AIDS as a major health and social problem. The Fund supports nearly 500 community-based organizations and agencies nationally, doing battle in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The National AIDS Fund also promotes educational efforts to effectively stop the spread of the virus.

Now beginning its 35th season, The York Theatre Company is the only theatre in New York City dedicated to developing and producing new musicals, and preserving neglected, notable shows from the past.


In spring 2004, Children of Eden will be produced at Ford's Theatre, created by the same production team that did last year's successful 1776: James Joy (set), Mary Anne Verheyen (costumes), Dianne Ferry Williams (lights). Direction and choreography are by David H. Bell. Brad Haak will musical direct.

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