Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Stephen Schwartz, Danny Kosarin, Bruce Coughlin|
Children of Eden (Papermill Playhouse Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
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THE BEST MUSICAL EVER!!!
closetohome19 | Pennsylvania | 04/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I absolutely love CHILDREN OF EDEN with all of my heart and soul [as you can probably tell from my name ;-)] and it's a beyond me HOW others have it in themselves to not believe that this show is truly the pinnacle of Stephen Schwartz's composing career BY FAR.CHILDREN OF EDEN, as you probably know my now, is literally the two oldest stories in the world put to stunning music. Each song is different in itself and each character and each cast member sings with their own style, personality, and flair so listening to this CD for four years (as I have), it never grows old. Many of the songs are breathtaking ("Let There Be," "Ain't It Good?", and "The Spark of Creation") and so many of them can just bring tears to the eyes of any audience ("Stranger to the Rain," "The Hardest Part of Love," "Close to Home," and "Children of Eden"). And, like any great show, a few of the songs are just all-out fun to listen to! ("The Naming," "A Piece of Eight," "The Return of the Animals," and "In Pursuit of Excellence") Even shorter, incidental songs were not forgotten and left in the dust and are just as strong as the larger numbers ("Spark of Creation" Reprises 1 and 2, "Noah's Lullaby," and the haunting "Hour of Darkness," by far one of the best songs on the CD, though less than a minute and a half in length!)I was in a summer stock production of CHILDREN OF EDEN during the summer of 2000 and each cast member experienced the mind-opening, inspiring lyrics that Schwartz has written and it was all so powerful that even the cast was brought to tears by the amazing finale, "In the Beginning."The cast of this show brings sometimes-stale bible characters brilliantly to life. Adrian Zmed plays a commanding Adam/Noah, while Stephanie Mills (of "The Wiz" fame) offsets him very well as the innocently curious Eve, while changing personality completely to become the silently strong Mama Noah in Act Two and her "Spark of Creation" theme throughout the show serves as a warning for all people as to what curiousity can do. Darius de Haas has the makings of a true Broadway star, and he gets his start here as the rebellious Cain/Japheth, while Hunter Foster portrays his brother Abel, with great poise and bravery. Kelli Rabke shines in Act Two as Noah's servant Yonah and William Solo holds the entire show together as Father, as everyone would expect "God" to do! Not to be forgotten by far are the Storytellers (a much fitter name than "the Company" or "the Chorus," for they advance the plot very well) who blend so well that in the a cappella chorus sections of songs like "Children of Eden," it is almost like one continuous, united sound, is coming through the speakers.So, my ultimate recommendation is, if you have the chance, see the show, but if you cannot, then this CD is a welcome substitution! And hokey as it may sound, you will enjoy this show for "Generations" to come!Oh, and P.S., this cast is THIRTY TIMES better than the London cast. That original version of the show just leaves far too much to be desired."
Simply, the best musical of the 1990s
burghtenor | Washington, DC | 01/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Stephen Schwartz and John Caird have teamed up to create one of the greatest musicals ever written - one of my three favorite musicals of all time. Unlike many of the new musicals of the past 20 years, CHILDREN OF EDEN can be successfully produced by organizations of any budget or talent level. Well-written characters as well as wonderful ensemble parts populate this show. Opportunities for creative costuming and choreography abound, but the show is effective without either. Small organizations can have actors portray different characters in the first and second acts. As the album demonstrates, casting can be color-blind. Also, this is a show the whole family can enjoy - there's no swearing, there's no sexual innuendo, and there's very little violence.
What's most amazing about CHILDREN OF EDEN is Caird's book. He takes the most familiar stories from the book of Genesis - Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and the ark - and relates them to the most profound and common experiences of family life. (True, Caird takes some liberties with his source material, but the details he adds only enhance the relevance of these Biblical characters to our lives.) Along the way, Caird tackles a number of the greatest enigmas of life: Why does God seem to abandon us from time to time? Why should we pray? How do you prevent a teenager from rebelling? Who can "play God" with the welfare of others? Who can forgive others' transgressions? There are so many issues packed into this musical, but Caird delves into each masterfully. The show never gets too weighty, nor does it seem rushed. Eve's soliloquy at the end of Act I may be the best humdinger of a death scene ever written!
The best part of Caird's book is the parallels he draws between humanity's relationship with God - "Father," as he is called in the show -- and children's relationships with their parents. Just as Eve doesn't understand why Father forbids her to eat from the tree of knowledge, so Cain questions why Adam forbids him from setting off on his own. When Father doesn't respond to Noah's calls for help, Noah recognizes that he, too, must let his son make his own decisions.
While the first act is virtually perfect, the second act is merely excellent. Perhaps it's because Caird has to fabricate more plot, or because there isn't as much material to cover, but Act II doesn't have quite the same energy and pizzazz as Act I.
THE MUSIC AND THE LYRICS:
This is Stephen Schwartz's strongest score, easily better than PIPPIN or even GODSPELL: the music is varied, from the driving pulse on the African-flavored "Generations" to the soaring pop-ballad dreaminess of "In Whatever Time We Have." There's melody to spare - tracks 7 through 15 on disc 1 is one of the musical theater's greatest sequence of songs perfectly matched to the situations for which they were created.
The lyrics are exquisitely crafted, but I'll begrudgingly limit myself to two examples. Enjoy "In Pursuit of Excellence," the perfect title for a song by a hissing snake. Revel in the rapid-fire internal rhymes and alliteration as Father calls "florescent fish and crescent worms and a billion bugs and a trillion germs" into being in "Let There Be."
Schwartz utilizes reprises to highlight the comparisons and contrasts of Caird's book. Abel agonizes over his choice of whether to side with his father or his brother just as Adam agonizes over choosing between his Father and his wife. Noah's wife invokes Eve's passion for knowledge as she points out Noah's responsibility to determine the fate of the family.
However, as with the book, Act II is not quite as strong as Act I. "Pieces of Eight" is a children's song: it merely relates plot without delving into the motivations of the characters. The tune is pleasant enough; it just seems out of place in the context of the rest of the show.
I can't understand the qualms some other .... reviewers have with the cast. True, the three leads may not have the best voices ever heard, but they are each very talented. Stephanie Mills brings a powerhouse vitality to Eve's "The Spark of Creation" and a revivalist's enthusiasm to Noah's wife's "Ain't It Good." Adrian Zmed's simple phrasing lends an innocence to Adam during "The Naming" of the animals and an anguish to Noah's decision that "The Hardest Part of Love" is letting go. William Solo's expressive range, from querulous anger to heart-warming love, leads to the most humanistic portrayal of God I've ever heard. Praise also goes to the ensemble - playing such an essential part in this show - especially to the soloists in "The Wasteland" and to the quintet who portray the snake.
CHILDREN OF EDEN is not well known, but I fail to see how anyone with an appreciation for thought-provoking drama, beautiful music, clever lyrics, religious art, or a well-integrated score - even an appreciation for any one of these elements - could be disappointed with this recording. Buy it today!"
kaht | Glasgow, Scotland | 01/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am fortunate enough to not only have heard this AMAZING musical but to be a part of it. In 5 weeks time, a choir which I am in, is producing "Children of Eden". I am fully aware that I am even luckier to be cast as the parts of Eve/Mama Noah. This CD is astounding. You don't have to be religious to love it - but I would say that if you are a musical lover this is a CD which HAS to be added to your collection. The music itself is deeply moving, the vocals are so powerful and the lyrics are an inspiration to ua all. The story of Father's(God's) battle to win his children is incredible and it definitley hits you hard - no matter who you are. It just shows how hard it is to be a parent and the sacrifices that sometimes have to be made. I don't have a favourite song - everything is so wonderful that I can't decide! If you buy this CD, you will feel an emotion which you have never ever felt before. I don't know what it is, but it's there every single time you hear the words of the songs. It will make you cry tears of joy and of sympathy but most of all it will entrance you into knowing that this is the BEST musical of all time. It certainly gives you something to think about. From the song "Children of Eden": "You will know heartache, Prayers that wont work And times of bitter circumstances, But I still believe, In second chances."Believe it - there is hope!"