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Children of Eden - Synopsis, Songs, & Charactersd

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Plot Summary - Synopsis

DETAILED PLOT SYNOPSIS for the American version of Children of Eden.
By Carol de Giere

Note - This summary includes spoilers so if you want to see the show before reading what happens, don't read this.

ACT ONE: The story of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel.

A chorus of Storytellers describes the beginning of the world. Father (God is always called Father in this show to emphasize the parallel with earthly fathers) comes on and declares, "Let there be…." He builds the world based on his dream. He creates Adam and Eve and gives them a perfect place to live in the Garden of Eden.

The character Eve is like any modern restless and curious child who asks many questions, among them, what's that glowing tree on top of the hill? Father tells them about the tree of knowledge from which they must never eat the fruit. To divert their attention, Father asks Adam and Eve to name the animals. With the help of the Storytellers pretending to be animals, Adam, Eve, and Father name them. Exhausted afterwards, they sleep.

In "Father's Day," Father sings of his contentment as a father who has a universe to pass along to his children.

One day, Eve goes up to the tree of knowledge and it enchants her. She sings, "The Spark of Creation," about the fire of creativity and exploration in her blood. In the song, "In Pursuit of Excellence," a Snake convinces Eve to pursue knowledge and eat the fruit of the tree.

Eve offers Adam some apple juice, which ultimately leads Father to exile Eve. Adam has to choose between staying in the Garden or departing with Eve, a conflict covered in "A World Without You."

As time passes after they are expelled, the Storytellers sing about Adam and Eve's desolate new environment in "The Wasteland." Eve gives birth to two sons, Cain and Abel. As the boys grow up, their behavior echoes that of their parents: Cain becomes more curious about the world while Abel remains obedient to Adam.

In the song "Lost in the Wilderness," Cain tries to convince Abel not to accept the status quo of their lives and to join him on a quest to make a life somewhere else. When Father comes upon the two brothers, Cain declares he will find his own destiny and storms off. When Adam learns that Cain is gone, he curses him. Then remembering his boys when they were younger, he joins Eve and Abel in singing about the benefits of their home life and homespun material goods in "Close to Home."

Cain returns and describes what he has found, "A Ring Of Stones." This proves they are not the only people in the world. Cain, wanting to be a part of a larger family and begins to leave, but Adam blocks his way, wanting to prevent change and possible danger. Even though Cain's resentment is directed to Adam, when Abel tries to hold him back, Cain kills him with a rock in the scuffle.

Cain runs. Father appears before him, marks Cain's forehead, and curses him and all his children in the song, "The Mark of Cain."

The first act ends several decades later. By then Eve is ah elderly widow, ready to pass on. She gathers her grandchildren together, born from her third son, Seth. During the song, "Children of Eden," Eve momentarily communicates with Father, and sings of returning home to Paradise. She asks her family "not to blame us, we were just human," referring to her act of leaving the Garden with Adam, and the influence of one generation's experience on their descendents.

ACT TWO: The story of Noah and the flood.

Act II begins in light, a thousand years after Act One. Storytellers sing about who begat whom in "Generations." They trace the line of Adam to Noah and his three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Father wants Noah to quickly finish building the ark, so he can flood the world and destroy the race of Cain. Due to the forthcoming flood, youngest son Japheth is on a deadline to find a partner to bring on the arc to be saved. Japheth doesn't want his father to choose for him, and announces he will bring his own future bride to dinner. Noah and the family eagerly prepare for this in the song, "A Piece of Eight."

Japheth tries to bring his true love Yonah, the servant girl, to the table. But she bears the mark of Cain and this causes a furor. Japheth storms off just as animals start appearing on their way to the ark. Noah and his family try to organize the animals, but more and more keep coming on during the dance, "The Return of the Animals."

After everyone is onboard the ark, Noah sees Yonah standing alone and apologizes that he can not take her with him.

Left alone, Yonah sings "Stranger To The Rain" sharing how she is accustomed to being ostracized. But Japeth insists he will hide her in the ark. They sing, "In Whatever Time We Have," at this dramatic moment when they don't know how long either of them will live.

The rain comes and floods the land. But after forty days and forty nights downpour still continues, creating a life-threatening situation because of food shortage. Yonah worries that she is the reason the rains have not stopped. She sends a dove to find land during the song, "Sailor Of The Skies." Shem and Ham find Yonah and there is a scuffle between Japeth and Ham, reflecting the Adam and Cain struggle of Act I. This time, Yonah stands in the way and blocks a murder.

"Mama Noah," Noah's wife, speaks privately to her husband who reveals that Father no longer communicates with him anyway. Mama Noah suggests he must be the father now and make his choices from within himself. Alone, Noah reflects on his own choices in the song, "The Hardest Part of Love." At a distance, Father too can be seen reflecting on his need to let go and let his progeny choose their destiny.

Noah calls the clan together to perform a ceremony. For a moment, no one but him knows if he is gong to throw Japheth and Yonah overboard or bless their union. He makes the more humane and compassionate choice by marrying them.

The dove returns with an olive branch and in "Ain't It Good," Mama Noah, joined by everyone, celebrates their new hope for dry land and new life.

When the ark lands, the three sons decide to travel in different directions with different animals. Japheth announces that he and Yonah will search for Eden.

The musical ends with the song, "In The Beginning," exploring the challenges and blessing of free will.

Defying Gravity biography that includes Children of EdenSchwartz Biography Chronicles Children of Eden's Development Story

Author Carol de Giere's Stephen Schwartz biography Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz from Godspell to Wicked explores the genesis of this popular musical, from Charles Lisanby's conception and the early oratorio version by Schwartz, through the London production (including photographs), and revisions worked out in America. The Children of Eden chapters include quotations drawn from interviews with Lisanby, Schwartz, bookwriter John Caird, and others that explore the philosophy behind the musical.

Children of Eden Songs

Children Of Eden - 1998 New Jersey Cast - Buy Children Of Eden - 1998 New Jersey Cast - [new browser window]

Children of Eden Songs on the cast album, and the character singing them:

Disc: 1
1. "Let There Be" - Father and Storytellers
2. "Tree of Knowledge" - Father, Adam
3. "Naming" - Father, Eve, Adam, Storytellers
4. "Grateful Children" - Adam, Eve
5. "Father's Day" - Father, Storytellers
6. "Perfect" - Storytellers, Father, Adam, Eve
7. "Spark of Creation" - Eve
8. "In Pursuit of Excellence" - Eve and Snake
9. "End of a Perfect Day" - Storytellers
10. "Childhood's End" - Storytellers, Eve, Father
11. "World Without You" - Adam, Father, Eve
12. "Explusion" - Father, Storytellers
13. "Wasteland" - Storytellers
14. "Spark of Creation" [Reprise 1] - Eve
15. "Lost in the Wilderness" - Abel, Cain
16. "Close to Home" - Adam, Eve, Young Abel, Young Cain, Abel
17. "Ring of Stones" - Cain, Adam, Storytellers, Eve, Abel
18. "Death of Abel" - A Storyteller, Eve
19. "Mark of Cain" - Storytellers, Father
20. "Children of Eden" - Eve, Company

Disc: 2
1. "Generations" - Soloist, Storytellers
2. "Gathering Storm" - Noah, Father
3. "A Piece of Eight" - Storytellers, Noah, Yonah, Japeth, Mama, Ham, Shem, Aysha, Aphra, Female Storyteller
4. "Return of the Animals" (instrumental)
5. "Noah's Lullaby" - Storytellers, Noah
6. "Stranger to the Rain" - Yonah
7. "In Whatever Time We Have" - Japeth, Yonah
8. "Flood" - Father, Storytellers
9. "What Is He Waiting For?" - Noah, Mama, Ham, Shem, Aysha, Aphra
10. "Sailor of the Skies" - Yonah
11. "Spark of Creation" [Reprise 2] - Mama Noah
12. "Hardest Part of Love" - Noah, Father
13. "Words of Doom" - Storytellers
14. "Hour of Darkness" - Noah, Yonah, Japeth, Mama, Ham, Shem, Aysha, Aphra
15. "Ain't It Good?" - Mama, Company except Father
16. "Precious Children" - Father
17. "In the Beginning" - Company

Characters and Vocal Ranges

STORYTELLERS - all ages and vocal types - also serve as animals.

The ANIMALS themselves are to be played by CHILDREN, the two most talented actors amongst them to be cast as YOUNG CAIN and YOUNG ABEL.

FATHER - Baritone


CAIN/JAPHETH - Tenor - "Lost in the Wilderness" - The range is D to High G. About the same for "In Whatever Time We Have."



YONAH - Alto or Soprano


SNAKE - Usually played by a group that dances together. They sing the five-part harmony


Printed Vocal Selections

Buy Children of Eden Vocal Selections. [new browser window]

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