Sixty-one actors of all ages and many races will embody a version of Children of Eden this fall that director Bob Navis Jr. hopes will intrigue audiences the minute they see the stage. The musical by Stephen Schwartz and John Caird, based loosely on stories from the book of Genesis, will not take place in “a realistic biblical setting of rocks and ancient times,” Navis says. “The place we’re creating is a symbolic world, a world of meaning. It’s a place of endings and beginnings.” Rehearsals begin Sept. 23 in preparation for a Nov. 16 opening. The cast is listed below.
A large wooden disc already constructed in the center of the playing space represents what Navis calls the circular “core or essential idea” of Children of Eden. “So much is summed up in the closing number: ‘This step is once again our first … Every moment of our life is the beginning,'” Navis says. “The creation moment is always the now moment. It’s never the past or the future. That’s the space we’re creating. We’re trying to make a metaphor. It’s the place where the past and the future meet.” Set, props, lights and video will work together to suggest past, present and future all at once – aided, Navis says, “by a lot of people on this design team who love sci-fi.” One example: more than a dozen principal storytellers in the cast will be “in body suits that look high-tech in a way,” Navis says. “There’s a futuristic sense and an ancient sense to them.”
The show will be performed 10 times, Nov. 16 through Dec. 2, at Near West Theatre, 3606 Bridge Ave., Cleveland. Tickets can be ordered online anytime or by phone at 216-961-6391 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. Here are the cast and members of the design team who have been working on the show so far:
Cast: Felix Albino, Ryann Angelotti (Principal Storyteller), Brett Castro (Abel/Ham), Winter Castro, Sara Chapman (Principal Storyteller/Aysha), Olivia Clark (Principal Storyteller), Jazmine Danner, Sharron DeCosta, Kelcie Dugger (Eve/Mama Noah), Eric Fancher (Adam/Noah), Christian Flaherty (Principal Storyteller), Edward Gale, Venchise Glenn, Lindsay Hajostek, Mary Halm, Hans Holznagel (Father), Dave Hopkins, Corinne Howery, Kala James, Rachel Johanek, Louis Johnson II, Amy Kazanowski, Sabrina Kim, Cora King, Geri King, Katherine King, Jonas Kukelhan, Antoinette Kula (Principal Storyteller),Christine Larson, Madelyn Lockshine, Elliot Lockshine, Jack McDonough (Principal Storyteller), George Morgan (Cain/Japheth), Lilliana Moss, Gabriele Moyer, Dawon Owens, Martin Parries (Principal Storyteller), Jocelyn Perkins, Mary Prucha (Principal Storyteller), Skipper Rankin, Statia Rankin, Maylyn Lee Reyes, Shayna Robinson, Jermaine Sagoes, Steven Schuerger (Principal Storyteller), Tim Schuerger (Principal Storyteller), Brandon Schumacker, Olivia Schumacker, Grace Schumann, Katie Simon Atkinson (Principal Storyteller), Samantha Singer (Principal Storyteller), Shekinah (CoCo) Smith (Yonah), Jonathan Smith, Tommy Sulieman (Principal Storyteller/Seth/Shem), Christine Thompson (Principal Storyteller), Jacqueline Uhlik, Michelle Unger, Rafael Velez III, Anthony Williams (Principal Storyteller), Craig Wischmeyer (Principal Storyteller), Bob Zombar.
Direction and Design Team (as of 9/1/12): Bob Navis Jr., Director. Jordan Cooper, Musical Director. Hope Schultz, Choreographer. Josh Padgett, Technical Director and Production Manager. Laura Carlson Tarantowski, Scenic Designer. Rob and Terrii Wachala, Lighting Co-Designers. Heather Brown, Costume Designer. Joshua Caraballo, Sound Designer. Kate Atherton, Properties Master. Jessica Rosenlieb, Properties Assistant.