CENTERVILLE - A song has the power to break your heart or bring a smile to your face.
In “Children of Eden,” the new musical running now through July 19 at CenterPoint Legacy Theatre, the pains and joys of some of the first people to walk the earth are brought to life through powerful, beautifully sung music. Some of the details may be different than the ones you remember from the Bible, but the emotions and challenges are universal.
“Children of Eden” tells a thought-provoking version of the book of Genesis which doesn’t quite match the one you were likely taught in church, focusing on answering the question of whether the freedom choices bring is worth all the pain they can cause.
That struggle is made vividly real by the musical’s fantastic songs, all of which were written by Steven Schwartz. This is the same man who wrote the music for “Pocahontas,” “Wicked,” and “Enchanted,” and the songs here are just as catchy, soaring and easy to sing along with as his best from any of those shows.
The entire cast performs them beautifully, imbuing them with all the charm and emotion they deserve. Cameron Kapetanov, in the Monday night opening cast, had a suitably powerful voice as Father, the musical’s representation of God. Lindsea Garside beautifully communicates the wisdom and heartbreak of both Eve and Mama Noah, while Nate Waite brings some innocence, yearning and pathos to the troubled characters of Cain and Japeth. Nate Mikami, as Adam and Noah, and Tyler Palo, as Abel and Ham, were excellent as well.
In the supporting cast, Kirsten Allen and Christine Sims bring just the right touch of sorrow and menace to paint the picture of a dangerous unforgiving wasteland using only a song. Paige Hunsicker leads the snakes’ song with charming, slinky sass, enough that I understood for the first time just why Eve was so tempted by their story.
Director Alaine Schultz brings a light touch to the show, highlighting the playfulness of the cheerful scenes and letting the darker moments have the necessary impact without overwhelming the audience. She and the cast work together to highlight the show’s sprinkling of humor, an often necessary counterbalance as welcoming as rain in a desert.
In the end, though, the music will be what you remember best. It’s in the songs that the characters pour their hearts and souls, giving them a power that survives long after the final notes have faded away.