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  • “Children of Eden,” which comes to Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church April 20-22 and April 27-29, features a large cast of actors portraying Adam, Eve, the Father, Noah, Mama Noah and others.
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    “Children of Eden,” which comes to Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church April 20-22 and April 27-29, features a large cast of actors portraying Adam, Eve, the Father, Noah, Mama Noah and others.

Woods Church Presents “Children Of Eden”

Darrell Mak
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April 3, 2018

Following a successful first-time production of “Godspell” at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church last spring, church members will perform “Children of Eden” this April, connecting audiences with a musical about family and love. Based on the first nine chapters of the Book of Genesis, the performance includes stories about Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah and the flood.

Husband-and-wife duo David and Elysia Merrill once again are spearheading the production of the musical, with David as director and music director, and Elysia as assistant director and choreographer. “The choreography is just excellent,” touted David. “Everyone will be impressed.”

As they did with “Godspell,” the Merrills hope to use “Children of Eden” as a means to encourage collaboration between the community and the church. “Children of Eden” required a much larger cast than “Godspell” did, so the Merrills were able to fill roles with both church and non-church members.

“This is a very inclusive effort, allowing us to bring people into the church,” noted David. “We thought this show would be a wonderful way to incorporate more people.”

Woods Church opened auditions to the public in December. Although many church members took lead roles, such as the costumer and sound producer, David said many of the orchestra members are not church members but come from other nearby organizations including the Annapolis Symphony and Londontowne Symphony orchestras.

David thought “Children of Eden” — which was created by Stephen Schwartz, the same composer and lyricist behind “Godspell” — would be the perfect performance for the church’s second musical. “There was a ton of talent available, and we wanted to do something else after ‘Godspell,’” he added.

About 10 years ago, David was involved in another production of “Children of Eden” and he learned what it would take to successfully produce the production at Woods. “I knew we had the singing capability and resources at the church now,” he said.

The larger cast demands made the effort more complex. “Traditionally, the show is double-cast,” said David, using a term to describe when an actor takes on two roles. “But we didn’t need to double-cast this time since we had so many people.”

The lead roles in the production include Adam, played by David; Eve, played by Sarah Kent; Father, played by David Thompson; Noah, played by Kevin Cleaver, who is not a member of the church but from the community; and Mama Noah, played by Jennifer Augustine.

Although “Children of Eden” is probably less known than “Godspell,” David believes “the music is just beautiful and captivating. Its message is that everyone makes mistakes, but not to dwell on those mistakes; forgive with understanding and humility.”

Performances for “Children of Eden” are scheduled for April 20-22 and April 27-29 at 8:00pm at Woods Church. Tickets are $10 each. More information and tickets are available at www.woodstix.org.


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