'Children's' Perspective: 'Eden' Has it All
Cast members of West Morris Central's 'Children of Eden' spring musical explain what makes the show great, and why it's a must-see, for the spiritual and not-so-religious.
West Morris Central senior and Long Valley Patch blogger Kevin Branco is one of the cast members taking part in this year's spring musical, Children of Eden. Patch spoke with the production's director, Jeff Hogan, and here Branco has provided a question and answer-style article with other cast members.
Without further ado:
As a member of the cast of Children of Eden, I have heard many misconceptions and questions about the content, quality, and overall awesomeness of the production. I took it upon myself to interview a diverse contingent of the cast to find out more about who they are and why they promote the show in such an enthusiastic way. The show will be performed this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m., as well as on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Kevin Branco: (12th grade, 4th WMC Production, Role: Noah): How has participating in your first production here been? Has anything surprised you?
Jason Woodring: (12th grade, 1st WMC Production, Role: Father): I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier to be honest. Because…I don’t know. I enjoy it every day. I enjoy staying after school all the time. Has anything surprised me? Maybe getting the God part (Laughter). I guess…the amount of good singers we have in the school. I didn’t know that half of the singers in the show could sing.
David Matos: (12th grade, 1st WMC Production, Role: Storyteller): My first production has been…very nice. It’s a nice family. I’ve met some nice people. And well...only recently have I discovered my thirst for acting...but at least I have two more shows.
KB: For those of you who aren’t new to theatre here; how would you compare this production to last year’s spring musical (My Fair Lady)?
Morgan Hessel: (11th grade, 3rd WMC Production, Role: Mama Noah): I feel like you can’t really compare them…they’re two separate shows. I mean this one is especially so ensemble driven, while before it was very lead driven. I feel like this year just relies on the entire cast more. Which is really cool.
Alex Evans: (12th grade, 4th WMC Production, Role: Japheth): I concur.
Kevin Wehrhahn: (10th grade, 4th WMC Production, Role: Cain): Yeah I feel like it’s really hard to compare the two just because the styles are so completely different. My Fair Lady is golden age theatre, while Children of Eden was written in the 80’s. I would hope that this can surpass My Fair Lady because it would be amazing to just get better and better every year. So I hope that’s what happens.
MH: It will.
Carly Hatcher: (11th grade, 6th WMC Production, Role: Featured Soloist) I think to compare them, the most that I can really say is that this show has so much more meaning. You go to a show like My Fair Lady…and it’s just golden age theatre. Children of Eden focuses on stories that people know (Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark), but it takes them in a new light. It makes you really think about them. I think it has a lot more of an impact than My Fair Lady could ever hope to have. I hope that the audience takes as much out of Children of Eden as the cast did.
AE: You took all the good answers…
KB: From your friends or family or anyone, do you think that there are any misconceptions about the show?
JW: People think that it’s a Christian show. And it’s not. Hogan (the director) is right. It can be if you want it to. If you want to think about how this is an amazing story of forgiveness, you can. But it’s just more about the beauty of humanity and how we should forgive each other for our mistakes.
AE: I just heard from my friends that they think that this is just shoving the bible down people’s throats. They think that through this show we’re trying to convert people to Christianity. That is totally the opposite of what the show is trying to do. The show is more about forgiveness in general than shoving Christianity down people’s throats.
MH: Yeah somebody came up to me today and said “I don’t believe in God, so I’m not going to see the show."
CH: It’s kinda rough because there’s not much we can do about that misconception. Because…hopefully people will read this and think that it has more meaning to it. But I don’t know how much we can really spread it around that the show is more than just preaching. Because it’s really not preaching at all.
KW: It’s retelling the story.
CH: Exactly. It’s retelling the story, but for a different purpose.
KB: Is this show for all audiences?
JW: Yes, but they have to be ready to experience something that…
AE: They have to be open minded. They can’t be texting on their phone or something. If you don’t pay attention, you’ll just get lost.
JW: It’s too amazing not to watch…
CH: It’s the type of show where you can’t go to the bathroom until intermission…you feel like you have to watch the whole thing.
KW: Miss Tracy (Tracy Witko, Choir Director/Accompanist) said it right. This isn’t a show. It’s an event. It has the purpose of changing people’s lives. And that’s what we’re trying to do…what I think we can do. I hope that people have an open mind and stay focused on the production. And if they do, then we can achieve greatness.
DM: Several songs are fun and games, but some songs are like life lessons. They could be life altering if you want them to be.
KB: Do you think that this production has changed you? And if so, how?
CH: I definitely think it has…just my conception of theatre. Especially at this school because like I’ve said, this is my sixth production, and none of those shows have had the impact on me that this show has.
MH: I feel like its changed the entire cast. I don’t think there’s one person standing on that stage who can say that they haven’t been changed.
KB: Why should people come to see the show?
AE: Why not?
KW: It has everything. It has visual aspects, big dance numbers, all the music you could ever want: rock songs, ballads, angry songs, even gospel.
CH: There’s literally everything in this show that you could ever want.
MH: It’s just entertaining.
DM: It’s titanic-great.
AE: I feel like this show…after you see it….it’s going to change the way that you see theatre.
CH: So long as you pay attention to the message.
AE: If you zone out, you’re not going to get the message.
MH: It’s not just theatre, it’s life in general. I know being in this production, I’ve had a new mindset on certain things.
JW: Going back to the misconception thing…I could imagine making an announcement tomorrow about the show. And I could just imagine people’s minds…Eden? Garden of Eden? Bible? I don’t want to see this. They’re automatically convinced that it’s….
KB: I know what you’re saying. I’ve been telling people that it’s a show with a religious setting, but universal themes.
CH: That’s exactly what it is.
AE: Can we have that on the back of the t-shirt?
I hope that this interview cleared up any questions that you may have had. Once again, the show will be performed this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m., as well as on Saturday at 2 p.m.