This story was corrected on Thursday, March 21, 2013. An explanation follows the story.
It’s not quite on the scale of a Biblical epic, but it’s still big, says the director of the 24/7 Dance Studio’s production of the “Children of Eden” musical, opening this weekend at the Subito Theater in Frederick.
“There are 22 students in it,” said Joe Mannarino, who directs the Young Professionals troupe at the Frederick studio.
“It’s a huge musical with 43 musical numbers,” said Mannarino, adding that it is a good choice to showcase the studio’s students.
“Eden” is not a typical musical with a small group of lead actors and a chorus, Mannarino said. Instead, the cast includes actors and also a quartet of storytellers.
“It’s more or less carried by the entire ensemble,” he said. “They rarely leave the stage.”
Written by Stephen Schwartz, who also penned “Godspell” and “Wicked,” the musical is about the book of Genesis. Act I is about the Creation, Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel, while Act II is about Noah and the flood.
Rather than using elaborate animal costumes, the show makes use of masks for many of its characters, he said.
Mannarino has adapted the central character, Father, by instead presenting three Fathers that represent the Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions.
“They represent generalized faiths,” Mannarino said.
Mannarino also has changed what takes place after the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden from Biblical times to late 1800s to represent the Industrial Revolution and to the present day.
The intent is to show human progression since the Garden of Eden, he said.
For the music, the production is using a professionally orchestrated recording, which draws on Caribbean, Moroccan and various other types of music.
“The score is beautiful,” Mannarino said. “Schwartz is known for incorporating many styles, from pop to rock to folk.”
“It’s very upbeat and fun,” he said about the show, which has some very funny moments but is also serious and thought-provoking.
“We’re all people, and though we might differ in religions, we are all essentially faltering and failing but trying to be the best that we can be,” Mannarino said.
The factbox misidentified the location of the performance. The correct location is the Subito Theater, 490 Prospect Blvd., Frederick.