Father (Gideon Wolfe) dreams of his creation in Ballard High School’s production of “Children of Eden.” Photo by Tim Mar
Father (Gideon Wolfe) dreams of his creation in Ballard High School’s production of “Children of Eden.” Photo by Tim Mar

Last night (March 3) was opening night for “Children of Eden” at Ballard High School (1418 N.W. 65th St.). The overall effect was astonishing. The audience response was quite telling as it alternated between enthusiastic applause, tears all over the room, pure awe and a joyful and rowdy standing ovation. 

This play runs a gamut of moods and has some surprisingly moving and impactful scenes. The stories come from the book of Genesis in the Bible, and they are told through Stephen Schwartz’s music and lyrics in a way that speaks of family dynamics, actions, consequences and second chances.

The stories of Adam and Eve and Noah and the flood form the two acts. The costumes are a visually spectacular and varied in design to represent cultures around the world. The music and choreography also reflect a mix of influences.

It is difficult to describe the impact of these combined elements, but when this large cast is in motion and fully engaged in song, one cannot help being swept away by the story.

This musical requires coordination and engagement from all parts of the Ballard Performing Arts program. ”Children of Eden” has a cast and crew of 71 students; 11 of them are elementary school students. Michael James conducted the orchestra, and the vocal director is Courtney Rowley. Eia Waltzer is the choreographer; Shawn Riley (the students call him “Riley”) is the producing director. 

It is very much to Riley’s credit that this show has come together in such a great way. This show has 43 pieces of music in it, and for much of the play, the entire cast is on the stage. The work of organizing the blocking, choreography, singing and acting is enormous. This material resonates with the students, and they are passionate in their delivery.

The play continues March 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12. The curtain will go up each night at 7:30 p.m. at Ballard High School (1418 N.W. 65th St.). For ticket information, go to showtix4u.com.

ANN SELBERG is a parent who serves on Ballard High School’s Performing Arts Booster Board.