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Posted: April 24, 2009 12:00 a.m.

Children of Eden

Local theater stages musical journey through Biblical garden

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Cast members cower in terror at the wrath of the "Father."

The Social Circle Theater will present the final showing of their largest production to date, "Children of Eden," a theatrical production from the book of Genesis, April 24 through April 26. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday, a sold-out 3 p.m. Saturday matinee and 6 p.m. Sunday.

Written by acclaimed Broadway writer Stephen Schwartz, "Children of Eden" highlights some of his most creative work – surpassing "Godspell" and "Wicked."

The presentation of these Bible stories from the creation to the flood allows viewers to reflect on struggles for family unity and forgiveness, said producer Beth Wells.

"It also has allowed me to personally examine God’s permissive will versus his perfect will for my life," said Wells who serves as president of the board of directors at the Social Circle Theater. "My prayer for the audience is that the show will encourage you to revisit Genesis and reflect on how much the Father loves you."

Wells credited the dedicated passion and hard work of the cast, staff, musicians, a host of volunteers and her family for the success in bringing the production to the community. Ten years ago, Wells’ parents, Mabel and Bob Standridge, after having seen "Swamp Gravy" in Colquitt, Ga. and felt a similar theater would help preserve Social Circle’s history.

Director Ricky Hall, who discovered his love for the theater as a youth in church productions and at Salem High School, also thanked the entire cast for an amazing 11 weeks of rehearsals and hard work, and expressed gratitude to Music Director Patty Joiner and musicians Cindi Hall and Bill Delaune.

"I could never thank them enough," said Hall. "They really have made this sound the way the writer intended it to. They have done an amazing job."

Stage manager Kemal Joseph has been a key player since the inception of the theater.

The two-act play features an ensemble cast of dozens of players and is filled with non-stop music. The production stars Blayne Hiner as "Father," Joy Claus as "Eve/Mama Noah," Clay Fallin as "Adam/Noah."

Newcomer Claus, a resident of Social Circle and stay-at-home mom with two children, said she initially hoped to be cast in the chorus or as a storyteller. But after hearing her beautiful voice, Hall assigned her in a leading role as Eve and Mama Noah. Volunteer Clay Fallin is also a resident of Social Circle. In addition to teaching guitar and voice lessons for McKibben Music, he is the music minister at Social Circle United Methodist Church. The director described Monroe resident Blayne Hiner’s voice as one trained for Italian Opera.

Theater Manager Tera Duval said tickets are selling to churches and travel groups from Warner Robins, Macon, Dalton, Duluth and surrounding areas.

The Blue Willow Inn Restaurant is partnering with the theater by offering ticket-holders 20% off their meal the day of their ticket. The two and a half hour performance with intermission was attended by 330 people last weekend.

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