Act Out Theatre stages musical ‘Children of Eden’ outdoors at Pittston amphitheater Sept. 19-20
From a press release:
Act Out has been working outdoors and following the recommendations of the state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to bring “Children of Eden” to the public.
“It has not been easy, but the cast and crew banded together to rehearse things safely and socially distanced to be able to come together and safely mount this production,” Act Out Artistic Director and show director Dan Pittman of Plymouth said.
“‘Children of Eden’ is the perfect piece to perform outside, so we are excited to get in front of an audience.”
Children of Eden is a 1991 two-act musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by John Caird. The musical is based on the Bible’s Book of Genesis, with Act I telling the story of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel, while Act II deals with Noah and the flood.
“‘Children of Eden’ has a beautiful score and teaches us to have strength within ourselves,” Pittman said.
Two of the young actresses in the production, Erin McLaughlin from Sweet Valley (Eve/Noah’s wife) and Sarah Rose Pugliese from Wilkes-Barre Township (Yonah), find a meaning of female empowerment.
“Something I’ve taken from this show was that women don’t always have to accept the role they are handed,” McLaughlin said.
“Women are strong and capable of knowing things that they are not often given credit for. Eve was not afraid to challenge the beliefs she was handed. She decided to be a free thinker and chose her own path, regardless of the consequences.”
Pugliese also noted the empowerment, as well as agency to control one’s future.
“The meaning I got from the show is that you don’t have to follow everyone in your past; you can take your own journey,” she said. “Like Yonah, how she didn’t let her descendants prevent her from becoming a strong, beautiful woman.”
The cast faced different challenges than usual to adhere to coronavirus precautions.
“It’s not really as hard as it first seemed,” Mclaughlin said.
“Of course, it’s sad that we can’t interact with our friends as closely as we want, but I think we all understand how important it is, especially if we want to stay safe.”
Pugliese added that everyone’s support and helpfulness made navigating the COVID requirement easier.
The theater’s precautions included wearing masks at rehearsal, social distancing, temperature checks, washing hands frequently, and limiting the number of participants in the show.
“Of course, we want to make every workshop we do open to all who want to join,” Pittman said.
“This year, we are limiting the amount of people allowed in each workshop to 20 so we can maintain proper distance and better manage how we are handling COVID-19 precautions.”
Along with Mclaughlin and Pugliese, the cast includes Alex Stasukinas of Plymouth, Anna Brennan (Dallas), Caelan Howe-Baden (Taylor), Max Snyder (Madison Township), Rocco Pugliese (Wilkes-Barre Township), Lorcan Baden (Taylor), Samantha Greenfield (Old Forge), Keely Zabresky (Bear Creek Township), James Louiso (Kingston), Chase Richmond (Throop), Zachary Schultz (Swoyersville), Bella Cerra (Scranton), Abigail Tirva (Wyoming), Ava Nitch (Scranton), and Emma Christianson (Wilkes-Barre), the show’s 13-year-old choreographer. Sarah Rose and Rocco Pugliese are siblings.
In true Act Out fashion, this show is double cast.
“We try to give everyone in the show a well-rounded experience,” Pittman noted.
“For most of the characters in the show, two people play the part and alternate performances between a named role and ensemble.”
“Everyone should come see our show because the cast has worked very hard on a very musically challenging show,” McLaughlin said.
“The show itself is entertaining and thought-provoking.”
Act Out Theatre Group’s production runs at the Slope Amphitheater (47 Broad St., Pittston) behind the Pittston Memorial Library on Sept. 19 and Sept. 20 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. both days.
Tickets, which are $15, can be purchased in advance at actouttheatre.com or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, audience sizes are limited and everyone in attendance is urged to maintain social distancing and wear a mask during the show. For a full list of safety precautions, visit actouttheatre.com.
“People should see this show because there is a wonderful cast that worked so hard to bring a beautiful show to you that has a great meaning behind it,” Pugliese said.
“[It] teaches everyone about what happened in the Garden of Eden and more.”