Reynolds appears in PRIMA's "Children of Eden"
Most students at LSHS know Jessica “Jessie” Reynolds as Annie Oakley, the lead in last year’s musical Annie Get Your Gun. Many students do not, however, know that Jessie’s theater experience continues into the community.
|Reynolds (in right group with curly red hair) performs in|
"Children of Eden"
St. James Episcopal Church in Lancaster City has hosted PRIMA Theater’s Children of Eden for evening performances the last two Sundays. This Saturday, September 20, is the closing night of the musical, ending this particular experience for Reynolds. Her role in the show is a Storyteller in the adult ensemble. Children of Eden features both an adult ensemble and a children’s ensemble, in which two younger Lampeter-Strasburg students, Jillian Pontz and Tanner Emmerling, also performed.
The show focuses on the human side of the creation story in Genesis. This passage is one of the most well-known areas of the Bible, but few people stop and read between the lines. Stephen Schwartz’s Children of Eden fictionalizes the events behind “the fall of humanity” and “the flood” and elaborates on the relationships between the characters. The first act centers mainly on Adam and Eve and the second act on Noah and his family. Instead of portraying these characters as typical, Biblical figures, the show turned them into real people with real hopes, dreams, and desires.
Though his most well-known musical is Wicked, Schwartz reportedly prefers Children of Eden over any of his other compositions. It’s no wonder, considering Children of Eden features gorgeous harmonies, clever remarks, and sudden, intense Gospel-style music. It’s exactly the kind of musical that PRIMA is quickly becoming acclaimed for performing.
In fact, PRIMA is relatively new, only having formed in 2010, with a goal to bring the art of theater back into Lancaster’s community. Reynolds performed once with PRIMA previously in Oz in Concert last year. She says that working with PRIMA is exciting because they approach theater by trying to impact the audience in an innovation fashion. PRIMA does not yet have its own theater to perform at, however, St. James was the perfect location for Children of Eden. The church itself is beautiful and fit the show wonderfully since there was no set and very few props.
The show is great whether you already know the creation story or not. It presents a new perspective to those who know it by heart and introduces it in a sympathetic way if you don’t.
“It was a wonderful experience to meet so many talented people who have such passion for the art,” Reynolds says.
Overall, it was a stunning performance and a pleasure to witness.
--Alyssa Van Lenten, LSNews.org Local Editor