'Pippin,' 'Wicked' composer visits TYA cast

The cast of Trumbull Youth Association’s production of Children of Eden was treated to a question and answer session last Wednesday afternoon with Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz.

In addition to writing the score for Children of Eden, Schwartz has written several hit musicals including Godspell, Wicked and Pippin.

Accompanying him on this visit was Broadway actress Kelli Rabke. Rabke is the voice of Yonah on the original recording of Children of Eden and portrayed Yonah in a 1997 Paper Mill Production of the musical.

Children of Eden Director Brett Boles introduced Schwartz as one of the “greatest living composers” as a hush fell over the kids. He shared with the cast how he became involved with the musical and how it evolved into the show that we enjoy today. Cast members proceeded to ask both the composer and

Ms. Rabke questions about Children of Eden. When asked what message he would like the audience to take away from the show, Schwartz explained that although he doesn’t necessarily write with the intention of delivering a certain message, that Children of Eden is one of his favorite scores because it contains “more of the things I care about, it is very personal.” He believes that the themes of family, second chances, personal relationships and personal responsibility resonate with the audience.

After the question and answer period came to a close, all moved into the Trumbull High School commons, where Annie Stachura, who is playing TYA’s Yonah, performed that character’s signature song, Stranger to the Rain, for the song’s composer and the actress who originally recorded the song.

Before this much anticipated visit came to a close, Rabke treated the cast to her rendition of Popular from the musical, Wicked. TYA said it was an experience these young actors and actresses will not soon forget.

Children of Eden opens this Friday, Aug. 1, and tickets can be purchased online at www.showtix4u.com or at the door. Performance dates are Aug. 1-3 and Aug. 8-10.