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Stage: theater, music, dance

March 25, 2004

Bible story

Children of Eden, a biblical musical that starts with Adam and Eve and ends with the Flood, begins performances at Ford's Theatre in Washington tonight.

With a score by Stephen Schwartz -- composer of Godspell and, more recently, Wicked -- Children of Eden was initially composed as an oratorio. It became a full-scale musical with the aid of librettist John Caird, best known as the director of Les Miserables and Nicholas Nickleby. The show met with lukewarm reviews when it debuted in London in 1991, but Schwartz and Caird reworked it, and the result has been produced extensively, though never on Broadway.

The Ford's Theatre production is directed by David H. Bell and stars Becca Ayers, Joe Cassidy and Bradley Dean.

Through June 6 at Ford's, 511 10th St. N.W., Washington. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, with matinees at 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, and 1 p.m. Thursdays, beginning April 8. Tickets are $29-$45. Call 202-347-4833 or visit

-- J. Wynn Rousuck

Monumental Mass

Few works in all of classical music inspire the same level of admiration -- devotion wouldn't be too strong a word -- as the B Minor Mass by Johann Sebastian Bach. On purely musical grounds, it is an astonishing achievement, a summation of everything Bach had learned and mastered, everything that defines the baroque style. But it is much more than this. Bach's setting of the ancient Latin Mass does not appear to have been intended for use in any service; it goes beyond specific liturgical considerations, transcends denominational boundaries, embraces the world of all thinking, caring people.

Tom Hall and his top-notch Baltimore Choral Arts Society will perform the B Minor Mass at Kraushaar Auditorium with orchestra and a strong lineup of soloists -- sopranos Jennifer Casey Cabot and Heather Buck, mezzo-soprano Marietta Simpson, tenor Ryan Turner and baritone Thomas Meglioranza.

Come early for a chance to get closer to the music in a pre-concert "Choral Conversation" that includes singing along with the chorus, followed by a dinner in the lobby.

The performance is at 7 p.m. Sunday at Kraushaar Auditorium, Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson. Tickets are $19 to $29, half-price for students. The Choral Conversation is at 5 p.m., dinner ($10, ordered and paid in advance) is at 6 p.m. Call 410-523-7070 or visit www.baltimorechoralart

-- Tim Smith

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