A new musical based on the Bible story of Genesis, starring singer Russell Watson as the voice of God, comes to Sheffield next year on an arena tour.
The show is a retelling of the Biblical story of Adam and Eve’s fall from the Garden of Eden.West End lstars Hugh Maynard and Kerry Ellis appear as Adam and Eve.
The spectacular production will see the Garden of Eden created with a host of special effects including fire, water and animatronics. Set designer Jacqueline Pyle created the scenery for the London Olympic opening and closing ceremonies.
The show is the first written by Mansfield Woodhouse woman Sara Jeffs, who was inspired to create it after reading the story of Adam and Eve to her children at bedtime.
Speaking at the show launch, Sara was overwhelmed by how quickly things had come together.
“I keep using the word surreal. I can’t think of another word that describes it as much.
“Just to see it come to life like this and to see the team that is embracing it and the passion of everyone involved is incredible to me.”
Sara said she had always loved to write music from being a child but saw it as a very personal thing.
She said: “I saw the story more from Adam’s perspective: to have Paradise and lose it and to feel responsible for that.”
Her husband, David, is a musician and he encouraged Sara to show her script to people who could help her get it on stage.
Hugh Maynard has played lead roles in top West End shows such as Jesus Christ Superstar, The Lion King, We Will Rock You and Miss Saigon but he was still feeling apprehensive.
He said: “I’m still taking it all in, I’m not going to lie. It’s this vast thing of representing Man.”
Russell Watson was feeling upbeat about playing God. He said: “It’s pretty good, actually, like the ultimate role.
“It’s incredibly exciting, not least because the music is fantastic. I’ve watched the music evolve over a period of time.
“To hear it with an orchestra is nice. It was just piano and voice and now it’s full of these complex pieces of music.
“It’s almost operatic, almost classical. It’s very impressive.”
Russell said that Bible stories had successfully translated into show such as Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
He was surprised that the Genesis story hadn’t been tackled before in a musical.
To have a show written by an unknown author go straight into huge arenas could be seen as risky, Russell admitted.
He said: “It’s a big gamble, what they’re doing.
“I’m absolutely positive that it’s going to be a gamble that will pay off and be hugely successful.”
Russell added: “I’m really proud and pleased to be involved with this project.
“It’s quite a challenge for me, taking on the optimal role.”
For further details, go to Heaven on Earth the musical
Heaven on Earth
March 7 to 10, 2018