Local composer puts Noah in a whole new light

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By Sara Miller

There are countless plays, musicals and movies about Noah. And each one ends the same — with a monumental flood and a rainbow. But how many of us really know about Noah, the man responsible for repopulating the Earth as we know it? Have you ever thought about Noah’s life before he was thrust into the spotlight?

The premiere of the musical “Noah: Come Hell or High Water” will take place Sept. 3. Everything you thought you knew about Noah and the Ark will be turned upside down.

“Noah” was the brainchild of Jeannie Edwards of Morrison and her writing partner, Roslyn Catracchia. In 2001, Edwards and her husband left Evergreen and moved to Honolulu. During their time in Hawaii, the Edwardses became involved in the local arts scene, where Jeannie Edwards first met Catracchia.

Catracchia is a prolific and high-profile composer in Hawaii. She has released three CDs of her own music and written numerous plays and musicals. Catracchia, always appreciative of Edwards’ writing talent and wry sense of humor, approached Edward about writing a musical about Noah.

“At first I was resistant because so many things have been done about Noah. But then I realized we could do a show that deals with Noah as a real person — and not just a biblical character,” says Edwards.

In “Noah: Come Hell or High Water,” Noah is a young boy born into a highly dysfunctional family that exploits and objectifies its children. Given his seedy family, Noah is up against great odds and must learn to make his way in the world on his own.

The result is a unique Noah that you’ve never seen before.

“Given the subject, you would think this is either a kiddie show or a church pageant. It’s neither of those,” Says Edwards. “In fact, it’s not very ‘religious’ at all. The story is a modern-day adaptation and is based on a lot of commentary about contemporary culture. And it’s really funny, too.”

Since debuting to sold-out houses in Hawaii in 2004, the show has evolved into the musical that will debut this week. Edwards and family have since relocated back to Colorado and have pulled together quite a pool of talent for their production.

Leonard E. Barrett Jr. will appear as Noah, fresh from performances at the Democratic National Convention in “Show Up For Democracy.” The show’s technical director is Dan McNeil of the Denver Center Theater. Musical numbers run the gamut from tango to hip-hop. Edwards has recruited professionally trained dancers from throughout the metro area.

“One song in the show where they are building the ark is a Stomp-style piece. We have this amazing cast of dancers who really bring it to life,” says Edwards.

“Noah: Come Hell or High Water” is a living, breathing story of a man who fought to keep his head above water in the face of adversity. It seems only fitting that the cast and crew who spin this tale are as diverse as the world for which Noah fought.

“Noah: Come Hell or High Water”

Evening shows on Sept. 3, 4, 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m.; afternoon matinee on Sept. 6 at 2 p.m.

Rockland Community Church, 17 S. Mount Vernon Country Club Drive, Golden

Tickets are $15. For tickets in advance, call 303-670-7197.

Proceeds benefit at-risk children in the U.S., Tanzania and Romania.