Eden in Babylon Creator Andy Pope
By George Petersen
I first met Andy during our teen years, when we began playing regular gigs in rock bands in Naples, Italy, where his father had been stationed by the U.S. Navy. And from that first day, I was impressed by Andy’s musical skills, amazing sense of creativity and intense passion for the Performing Arts.
Andy Pope began playing piano at the age of seven. A musical prodigy, he was accompanying his elementary school choir by the age of eight. When he was ten, he composed two “rags” in the style of classic ragtime, gaining him admission into the National Ragtime Society. Two years later, he won first place in the Junior Advanced category of a tri-county piano competition.
Returning to the States for his senior year in high school, Andy was introduced to Musical Theatre through an inspiring high school production of Man of La Mancha. Before long, he became Musical Director of Lincoln Summer Theatre in Stockton, CA and the U.C. Davis Student Musical Theatre, before going on to a successful musical career for many years on the San Francisco Bay Area Peninsula. Andy has also written a number of musicals, including The Burden of Eden and Eden in Babylon.
In 2004, a costly medical misdiagnosis led to a health crisis of extreme proportion, hurling Andy into homelessness for over a decade. Undeterred by the situation, he continued to work, completing The Burden of Eden, some of whose pieces were performed at Peninsula Teen Opera during his tenure as an accompanist for Peninsula Voice Studio. He also worked both as a Musical Director for Theatre in the Mountains in Los Gatos, CA as well as a singing teacher for Children’s Musical Theatre San Jose. Despite his energy, the challenges of homelessness eventually led Andy to stop working on anything other than his artistic pursuits. During the years 2013 thru 2016, he composed music incessantly while living outdoors. It was during that period that he created the musical score to Eden in Babylon.
In 2016, Andy returned to the city of his birth. There, he notated and sequenced the Eden in Babylon score using Finale software, completing the first draft of the script in March 2017. An initial demo was produced in June 2018 involving singers from the Lionel Hampton School of Music. From 2019 to 2021, a number of workshops brought his work to fruition. Andy currently is submitting the show to select theatre companies nationwide.
A journalist during the past four years, Andy’s work has appeared in Berkeleyside, the Spokesman-Review, Classism Exposed, Spokane Faith and Values, and a newspaper called Street Spirit, where his column — “Homeless No More” — has encouraged those who have escaped homelessness during their transition to indoor living.
At the present time, Andy lives quietly in his secluded home on the outskirts of Moscow, Idaho, where he is a member of Moscow First Presbyterian Church.
George Petersen is the Editor of FRONT of HOUSE, the industry’s leading magazine for the application of advanced audio technologies for live performing arts.
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