I’ve noticed that a lot of people think Eden in Babylon is a musical about “helping the homeless.” It’s natural that this conception should have come about. However, to describe it in such terms is inaccurate. Eden in Babylon is a musical about a group of Street Kids and “Rainbow Kids” who prefer living outdoors to living in abusive family situations. These self-respecting young people are very sensitive about being treated as though they are “less than” other people. They are particularly sensitive to the classist notion that rich people are superior to poor people.

The show opens when the main character, Winston Greene, emerges from forty days and forty nights of fasting. He intends to announce his spiritual enlightenment, but instead greets an intervention team that hauls him off to a psych ward. There, Winston – a sheltered White kid from privilege — encounters poverty for the first time, in the form of the Kids whom he meets in the ward. It is also there in the psych ward that Winston meets and falls in love with Taura, an impoverished young person whose parents have also sheltered her. Together, along with the other Kids, they hit the road.

Winston’s alarmed parents hire an expensive search team to look for him, as Winston and the Kids elude them in various outdoor venues. (Thus, I was able to depict the fullness of the homeless realm: the streets, people who live in Nature, and so forth.) Once he is finally apprehended, Winston is taken through the criminal justice system. By that time, the Kids have grown to love him. They are incensed at his arrest, and the next time we see them, they are in jail for having vandalized the gated community in which Winston’s parents live.

Naturally this leads to a Superior Court trial and to the remarkable cameo appearance of one Judge Jimson, who will be instrumental in ensuring that all parties leave the Courtroom satisfied. For there is an enormous happy ending in the last scene of Eden in Babylon, wherein rich & poor strike an agreement that is beneficial. The ending has been described by one person as a “microcosmic view of what needs to happen macrocosmically.”

So, while it would be accurate to describe Eden in Babylon as a show about youth homelessness; it is not a show about “helping’ the homeless, specifically. Eden in Babylon is about inequality and the abuse of authority in America – and about the solution to be found in Bridging the Gap.

— from Andy Pope’s post to the Eden in Babylon Interest Group, September 19, 2020.

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