Beverly Lewis From Pages to the Big Screen
Written byon Jan 31, 2023 6:21 PM
Capturing the essence of a culture is tricky. It requires dedication, understanding, meticulous research, and most of all, passion. Bestselling author and remarkable storyteller Beverly Lewis is no stranger to this. She has added a breath of fresh air to the world of romance novels, offering an Amish flair that is both intriguing and true to their way of life.
In celebration of The Confession Musical coming to theaters nationwide on February 20th, we are excited to share an exclusive blog written by Beverly Lewis (and the first Fathom guest blog) about the conception of the Heritage series and bringing her story to the big screen.
I was nine years old when I wrote my first stories, around the time I learned of my maternal grandmother Ada’s excruciating shunning. Being ousted from her Plain church community and the only people she’d ever known was heartbreaking. Her father warned if she removed her prayer covering to wear a forbidden, gold wedding band, she was never to darken the door of their home again.
As a child, I had no way of comprehending what this shunning meant to Grandmother Ada and to our entire family. Years later, as a young woman—and a budding novelist—I conducted extensive research into Lancaster County’s Amish traditions and secret practices. It was at that time my now-famous lead character, Katie Lapp, was birthed in my heart. You see, Grandma Ada’s great sorrow following her shunning planted the seeds for my Amish series, The Heritage of Lancaster County, from which came The Shunning, its sequels, The Confession and The Reckoning, and subsequently, “The Confession Musical.”
Previously, I had written and published nearly 60 books for young readers, including for pre-teen and teen girls, but I questioned whether the story burning within me, The Shunning, would translate to adult fiction. Write your heart and cling to the Lord. Those words kept coming back to me, encouraging me onward. And, while in deep prayer, I asked God to guide this family story that I felt such urgency to write: the story of my precious grandmother who followed her heart right out of her ultra-strict community to marry a ministerial student, instead of the farmer her father had picked out for her.
When I think of all she endured, my heart is tender, realizing that I am truly a recipient of Grandmother Ada’s brave move to follow the Lord. And I am certain I would not be writing stories set in Amish farmland otherwise. Ada’s dedication to her Savior, Jesus, and to the ministry altered the entire half of our family tree and set me on a path of writing a new sub-genre category: Amish fiction.
To begin writing my first novel for adults, I gathered the pieces of everything I knew about that terrible time for Ada and included Katie Lapp’s unique circumstances of adoption and the search for her birth mother. (The compelling theme of adoption was heavily influenced by my own children’s adoptions.)
More than a decade later, when producer Dan Posthuma approached me about a possible Amish musical based on my popular Heritage book series, I was admittedly surprised. It was hard to imagine someone compressing the story lines from three novels spanning more than a year’s time, into a single stage production. But my husband and I committed the project to prayer.
On opening night at the Blue Gate Theatre, I was impressed, both by Martha Bolton’s script-writing skills and by Wally Nason’s beautiful and well-integrated musical score. “The Confession Musical” was a hit! We traveled to see it numerous times with our extended family and many avid fans in various venues in both Indiana and Pennsylvania. Katie Lapp’s story set to music was truly captivating.
Blue Gate Musicals recently created “The Confession Musical Movie,” set to debut in for one night only, on February 20, 2023—thanks to top movie distributor Fathom Events. It is exciting to know that thousands more live theatre fans will have the opportunity to see this entertaining musical inspired by my Amish novels. And with Chonda Pierce and John Schneider in their starring roles, viewers will be both wowed and inspired by Katie Lapp’s heartwarming love story, rejection (shunning), redemption, and celebration during a story journey like no other…which strangely seems so true-to-life.
Chonda Pierce’s spontaneous antics on stage (her facial expressions!) bring the jovial maid, Rosie, bursting to life. What would this musical play be without the comedic humor Chonda delivers so freely? For comedy lovers, Chonda’s stage presence is pure joy.
John Schneider’s strong portrayal of the deceiving and debonair Dylan Bennet’s character is something to behold. He is truly a character that viewers will love to hate. His lines are delivered so effortlessly, you’re convinced he is Dylan Bennet.
The epic story, the flow of dramatic scenes, and the soaring music will have you clapping right along with the live audience. “My Heart Has Found A Home” will echo in your mind long after the credits, as will the toe-tapping opening and finale “Something ‘Bout a Life that’s Plain.”
I laughed so hard during the song, “What A Mess” and brushed tears away at the showstopper “Where You Are,” an enthralling, if not heartbreaking trio sung by Katie Lapp, her Amish mamma, Rebecca Lapp, and her birth mother, Laura Mayfield.
For sure and for certain, you must see this movie musical to believe it!
~ By Beverly Lewis, author of The Orchard
For more information about The Confession Musical visit our event page! If you would like to enter the sweepstakes for an exclusive prize pack, which includes: Chonda Pierce. Still Laughing After All These Years DVD set, Chonda Pierce Laughing In The Dark Bible Story On the Book Of Job, signed Beverly Lewis. The Confession book, and Beverly Lewis’s newest best-seller The Orchard, leave a comment in the blog! The sweepstakes starts on January 31 and ends February 18, 2023.
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