Shipshewana, IN (PRWEB) April 30, 2014
A chance encounter in Florida created an unlikely collaboration between a Shipshewana, Indiana business owner and a well-loved author of Amish “bonnet” novels. The result: a popular new musical in one of the fastest-growing entertainment venues in the Midwest.
Over the past year, The Blue Gate Theater in Shipshewana has brought to its concert venue in the heart of Amish country such big name performers as Clint Black, Mandisa, The Charlie Daniels Band, and Michael W. Smith. The 2014 line-up is just as impressive, with B.J. Thomas, Lee Greenwood, Crystal Gayle, Sawyer Brown, Kenny Rogers, and Natalie Grant among the star performers.
But another story takes place in an intimate theater atop The Blue Gate Restaurant in downtown Shipshewana. When Blue Gate owner Mel Reigsecker met author Wanda E. Brunstetter while wintering in Florida a couple of years ago, the two decided to collaborate on a new Amish musical. The original play was inspired by Brunstetter's popular novel, “Half-Stitched,” a four-star reader's pick on Amazon.com. The musical adaptation has played to sold-out audiences for two seasons and will return on April 29 for a 10-week run.
“Half-Stitched, The Musical” is billed as featuring “six loose threads and an Amish widow.” With delightful music by composer Wally Nason and orchestrations by Russell Mauldin, the audience is drawn into a sweet story of friendship, family, and forgiveness. Amish widow Emma Yoder's quilt class brings together an eclectic mix of characters, from Star, a young woman yearning for stability, to Paul, a widow hoping to find solace in finishing a quilt. Along the way, they are joined by a couple at odds in their marriage, a pastor's wife, and a tough biker doing community service. As their problems begin to bind them together, like scraps in a patchwork quilt, they learn to open up and help one another.
Cast members come from as far away as South Carolina and Nevada and as nearby as Sturgis, Michigan. John Davis of Sturgis is returning this year as Lamar Miller, an Amish fellow with a special interest in the quilting class.
“Half-Stitched” author Wanda E. Brunstetter lives in Washington State, but became fascinated with the Amish way of life when visiting relatives in Pennsylvania. She has visited Shipshewana several times and will return on Wednesday, June 25 during the annual Shipshewana Quilt Festival, where she will sign books and participate in a quilt auction.
“It was a joy to work with the producers of The Blue Gate Theater musicals creating the characters for my novel, ‘The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club‘, which they used as the basis for their wonderful musical ‘Half-Stitched’,” said Brunstetter. “I’ve had the privilege of seeing the play several times and have been impressed with the incredible talent of the actors who portray the characters in my novel. The response from the audience has been great, too, as everyone seems to relate to at least one of the characters.”
Tickets for “Half-Stitched” are going fast. To reserve your seats, call the box office at 1-888-447-4725 or order online at riegsecker.com.