What started out in the wee morning hours, especially for this night owl, ended after 9 p.m. and was an enlightening and enjoyable day. Now you may think five hours one-way to Indiana would be quite boring, but the conversation, scenery and of course, my iPod, made the voyage comfortable.
Aboard the Pioneer Trails motorcoach, our calm and cool driver Tom Mullet navigated along the winding roads of Ohioís Amish Country and the flat roadways of western Ohio with great ease. But then we got off the freeway, just 30 miles away from the Blue Gate Restaurant and theater - our final destination. A semi-truck driver started pointing and gesturing. No, it wasnít that kind of gesture. Tom quickly realized our bus had a flat tire. As he pulled off the roadway to inspect the damage, two able-bodied fellas exited the bus too. I guess it takes more than one guy to determine if a tire is flat. While some passengers were beginning to brood about how much this flat would delay our arrival, Tom announced the tire wasnít too bad and if we drove slowly, we could make it to Shipshewana. And you know what, he was right! What could have been the start of a terrible day in Indiana, ended up being just a minor hiccup. Kudos to Tom and his experience.
As we arrived at the Blue Gate Restaurant, I must say that it was very similar to our own Amish Country restaurants. We were treated to a banquet style meal and even got to speak with the musicalís actors, writer and producer. The owner of the Blue Gate was on hand to officially greet us. He is the executive producer of the show.
Hereís an interesting tidbit about the Blue Gate. A few years ago, Good Morning America had a contest to determine what was the cleanest and nicest public restroom in America. The Blue Gateís facilities came in third place. As our host stated, ďHere at the Blue Gate, itís the only place you can have 1, 2 and 3 all at the same place!Ē
But, back to The Confession. After all, that was what we had all come to see. As many of you know, I enjoy musicals and plays. But I must be honest, I have not read the Beverly Lewis books and the thought of an Amish musical didnít really excite me. After all, this wasnít going to be like the musical Chicago!
As we huddled into the quaint theater that seats about 300, audience members came from nearby states such as Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Ohio. A wide range of ages were represented and everyone seemed eager for the show to begin.
I will not go into detail about the showís scenes or ending. If you read the book, you know how it ends and also, Iím no spoiler! But I will say that any ideas I had prior to the showís beginning were thrown out the window! This was no little production. The scenes, dialogue and the singing - yes, the singing - blew me away. I didnít expect the signing to be as powerful at it was. The actors and actresses are great at weaving the story.
There was one scene where the Amish mother, main character Katie and English mother sang. Each woman had her own harmony and lyrics. It blended together to form a powerful, heart-stopping melody that left everyone on the edge of his or her seats. I even glanced around at other audience members and noticed quite a few were wiping some tears away. OK, I confess, I did well up too. Itís difficult not to appreciate good talent like what I saw on the Blue Gate stage.
As Iíve stated before, I thoroughly enjoyed The Confession. For any doubters out there that this is not a good performance or shouldnít be on the stage due to itís subject matter and dealing with the Amish lifestyle and shunning, I say to you, donít judge the show before you see it. It is a dramatization of the Amish lifestyle and one familyís journey. Not every English family is the same, nor is every Amish family. I believe The Confession is going to be a positive boost to Ohioís Amish Country and will provide tourists with another option of entertainment.
Published: May 2, 2012