Amish Musical, The Confession, Starring John Schneider and Chonda Pierce, Releases to Theaters Feb. 20
The musical, based on Beverly Lewis' book series "The Heritage of Lancaster County," will be in theaters one night only.
“The Confession,” a musical based on author Beverly Lewis’ Amish book series The Heritage of Lancaster County has been popular for the last decade. But the musical will be more accessible now that it is on film and will be released in movie theaters for a one-night only Fathom Event February 20. John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard) and comedienne Chonda Pierce are part of the incredible cast.
Beverly Lewis told The Stream that the musical takes a bit of a humorous departure from the book, but that’s okay for the best-selling author. “[It’s] kind of comic relief because it [has] such heavy themes.” She is talking about a secret adoption and the main character’s quest to find her birth mother. It’s also a love story. “[T]here’s so many layers. You’re laughing and you’re almost crying at the same time. Everybody’s telling me this. … It addresses so many layers of feeling, emotion, motivation, and the love of God conquers all in the end.”
John Schneider plays Dylan Bennett, a gold-digging husband who wants his dying wife’s estate all to himself. Chonda Pierce plays Rosie, the wife’s maid, who is determined to fulfill the dying woman’s request to find her daughter who was adopted many years before. “John Schneider is such a strong character for the deceiving Dylan Bennett. Boy is he,” said Lewis. “I told my husband, I said, ‘he really captured Dylan Bennett the conniving, I don’t want to say evil, but anyway, he really captured his character well.’
“But the other thing is that they had Chonda Pierce, who’s stunning in her role as Rosie. Well, it makes everybody laugh, especially at all the right places where, you know, you’re really not sure if you wanna cry first.”
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John Schneider, who told The Stream that he’s been in musicals many times over the years, said that acting in this musical was a dream come true. “[T]he whole idea of filming this musical was brand new to me, so I jumped at it. I love the storyline. I love the music. … Chonda and the rest of the cast are certainly amazing. I enjoyed every minute of it.” He added:
[O]ne of the other great things about this show is you feel [sadness] right on the heels of a joke, you know? There’s something funny that happens and then all of a sudden you’re in the shunning and then there’s something lovely that happens after that and hopeful. So it’s what musical theater should be. You know, a movie can get away with being exciting, you know, one thing. Or dramatic or sad or funny. But a musical, a well-written musical, has to be all of those things. And one right after the other. And this certainly is all of that.
Lewis has high hopes for the message that audiences will take away. “The acceptance of the Love of Christ. Redemption, in the aspect of a community, a close-knit community and family. Obviously it is a strong love story and … Laura Mayfield, who is the birth mom that Katie finds, she has a most wonderful spiritual theme that even a person who didn’t know the Lord and maybe weren’t churched or affiliated at all with any sort of religion — they’ll get it.
“And it’s so subtle and so powerful. It’s just amazing. And it’s like all of the salvation of Christ is right there available, and it is never said in any way that would turn anyone off. In fact, I think it draws you. And so I love that. And I love the music. The music’s wonderful. You want to just get up and dance and clap!”
Schneider agreed. “They will laugh. They will cry. They will wonder. They will hold the hand a little tighter of whomever they came with, which to me is a really important emotion. So they’ll, I think, appreciate what they have more after it. They will tap their foot, they will sing along at the end.”
The Fathom Event will take place February 20 with a matinee at 3 p.m. and an evening showing at 7 p.m. For more information, go to Fathomevents.com.
Watch the trailer:
Nancy Flory, Ph.D., is a senior editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.