It was a surreal moment, when just a few days before Christmas, a message came in from the director of a dance company for children and young adults in Colorado Springs, inquiring about the possibility of adapting The Lady and the Lionheart for the stage. My answer?? YES! Not only for the chance to see Charlie and Ella and the whole circus troupe in live action, but because of the heart and purpose behind the dance company — one that encourages children and teens in the performance arts while also sharing the gospel through their yearly productions.
And now, last week, both the dance company and I have signed on the dotted line, and LIONHEART is officially in pre-production! It will be the 2021 performance for the Fidele Youth Dance Company and I couldn’t be more honored to be following in the footsteps of their previous productions such as Women of Faith: Ruth & Esther and Out of Egypt. Here’s a sneak peek of the coming script that is currently being written by the program’s director:
A special thanks to Mimi at the Fidele Youth Dance Company, who after reading The Lady and the Lionheart in novel form, began to envision the costumes and dance numbers, and imagine how it would make it’s way onto the stage. Here’s what she had to say about the inspiration behind the project, following in the wake of COVID 19 challenges that have affected many small-businesses, including the performing arts:
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The way the Gospel is woven throughout the story is just so beautiful, and such a humbling reminder of what real, selfless sacrifice looks like. After a season of non-stop obstacles and challenges as we worked to spread the Gospel and keep optimism, fellowship and joy strong within our students, it was such a relief to be reminded through your words: The battle has already been won. It was such a relief to my heart, and I know it will be to our students as we work through the story, too.
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To know that a story I had the joy of being able to write down has now sparked the creativity of others is one of the greatest honors I could have dreamed of. And when the curtain officially goes up later this year? My mom and I are already planning a road trip to Colorado Springs so that we don’t miss it! And good news! Their productions are recorded so there will be a chance for anyone to watch it online from the comfort of your own home.
Question for you: Do you enjoy the performing arts? What is a stage production that you remember going to see?
This is absolutely the best news and the most wonderful combination of talents I’ve heard of. I’m SO thrilled for both you, the dancers, the audiences and anyone who will be touched by your beautiful story! God is good!
Bev, Seeing your comment warmed my heart today! Thank you for your sweet words and for being such a bright spot along this writing journey.
WHAAAAAT?!?!? This is AWESOME!!
YES!!! I’m so glad it will be recorded!
Wow! That’s so exciting! It will be great to see what they do with your amazing story.
Thank you so much, Winnie!
I remember going to see a production of Hotel Paridiso that my boss’s wife was in. It was 1968.
There is something about the live stage.
I do enjoy the performing arts. I cannot wait to see this beautiful story unfold before my eyes! You so deserve this.
Susan, Me too! Thank you so much for your kind words.
Wow, that sounds very memorable, Paula. I agree, there really is something special about the stage.
Congratulations! This will be such a beautiful blessing. I just finished this book and it was the first book I’ve read of yours. Every detail was beautiful about this book and I’m so excited that we may be able to watch it without traveling! Keep writing beautiful stories Joanne!
Hi Hilary, It makes my day to know that you just finished the book for the first time, and that it’s the 1st that you’ve read. I’m delighted that you enjoyed Charlie and Ella’s story!! And yes — I’m SO glad it will be recorded 😀
Oh my gosh I can’t tell you how excited I am!! This book of yours was so powerful for me, and really started softening my heart (that I didn’t know was hard) and opening my mind (that I wasn’t aware was closed) to the powerful works of God. I realize it’s fiction, but LOVE that it is based on truth. THE Truth of the Gospel. I believe this is my favorite Christian Romance novel and I would absolutely love to see it in stage! I’m a ways away in KC but just might have to take a road trip! I’m glad I will be able to view it online, just in case!
Angela, I can’t tell you how meaningful this is to know. For the book to have been a story that drew you closer to God is the greatest gift I could have as an author. Thank you for sharing with me, and for reading it. So grateful that the gospel message within drew you closer to our Lord. It has done the same for me.
Congratulations! This is great news.
Thank you, Margaret!
This is amazing news! I’m so happy for you and for all who will be involved with the musical. Hooray!
Biggest thanks, friend!!
Jocelyn Green and Joanne Bischof – Two of my favorite authors! Your books are all so special. I’m so excited for this production! Mimi is my daughter and I gave her the book two Christmases ago. I plan to be in Colorado Springs and in the audience to celebrate God’s choreography in all!!
I can hardly put into words how meaningful it is to know that you gave Mimi a copy of the book — and to see how God orchestrated it all. I am SO thankful to you both and look forward to meeting you and Mimi later this year!
Joanne, this is amazing! I am so thankful for the journey God has put you on, and for your faithfulness in following Him. So excited to see what else He has in store for you❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Such a joy to see you here. 🙂 Your words are SUCH an encouragement — thank you for the hope and assurance for this journey. It means a lot!
I am beyond thrilled and happy for you Joanne. And more exciting to know that I will be able to see it at home being performed. What an Amazing Blessing from up above. Congratulations!!!!
Keren, Isn’t it great that it will be recorded? I don’t want anyone to miss it that wants to see it, so I love knowing that you’ll be able to tune in. I’ll be sure to post updates!
How exciting! I’m happy for you.
Thank you, Pam!
Congratulations, Joanne! This is exciting news. Linda and I want to go see it. Any dates yet?
Mona, that would be so special! Last year’s production was in November, so my guess is it will be around that time. It would be lovely to see you AND Linda!
SO thrilled for you!
I LOVE this story! Congratulations!
Thank you for spending that time with Charlie and Ella! It means A LOT to know that the story is one you enjoyed, Cynthia!
I am so, so excited for you, dear friend! I do dearly love the performing arts, theater and dance…one of the things that has grieved my heart most in this pandemic season has been the closing of all these things. So learning of the plans for this beautiful story of yours to come to life on stage makes me doubly happy! So happy to hear it will be recorded also…I definitely will want to find a way to see that, and for my mom too, who really loves this book of yours. 🙂 Hugs and yay!
It is always such a treat having a comment from you! If I remember right, you and your husband went to a play early in your relationship, right? I am so glad it will be recorded, also, and love the idea of you getting to tune in! So wish we could get together again one day soon. I remember our fun lunch at Macaroni Grill. Hoping we can do it again before too long! <3
Joanne: I am so thrilled for you, friend! What a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved! I’m already planning to come see the production.
Thank you Beth! I am so excited to get to come to your neck of the woods. Hoping we can squeeze in that coffee visit with you and others. It would be so lovely!
This is so awesome, Joanne! Wish I could be there. How fun! You’ll have to post a bunch of photos.
I sure will, Sandy! Thank you so much!