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When Calls The Heart ((BETTER))

Elizabeth Thatcher, a young teacher accustomed to her high society life,receives her first classroom assignment in Coal Valley, a small coal mining town where life is simple, but often fraught with challenges.Abigail Stanton is a wife and mother whose husband, the foreman of the mine, along with a dozen other miners, has just been killed in an explosion. The newly widowed women find their faith is tested when they must go to work in the mines to keep a roof over their heads.Set against the wild canvas of an early 20th century coal town, Elizabeth will have to learn the ways of the frontier if she wishes to thrive in the rural west on her own.

When Calls the Heart


Parents need to know that When Calls the Heart is a faith-based drama series inspired by the Hallmark TV movie of the same name. It follows an indomitable frontier woman who takes a teaching job in a Canadian coal-mining town recovering from tragedy. Her courage, kindness, and perseverance make her an excellent role model, and she's surrounded by other heroic female figures. Because it's set in the past, some of the characters' experiences may seem foreign to kids, but this also means it's a good opportunity for history-based learning. When the plot touches on serious issues such as sexuality, it does so in gentle and vague terms that will sail over young kids' heads (as when a woman speaks of a man wanting her to "be friendly" toward him). But the show takes great care in presenting other harsh realities of life, such as illness and death, for what they are, so be ready to reassure sensitive kids.

The show's main characters demonstrate impressive emotional strength. What do you call on for inspiration when you face a tough challenge? Do you have a favorite saying or prayer that encourages you?

Setting up my tour was done very easily. Melanie handles the tours and personally escorts you around the Jamestown set, telling stories and pointing things out along the way. She answered my questions and let me take all the photos I wanted and spend as much time looking around as I needed. If you book a tour, please keep in mind that the Jamestown set is not dressed with props when the show is not in production, so it may look a little different than it does on TV. Melanie shared with me that when the season is done filming, everything from the show is carted off the premises. Crews haul everything back once the show has been renewed for another season.

How exciting for your granddaughter to have worked on the show! And although she lost the job when she got her braces, how neat that you can all gather and re-watch those early seasons and look for her. That is a keepsake you will have for always! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your comment. ?

Thanks SO much for your comment, all the way from Brazil. So neat that you found my site. I hop you will be able to visit Hope Valley when you come to Vancouver one day. It will really bring the show to life for you. ?

In Season 1, Abigail is one of the widows Elizabeth first meets when she gets to Coal Valley. She is one of the first women to welcome Elizabeth and the two women quickly become friends. She invited Elizabeth into her Row house after the teacherage was burnt and Elizabeth later in the season moved with her to the cafe when Abigail opened it. In the beginning of season 1, Henry Gowen wants the row houses for the new miners and in order to save their homes the widows (and eventually all the women) go into the mine to save their homes. Abigail is a source of strength to the widows in Coal Valley.

Abigail had a brief relationship with Bill Avery before she found out he was married, and later when his former wife shows up threatening Abigail for her relationship with Bill. In early season 2 during the mining company trial, Abigail discovers that her son Peter was married, and meets his widow, Clara Stanton. Later in the Cafe Abigail and Clara have a heart to heart talk about Peter and Clara promises to write to Abigail when she gets back to Hamilton. However, when Clara doesn't write, Abigail begins to worry and goes to look for her in Hamilton. When Abigail finds Clara, she works with Bill Avery to release Clara of her work and then Clara comes back with Abigail to Hope Valley.

Abigail has a hot and cold relationship with Paster Frank Hogan, complicated by his past, and the Garrison Gang. However, when the Garrison's are arrested, Abigail and Frank resume their relationship and become closer yet.

In this adventure as in most stories of the American frontier the viewer is taken back to the time of stage coach travels but the setting in this film is that of western Canada. Our heroine is a debutante lady of the upper class and when she turns down the advances of the man that places the teachers, she finds herself being directed to the a small town out west. With the help from a diary that belonged to her aunt, Elizabeth attempts to walk in the footsteps of her name sake.

The opening number, "Toronto," set the time period well and introduced us to the extraordinarily strong ensemble of singers and dancers. The staging and choreography during this song, and throughout the show, made full use of the limited space, with energy bursting from the stage.Jaclyn Kelly Shaw (Elizabeth Thatcher) immediately brought an immense charisma as she introduced us to Elizabeth, and her portrayal made me immediately invested in her story despite not knowing where the story would lead. I could listen to her effortless soprano all day, which especially shone in her first solo number, "Happily Restless." One of the highlights of the show for me was Elizabeth's other big song in Act 1, "Move On," a show-stopping solo with wildly strong vocals, when she had to make a key decision about where her life might go next.Elizabeth later sings a sweet, heartfelt number with her father (played by James Stover) before leaving out west to join her brother and hopefully find a job as a schoolteacher. The song, called "I Know," pointed out that things in life always come at some cost, in this case- such as saying goodbye to her family and the entire world she knows in order to try something new and maybe better. This idea circles back in Act 2, a thematic thread which I appreciated, and the faith-based message that "Where God sends us, he provides" is also a theme that will resonate with audiences of today's tumultuous world.

The other standout performer in the show is Elizabeth's love interest, Jack Delaney, played by Caleb Shaw. Jack is a Mountie (otherwise known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, found wearing those iconic red uniforms) who is temporarily stationed in Elizabeth's new hometown of Pine Valley. Despite Elizabeth's original aversion to falling in love with an uncivilized man of the West, she and Jack have immaculate chemistry from their very first meeting. Part of this should be credited to the actors (as incredibly, Shaw and Shaw are married in real life!) but the rest can be attributed to the lively, wit-filled dialogue of the show, especially in their shared scenes.The charm of the characters and cast continues to shine after Elizabeth actually makes her way to her new town; the ensemble women who play the wives and mothers in Pine Valley harmonized well together, and their song welcoming her to town ("Being Neighborly") was comedic and fun. In general, the comedic timing from then on (as well as the scenic design, which I won't mention too much of in lieu of spoiling potential viewers) knocked it out of the park. I was cackling during Elizabeth's first night on her own in her new cabin home as she attempted to deal with fears of mice, wolves, fire, and more. But of course Jack came to the rescue, and their first duet together, "Unexpected," was heartfelt and lovely.

This nit-picking about the pacing, though, doesn't take away from the pure enjoyment I took from the entire experience. I would highly recommend this production to any musical lover; it was just the kind of uplifting, charm-filled experience that's perfect for a summer afternoon or evening.I was blown away by the quality of the music, the story, and the cast of WHEN CALLS THE HEART THE MUSICAL. They've genuinely got something special and I know that these songs will become classic in time. Each scene was filled with love and care, and whether we as the audience were laughing or sharing in their heartfelt moments of yearning, hope, or realization, the emotional journeys of these characters felt genuine and earned.The musical's director, Alex Price, noted that the show is special to him for many reasons, one being that he could relate to Elizabeth's journey. "My calling changed. I was led somewhere I never thought I'd be, but I absolutely love it. That journey is something everything can relate with, and it's almost therapeutic to see it on stage and know that you aren't alone and that it's okay not to know!" It's not just a Hallmark love story (though I will admit that the romance did, in fact, make me both laugh and cry at multiple points throughout the show). "It's a story about finding yourself through the love of others and yourself," said Price.

For those who might not be able to make it over to Nappanee, fear not. According to Price, the team behind the show are currently formulating plans to take WHEN CALLS THE HEART THE MUSICAL to a larger audience. "I can certainly say it has a life outside of Nappanee," he said. "Whether it's a tour, a long run in a larger city, or licensing it to other theatre companies. Only time will tell!"But luckily it's still playing for a few more weeks in the barn! So if you're in the midwest, be sure to stop by and see this gem of a show when you have the chance.WHEN CALLS THE HEART THE MUSICAL plays through July 17 at the Round Barn Theatre, at The Barns at Nappanee (1600 West Market Street, Nappanee, IN). You can find more information on their website here or buy your tickets online here.Photographs courtesy of the Round Barn Theatre and photographer Ben Hannah. 041b061a72

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