Greenup County native has starring role in upcoming movie

Feb. 7—A Greenup County native will star in an inspirational movie which will be shown in the area on Feb. 20.

Caroline Clay, daughter of Tom and Robin Clay, plays the role of an Amish girl who learns she's adopted and her search for her birth mother in "The Confession Musical," based on a novel by Beverly Lewis. It was performed as a stage show at Blue Gate Theatre in Shipshewana, Indiana, which Clay said presented a unique acting experience.

"It was a real challenge for me to kind of blend trying to play an authentic Amish young woman and being onstage as an actor," she said. "On stage, you have to project your voice and Amish young women don't do that. Most will speak German or Dutch in their homes, so they often speak with an accent."

A graduate of Morehead State University in theatre and communications, Clay said she had connections to the producers so she heard about the opportunity and wanted the role of Katie Lapp.

"There is a song in 'The Confession,' 'I'm Lost' that Katie sings in her attic after she finds out she is adopted. It just so happens that the producers of Blue Gate Musicals, Dan Posthuma and Wally Nason, have heard me sing that song before for various projects I have collaborated with them on in the past," Clay said, noting it's a great song for her to perform. "It's right in my range, I love the emotion behind it. ... It's just perfect for me. So, when the auditions were announced for 'The Confession,' I spoke to Wally and he suggested that I audition with that song, since it's part of the show. I sent in a video of me singing it, and the rest is history."

To play the part of an Amish woman, Clay said she visited an Amish community in the area and spoke with some of the women about their lives.

"They were so kind and helpful," she said. "While they were making doughnuts they talked to me about what it's like growing up as a young woman in the Amish community and I took notes and I observed how they stood and their mannerisms."

Also starring with Clay are John Schneider, best known for his role as Bo Duke in "The Dukes of Hazzard," and comedian Chonda Pierce.

"Chonda became like a mom to me, and I was so surprised when one day, after only knowing each other for a week, she brought me a gift!" Clay said. "It was a lovely crocheted shawl, and I was so surprised when I opened it. She said she had been shopping, saw it, and just thought it was something I would like. I was overwhelmed by her kindness, and now I wear my shawl almost every day."

She also made a friend in Caitlin Borek, who plays Allison in the show.

"Every single day (sometimes twice a day), she would take time out of her own schedule to braid my hair so that it would fit under my bonnet," she said. "... Getting it all on top of my head was a challenge. But Caitlin used her talents to make sure none of it would fall out of my Amish bonnet, and I so appreciate her for that. She is such a good friend."

Clay had good things to say about all her fellow actors, including John Michael, who plays Daniel — "I could not have hand-picked a better co-star to play most of my scenes with" — and Bobby Hall and Monica DePaul, who are part of the ensemble cast as well as serving as backstage managers and cast managers.

"Playing Katie Lapp is a three-hour marathon, with several costume changes, props to carry on and off stage, and lots of running back and forth," she said. "They helped me every step of the way! They 'put out fires' everywhere, made sure that everything was organized and ready, and for that I have unending admiration and thankfulness for them."

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