A chat with Paul Lewis | Bookends

Correction: The Memoir Writing Class I am presenting is on May 6, not May 26 as was printed erroneously in my last column. Sorry if this caused you any problem. There’s still time to register. Email me at well toldtales@aol.com.

Now, let’s talk about the new musical that is being presented at the Jewel Box Theatre in Poulsbo (across from the Post Office). The name of this presentation is “The Crossing, A Musical.” It is the winner of a Seattle Times 2016 Footlights Award for Promising New Work and was nominated by Seattle Theater Writers for outstanding musical composition.

This lovely play was written by Paul Lewis and Carissa Meisner Smit, and the music is also by Paul.

The story is set in 1932 when Amelia Earhart prepares to make her flight across the Atlantic, and she consults with a meteorologist to get some advice.

The cast: Bronsyn Foster as Amelia Earhart, Walt Brown as Ray Spencer, Jeff Brown as George Putman, Nita Wilson as Mary Spencer, Fred Saas as Danny Riggins, Joe Prevost as the Editor and Carly Tazzano as The Fury. “The Crossing” is directed by Sharon Greany.

I met with Paul to talk about his writing and composing. I learned that he and his wife are both interested in music, and besides the piano, Paul also plays the bass and the guitar. He has played in a few bands around Bainbridge Island, but for now he’d rather concentrate on writing his musical scripts.

He said he loves telling the stories in his scripts. When I asked him how detailed the manuscript for a play or musical needed to be, he said he writes the singing and speaking parts but is minimally involved in stage direction because he “doesn’t want to get in the way of an actor’s reaction to the words.”

Children’s stories are especially attractive to this writer’s talents. Paul’s latest projects include the story of “The Gingerbread Man.” Won’t that be fun to see being presented in a musical format?

The Boston Children’s Theatre produced the world premiere of his musical adaptation of “Caps For Sale” in March 2016. He told me he is currently working on a musical adaptation of another legendary children’s book — “The Runaway Bunny” — and I anticipate an announcement in the upcoming months about a 2018 production at a major children’s theater.

Some of Paul’s latest and upcoming productions are:

“Timmy Perlmutter Goes Flying” — NW10 Festival of Ten-Minute Plays, Eugene, Oregon, in March.

“The Crossing, A Musical” — The Jewel Box Theatre, Poulsbo, now through April.

“The Names” — a staged reading at FUSION Theatre, Albuquerque, with live music by members of the New Mexico Philharmonic, on April 30.

“My Beautiful Voyage” — North Park Vaudeville and Candy Shoppe, San Diego, in May.

You can learn more about Paul on his web site at www.paullewis.work.

I’m planning to attend the performance of “The Crossing” on April 1. Paul will be there too for the 7:30 p.m. show. He will stay after the play to talk to the audience and answer questions they might have about this remarkable story of Amelia Earhart.

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Did you know that Liberty Bay Books has a store in Bremerton, in addition to the one in Poulsbo?

And did you know that Liberty Bay Books has an event the second Monday of each month from 6-7 p.m. at Valhöll Brewery? This event is called the Books &Brew Book Club. Pizza is provided by That’s-A-Some-Italian but the beer is on you. For more details, go to www.libertybaybooks .com.

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One last thing: Debbie Macomber really doesn’t need any help selling her books, but her latest is now available and is one of her nicest stories. “If Not For You” is a story of love in the making. I hope you enjoy it too.

— Donna Lee Anderson teaches writing and is the author of two novels and a reference book for writers. Contact her at welltold tales@aol.com.