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News & Events

Professor Adapts Bestselling Novel for the Stage

By Rachel Judy

July 9, 2012

Scott Hayes

Photo by W.C. Green

The story of the prophet Hosea found in the Old Testament is the story of a man commanded by God to marry an unfaithful prostitute as a picture of God's commitment to unfaithful Israel. The stark telling of the prophet's struggle was the basis for Francine Rivers' bestselling novel Redeeming Love, and is now the basis for Regent University theatre department chair Scott Hayes' latest creative effort.

Hayes has turned Rivers' novel into a stage adaptation that was recently picked up by the Americana Theatre Company, based out of Massachusetts. Hayes' work is the first and only adaptation authorized by Rivers, whose book has sold more than a million copies to date.

The Americana Theatre Company is the brainchild of Derek Martin '09 (Communication & the Arts). Martin, a native of the South Shore area of Massachusetts, had been planning to start a theatre company there for years. With the support of his wife, Jennifer '08 (Com/Arts), and several other Regent alumni, they launched their inaugural season in 2011.

With news of the show's anticipated summer schedule, the book's author herself recently endorsed the play on her blog. Her endorsement prompted an overwhelmingly positive response from fans of the novel, eager to see its characters brought to life.

"[Hayes is] an outstanding writer, and I couldn't have been more pleased with his adaptation," Rivers said. "Each time this play has been presented, it has met with success. I believe it is because God is at the center, and that is what we all have wantedto glorify the Lord and for others to know the depth and height of His amazing love."

"I think the response is indicative of the strong connection people have made with Francine Rivers' writing in general, and particularly Redeeming Love," Hayes explained. "For most of [Rivers'] followers, this was their first awareness of the play version, and the volume of the response was astounding. People love this story; they see themselves in the lives of the characters."

Hayes' adaptation of Rivers' book debuted last fall at a women's conference at New Life Providence Church in Virginia Beach, Va. Now, with the upcoming Americana Theatre Company production, Hayes is seeing the potential reach the play can have.

"I'm incredibly pleased by the sheer amount of performance requests from 23 states and 5 countries thus far," he said. "[Ms. Rivers'] endorsement has led to several requests from other theatre companies around the country to obtain performance rights, and I'm quite optimistic about these other companies mounting the show during the next two years."

Hayes was also invited to direct the Americana Theatre Company's production of Redeeming Love, which features a number of School of Communication & the Arts alumni: Jennifer Martin '08, Hannah Graham '11, Chris Graham '09, Andy Geffken '11, and Josh Nicholson '09.

Ultimately, Hayes hopes the audience will see themselves in the story. "Angel the prostitute was struggling against her relationship with Michael Hosea because she couldn't accept she was good enough; she couldn't separate herself from her past sin," he said. "Redeeming Love isn't just a romance novel, or a woman's novel; it was my story."

Learn more about Regent's Theatre Arts Department.

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