Author Debbie Macomber poses with the cast of “The Inn at Rose Harbor.” Photo courtesy Renton School District

Author Debbie Macomber poses with the cast of “The Inn at Rose Harbor.” Photo courtesy Renton School District

Writer watches story unfold on stage

Author Debbie Macomber watched the play adaptation of her book at Hazen High School last week.

It is not every day an author gets to see her work of art being portrayed as live theater.

That is unless you’re Debbie Macomber.

Macomber, who lives in Port Orchard, is a New York Times best selling novelist and has had more than 200 million copies of her books printed worldwide.

Last week, she was one of the audience members at Hazen High School’s production of “The Inn at Rose Harbor,” a play adaptation of her book.

The play, adapted by Joseph Robinette, is about a widowed woman who purchases an inn in the town of Cedar Cove and reminisces about her early days of her business and the guests who made an impression.

When theater teacher Brett Crueger picked the play, he didn’t realize Macomber lived nearby. He said he picks plays at the beginning of each season by assessing the capabilities of his students that year. “The Inn at Rose Harbor” seemed like a story the current round of theater students could bring to life masterfully.

This being the 38th show he’s produced, Crueger said it didn’t cross his mind to invite the author of the original story. That was until one of his students who was in the play casually mentioned his family knew Macomber.

Unsure of what to expect, Crueger contacted her office to invite her to one of the shows.

On opening night, she sent the entire cast a large bouquet of flowers and her best wishes.

On Saturday’s matinee show she was in the audience with her family, seeing for the first time her stories come to life in live theater.

“She was humble and gracious and patient with the kids. She was so lovely with the kids,” Creuger said.

After the last bow and the curtain closed, Macomber lingered to meet the students with the same enthusiasm in which the students wanted to meet her.

“Meeting and talking to the cast following the performance was a highlight for me,” Macomber said. “The cast, crew, director, and volunteers from the community did a great job! I was humbled with their enthusiasm to meet me, as I was excited to meet them to let them know how wonderful it was to see them perform.”

The cast and crew asked Macomber to sign their programs, posters and scripts.

“I hope and think the kids know how significant that was to have that and what an experience it was for her to see that. It’s not every day you see your work done in that fashion,” Crueger said.

Crueger admitted he wasn’t as nervous to have the original author of the see his production.

“Had it been opening night, then maybe, because there were kinks to work out. But we were well prepared so I wasn’t too nervous…. She saw the second to last show so it was polished and very clean. It was a good time for her to come.”

For Macomber, watching her story come to life was surprisingly emotional.

“It’s been several years since I wrote the novel ‘The Inn at Rose Harbor.’ I’d forgotten how emotional some of the scenes were,” she said. “Both my husband and I actually teared up more than once. Brett told me the kids back stage were texting him during the play, ‘She’s crying. She must like it!’ Indeed, I did.”

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