This version is the only authorized stage adaptation of Charles Sheldon's best-selling novel. It was commissioned by Sheldon's church, Central Congregational, where it was first written in 1897. In the summer of 1895 in Raymond, Kansas, a tramp knocks at Reverend Henry Maxwell's door looking for work. With regret, Maxwell turns him away, but the tramp's visit has inspired Sunday's sermon from 1 Peter 2:21: "For hereunto were ye called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that ye should follow in His steps." As Maxwell begins his sermon, the tramp enters from the back of the church and questions the integrity of the sermon. The tramp collapses and is carried back to Maxwell's study, where he dies. Maxwell calls for volunteers to join a special group, pledging never to take any action without first asking, "What would Jesus do?" and then following in His steps. Newspaper publisher Edward Norman changes his editorial policy based upon what he thinks Jesus would publish, and heiress Virginia Page contributes half a million dollars to the publishing effort. Milton Wright, the storekeeper, creates a program to offer education to his employees. Jasper Chase, who has joined the group to curry favor with Virginia, discovers evidence showing that Lucien Sterling, head of the railroad, has engaged in bribery and plans to use the information for blackmail. Sterling plans to stop him. Maxwell's group expands into the poor section of town, taking over a tent church and offering hope to the poor. The Pledge Group mounts a campaign to fight open saloons in Raymond, several of which are owned by Lucien Sterling, and the bishop is called in to stop Maxwell's reforms. But it isn't long before the bishop is building his own pledge group, and Henry Maxwell is inviting everyone to follow in His steps.
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- Type of Show Full-length Play
- Product Code IF4000
- Cast Size 17
- Min. Royalty Rate $80/perf
- Cost $9.95
- Approx. Run Time 160 min
- Target Audience High School | College and Adult | Praise Groups
- Performing Group High School | College Theatre | Community Theatre | Praise Group
- Genre Drama
- ISBN(13) 9781619590595
Media Reviews"A remarkable jewel." -The Topeka Capital-Journal
"An exciting play … filled with beautiful, classic and much-loved hymns." -The Jefferson County Post
"Audiences will laugh, cry and be encouraged by this fast-moving production." -The Jefferson County Post
"It's not too often you run into something that's not only entertaining and uplifting, but which might change your lifeand perhaps your entire community, too." -The Topeka Capital-Journal