QUILTERS Opens 2/14 at CU-Boulder's University Theatre

QUILTERS Opens 2/14 at CU-Boulder's University Theatre

The challenges, the wide-open possibility and the sometimes-harsh beauty of life on the Great Plains are at the center of the Tony-nominated musical "Quilters," which opens a two-week run at CU-Boulder's University Theatre Feb. 14.

"It's a celebration of American womanhood and a musical tribute to the spirit of our nation's pioneer women," says Lynn Nichols, who is directing the musical for the fourth time. In 1998 he was named best director by the Denver Drama Critic's Circle for his work on "Quilters" for the Colorado Chautauqua Association's 100th anniversary.

In the play, a pioneer woman, Sarah, and her six daughters perform stories and songs from her life on the American frontier based on quilt panels. Each panel illuminates the lives of women on the prairie - childhood, marriage, motherhood, old age - and the challenges they face, from tornadoes to wildfires to the death of children.

"Its greatest strength is its unassuming honesty," Washington Post said of "Quilters" during its original run at the Kennedy Center.

First produced at the Denver Center Theater Company in 1982, the play celebrates an aspect of Colorado geography that is often hidden in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Yet the plains are no less powerful, romantic or imbued with hardship and history.

"As Sarah says at the start, it's not the end of the earth, but you can see it from here," says Nichols. "The musical really conveys the feeling of openness on the plains. There is something about seeing that distant horizon; it's scary yet there is something exhilarating and comforting about it."

The musical contrasts the wide-open physical spaces of the plains with the intimacy of pioneer women's lives and features an all-female cast.

"Part of the charm is that this is all told from the women's perspective," Nichols says.

The new production by the Department of Theatre and Dance will feature Tamara Meneghini, winner of a 2011 Denver Post Ovation Award for her solo performance in "The Great Goddess Bazaar," in the role of Sarah.

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"Quilters"
A musical by Molly Newman and Barbara Damashek
Directed by Lynn Nichols
Where: University Theatre, University of Colorado Boulder
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14, 15, 21 and 22; 2 p.m. Feb. 16, 22 and 23
Tickets: $19 general admission; $17 CU students; $5 high-school students
Box Office: 303-492-8181; or go to http://theatredance.colorado.edu

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