Rabbit Run Theater opens the musical “Quilters” at Lake Erie College

PAINESVILLE, Ohio – Rabbit Run Theater opens the musical “Quilters” at Lake Erie College.  Written by Molly Newman and Barbara Damashek, “Quilters” opens Friday, Feb. 9, and runs through Sunday, Mar. 4.

A mother and her six daughters tell the moving story of pioneer life, taken from the handwritten diaries of women who helped settle the west.

Originally developed and produced by the Denver Center Theatre Company, this celebration of American womanhood became a regional theater success before going to Broadway. “Quilters” blends a series of related scenes into a mosaic which captures the sweep and beauty, the fear and joy and the harsh challenges and abundant rewards of American frontier life in the mid to late 1800’s.

Depicting stories contained in various “blocks” with music, dance and drama, “Quilters” tells the lot of frontier women from girlhood to spinsterhood with love, warmth, humor and dignity in the face of adversity. “Quilters” is directed by Brint Learned, executive director of Rabbit Run Community Arts Association (RRCAA) in Madison.  Musical direction is provided by Alex Ulle and choreography by Rachel Irwin.

“Honest, heartfelt storytelling is at the core of Quilters,” says Learned.  “These women share their personal joys and sorrows, and block by block they piece together the unique quilt that makes up their lives.”

“We’re particularly excited to work in collaboration with the Lake Metroparks Farmpark, the Lake County History Center, the Western Reserve Spinners and Weavers Guild and Lake Erie College to share the artistry, storytelling and traditions of quilting.”

Throughout the production of “Quilters”, RRCAA has partnered with Lake Metroparks, the Lake County History Center, the Ashtabula County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Western Reserve Spinners and Weavers for several pre-show events.  These collaborations and the musical are made possible in part through grants from the Lake County Visitors Bureau Arts and Culture Fund and the Ashtabula County Convention and Visitors Bureau as well as through collaborative efforts with Lake Erie College.

A pre-show option is a visit to Quilts 2018, hosted by the Lake Metroparks Farmpark, which showcases more than 200 quilted works on display throughout the Farmpark’s Visitor Center.  The show opens Friday, Feb. 9 and runs through Sunday, Mar. 11.

This show features works from internationally acclaimed quilt artists Karen Miller and Karen Combs as well as many other quilters from Northeast Ohio and beyond.  The Farmpark is located at 8800 Euclid Chardon Rd., Kirtland, OH.  Quilts 2018 is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Mondays.  Farmpark admission applies.

Prior to every performance patrons may visit an exhibit of pioneer era quilts, coverlets and spinning & weaving tools in the art gallery of the C. K. Rickel Theatre.  The exhibit is from the collection of the Lake County History Center complimented by modern textile art pieces and tools from the Western Reserve Spinners and Weavers.  There will be live demonstrations of this pioneer art on opening night!  The gallery opens one hour prior to the performance.  Admission to the exhibit is free.

Another pre-show option is available in neighboring Ashtabula County.  Just a short drive from Lake County, the Ashtabula County Barn Quilt Trail wanders across Ohio’s largest county and takes visitors to orchards, wineries, working farms, historic sites and residences as they search for barn quilts. This is the only barn quilt trail in Northeast Ohio and has grown to more than 81 quilts.  For a map of this self-guided driving tour go to visitashtabulacounty.com.

Guests may also stop at the Steele Mansion in Painesville.  On Friday, Feb. 16, and Friday, Feb. 23, patrons may enjoy happy hour and a self-guided tour through the mansion, including the Steele Mansion’s antique quilt collection.  Cash bar with happy hour drink specials and appetizer menu available.  Cover charge is $5, payable at the door.  The Steele Mansion is located at 348 Mentor Ave., across from Lake Erie College.  Doors open at 5 p.m.

Quilters” runs Feb. 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24 and Mar. 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 11, 18, 25 and Mar. 4 at 2:00 p.m. in the C.K. Rickel Theatre in Royce Hall for the Fine and Performing Arts off of Gillett St. on the Lake Erie College campus, 391 W. Washington St., Painesville, OH.

Tickets for all performances are available on line at www.rabbitrunonline.org or at the door.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $10 for students.  All seats are general seating.  Parking is free.

For more information contact RRCAA at 440-428-5913.

“Quilters” is made possible in part by funding through the Lake County Visitors Bureau Arts and Culture Fund, the Ashtabula County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Ohio Arts Council and ideastream.

Feature photo credit: Kathy Sandham. 
Actors in the photo are (L – R):  Maria Lister Lyons (seated), Evie Koh, Mim Goloboff, Hannah Williams, Colleen O’Leary, Shelbi Guy, Jackie DeFrangia (standing).

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RRCAA is a comprehensive fine arts association offering year-round instruction in all the major disciplines of the fine and performing arts as well as operating Rabbit Run Theater, one of the few barn theaters still in operation. For more information, call RRCAA at 440-428-5913 or visit rabbitrunonline.org.

Karen Ziegler
Director of Marketing
Rabbit Run Community Arts Association
P. O. Box 235, 49 Park St.
Madison, OH  44057