Musical planned for inaugural theatrical event at State Theater

Friends of Ely’s Gail deMarcken, illustrator of the best-selling, award-winning book The Quiltmaker’s Gift, have organized to present the musical based on the book as the inaugural theatrical event at Ely’s newly restored State Theater on Friday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 25 and 26 at 2 p.m.
Laurie Kess is the director, Irene Hartfield, musical director, Molly Olson, choreographer, and Peter Kess, light and sound tech.
The play and the music were developed by the Phoenix Theater in Arizona. It has been presented in communities across the United States but never in Ely. The group plans to invite second and third grade students from Ely, Babbitt and Tower to a Thursday afternoon dress rehearsal performance.
The Friends of Gail have collaborated with Ely’s Heart of the Woods quilters to present a quilt show at the Ely Folk School.
When The Quiltmaker’s Gift was first published in 2000 it was a sensation with quilting clubs across the country; they propelled it to success. To date, roughly 725,000 copies have been sold worldwide and it has been translated into Chinese, Korean, Greek and German.
It inspired a sequel, The Quiltmaker’s Journey, two books on quilting, and a number of theatrical productions including a ballet with the University of Utah’s Children’s Dance Theater. Gail and the author, Jeff Brumbeau will be available to meet and greet in several venues during the week.
The community production is supported to date in part by the Donald G. Gardner Humanities Trust, the Ely Rotary, the Ely Chamber of Commerce, Lake Country Power and the Ely Kiwanis. The new website QuiltmakersGiftEly.com is being created and the group can be found on Facebook.
The production has grown into a community event. In addition to the quilt show, the Ely Folk School will host a morning art activity for children and adult classes; the library will offer storytelling and activities, ISD 696 art department’s Kelly Chick will lead fabric art classes, ECR’s Reading Pals will read the book in costume in Washington Elementary’s classrooms which Ely Kiwanis will then donate to each classroom. The Ely Watercolor Club is willing to help paint sets.
The illustrator, Gail deMarcken, is now a full-time Ely resident. When she illustrated this book she was living in Latvia with her husband, whose career with the Peace Corps took them all over the world.