The women did a wonderful job acting and with solos.
By LORRAINE SPENCER
We all know the term “chick flick.” How about “chick play?”
“Quilters,” at the New Castle Playhouse, is just that. It is touching, funny, and definitely geared toward women. The musical, by Molly Newman and Barbara Damashek, tells the stories of women living in the Wild West in the early 20th century. Through songs, short scenes, and monologues, we get a glimpse into their lives and the importance quilting played in them.
Quilts were an impressive presence in the production. They lined the stage and filled the halls of the foyer. The women used the quilts in nearly every number of the show, wrapping themselves in them and sewing them. They even used them as props — as hymnals, cowhides and babies.
Kathy Leihbarger played Sarah, the matriarch of the group, and led the other women with a clear voice and natural stage presence. The ensemble of “daughters” was made up of Ticia Mangino, Theresa Michael, Audra K. Moesta, Barbara Nichols, Caryn Nicholson and Constance M. Rodgers. The women portrayed a variety of characters with emotion and charm.
The women in the show were all wonderful actors. In each scene they played different characters — mothers, daughters, aunts, cousins, occasionally a husband. With each character, they brought a fresh voice and perspective to the stage. Their monologues were emotional and touching and their portrayals of children were adorable. The audience clearly empathized with the characters, laughing or nodding in agreement at the actors’ lines.
The musical numbers were hit and miss. In some, the women sang in beautiful harmony. Especially good was “Cornelia,” a fun song about making a doll. Most of the solos were sung with strength and clarity. However, when the group sang, they often sounded weak and unsure.
A few missed lines and hesitations can be explained by opening-night jitters. Often when beginning a song, the women seemed unsure, but their confidence grew as they sang. Likewise, the band was not always together. But these kinks will surely be ironed out as the play is performed.
It is obvious that director Paula R. Ferguson built “Quilters” with the same love and care that her characters put into their quilts. The women in the play demonstrate a strong bond and produce a feeling of pride and accomplishment that carries into the audience. “Quilters” is a moving play to see with you mother or daughter or both.
X“Quilters” plays Friday, Saturday and Nov. 2 and 3 at 7:30 and today, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4 at 2 in the Annex Building of the New Castle Playhouse.