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The Quiltmaker’s Gift opens Friday

First production in Ely’s renovated Historic State Theater

Keith Vandervort
Posted 1/22/20

ELY – Following months of preparation and community-wide fundraising efforts, The Quiltmaker’s Gift is set to open Friday, Jan. 24 at Ely’s newly-renovated Historic State Theater. …

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The Quiltmaker’s Gift opens Friday

First production in Ely’s renovated Historic State Theater

Posted

ELY – Following months of preparation and community-wide fundraising efforts, The Quiltmaker’s Gift is set to open Friday, Jan. 24 at Ely’s newly-renovated Historic State Theater. Shows are scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. A special dress rehearsal was set for Thursday, Jan. 23 for students.
Tickets for all the performances are sold out.
“This is a fable for our times that celebrates the joy of giving,” according to Director Laurie Kess. “It is the story of a generous quilt maker with magic in her fingers who sews the most beautiful quilts in the world, then gives them away, she said.  “A greedy king, his storehouse stuffed with treasures, yearns for something that will make him happy.  When the quiltmaker finally agrees to make a quilt for the king, but only under certain conditions, she causes him to undergo a change of heart.” 
“At times mystical, hilarious, gently provocative and touching, this intimate musical, performed throughout the United States, has delighted parents and children alike,” Kess added.
The Quiltmaker’s Gift won the Book Sense Book of the Year Award in 2000 for best children’s picture book, and 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of its publication.
To date, roughly 725,000 copies of The Quiltmaker’s Gift 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 at Marshall School in Duluth.
The Quiltmaker’s Gift cast includes:
Pat Zupancich as the Quiltmaker, Tom Bennett as the Chorus King, Vince O’Connor as the Old Man, Brennan Reed as The Boy, and Karin Schmidt as The Bear. 
The community production is supported in part by the Donald G. Gardner Humanities Trust, the Ely Rotary, the Ely Chamber of Commerce, Lake Country Power and the Ely Kiwanis.

Author and artist events
Jeff Brumbeau, author of The Quiltmaker’s Gift, will visit Ely with his wife during the production.  He will meet with Megan Heiman’s English class at Vermilion Community College on Friday.
Meanwhile, Crapola is hosting a display of original (Ely resident) Gail deMarcken paintings for The Quiltmaker’s Journey, written and illustrated after the Quiltmaker’s Gift’s success telling the story of her childhood and what led her to become The Quiltmaker.

Ely Folk School events  
The Ely Folk School is hosting special events to celebrate the production.
A quilt show, hosted by the Ely Heart of the Woods quilters guild, will be held Thursday, Jan. 23 through Sunday, Jan. 26, noon-4 p.m. Their work will also be on display during the Art Walk during the Ely Winter Festival, Feb. 6-16.
A special quilting class with Susan Covey will be held on Friday, Jan. 24, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Ely Folk School.
Covey has owned and operated Cabin Quilting in Cook, for eight years. She is originally from southern Minnesota, where she had a long arm quilting business. She has been quilting for 27 years. She currently teaches at Northwoods Friends of the Arts (NWFA) in Cook. Her classes include purses, bags, wallets, rugs, table runners, quilts, applique, and more.
She will begin with a demonstration of the essential first steps and an introduction to terminology that will help participants get started in the quilting world. During the class, students will make a table runner and, if time permits, a microwave cozy. There are sewing machines available, but it is preferable that students bring their own machine.
For more information, go to www.elyfolkschool.org.

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