Talented cast, design patch together SU’s ‘Quilters’

Quilters
Who Syracuse University
When Through April 7
Where Storch Theatre, 820 E. Genesee St, Syracuse
Review by Lauren Smart

 There are female ensemble musicals that work. And for me Quilters is not one of them.  This 1984 Tony-loser stitches together prairie stories with a clumsy approach to story and mostly boring songs reminiscent of Americana folk music.
Ostensibly the musical challenges the boundaries of this stage genre and finds a thread that connects all women heading West in the days of pioneering. But in execution the musical grows monotonous. The Syracuse students tackle this musical with enthusiasm and superb performances, but there’s only so much redemption for shoddy material.

Danielle Spinello, Bailey Thompson, Heather Siemienas, Erin Nishimura, Katie Anderson, Eve Steuer, and Avery Epstein in the SU Drama production of Quilters.

Especially impressive are the set and costume designs by Sally SangHee Bae and Josh Oliver, respectively. Bae’s set captures both the simplicity and austerity of the West with functional space for the cast to move around in as they act out each story. Oliver brings a dash of color to this world, as he designed costumes to reflect the overarching personalities of each character, while still allowing them to transform into different roles throughout the play.
The seven women in the play sing beautifully and wring a good amount of humor from their interactions.
And yes, they really do sing about quilting the whole time.
Rather than discuss the show’s inlaid problems, I will thank the women and the live orchestra for their talent and passion.

Clockwise from center: Danielle Spinello, Bailey Thompson, Eve Steuer, Erin Nishimura, Avery Epstein, Heather Siemienas and Katie Anderson in the SU Drama production of Quilters.

Katie Anderson, Bailey Thompson, Danielle Spinello, Eve Steuer, Avery Epstein and Heather Siemienas in the SU Drama production of Quilters.

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