Photo: Neyla Pekarek (not Kate!) (DCPA) | By Emily Ferguson, Westword | Cellist Neyla Pekarek was studying at the University of Northern Colorado in 2008 when she came across the story of Rattlesnake Kate at the Greeley Municipal Museum. She was stunned that she had never heard of the legendary frontierswoman, especially since she’d grown up in Colorado. Even after becoming a member of the Lumineers in 2010 (she responded to a Craigslist ad), Pekarek remained determined to tell Kate Slaughterback’s story.
She started doing so with a solo album of songs about Slaughterback’s life that came out in 2019, right after she left the Lumineers. Now Pekarek and playwright Karen Hartman are sharing Slaughterback’s story through their musical Rattlesnake Kate, which will have its world premiere at the Wolf Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex on Friday, February 4.
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[Editor’s note: I’d never heard of Rattlesnake Kate until my brother Doug insisted that we stop by the Greeley Municipal Museum a couple of summers ago! Very interesting story – and, if you visit the museum, you can see the outfit that Kate made! (Kept in a glass-fronted controlled room)]
Photo: Neyla Pekarek wrote the music for Rattlesnake Kate. Courtesy of DCPA