Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) opens its sixth annual season on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast with the musical The Spitfire Grill.
Performances are Thursday, Sept. 20 (opening night!), through Sunday, Oct. 7, at 560 Grand Boulevard (upstairs) in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, located in Miramar Beach.
Based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff, The Spitfire Grill centers around Percy, a feisty parolee who follows her dreams—based on a page from an old travel book—to a small town in Wisconsin and finds a place for herself working at Hannah’s Spitfire Grill.
The diner is for sale, but there are no takers for the only eatery in the depressed town, so newcomer Percy suggests to Hannah that she raffle it off. Entry fees are $100, and the best essay on why you want the grill wins. Soon, mail is arriving by the wheelbarrow full and things are definitely cookin’ at the Spitfire Grill.
“There is a lot packed into this compelling story of universal truths, including the powerful themes of redemption and forgiveness, along with the economic problems of small towns, the plight of Vietnam War veterans, and even female empowerment,” says ECTC producing artistic director Nathanael Fisher.
Mr. Fisher directs an ensemble cast that includes Larren Woodward (Percy Tallbott), Darla Briganti (Hannah Ferguson), Caitlin Artrip (Shelby Goddard), Michael McLendon (Caleb), Cameron Gray (Sherriff Joe), Destinee Steele (Effy) and Allen Walker (The Visitor ).
ECTC’s production of The Spitfire Grill includes musical direction by Mary Jeter with musical accompaniment by Chris Gardner. Costume design is by ECTC associate artistic director Anna Fisher. The production is stage managed by Bridgett Bryant with lighting and set design along with technical direction by Cory Tucker.
Music for The Spitfire Grill is by James Valcq with lyrics by Fred Alley, who first staged this gem off Broadway in 2001. Both collaborated on the book. The Academy of Arts & Letters awarded The Spitfire Grill the Richard Rodgers Production Award. The original production also received Best Musical nominations from the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama League.
Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 PM with 2 PM matinees on Sundays. There will be no performance on Saturday, Sept. 29, and an additional performance at 3 PM Saturday, Oct. 6. Running time is 90 minutes. The show is appropriate for ages 13 and older.
Theater patrons are encouraged to come early (doors open at 6:30 PM) to browse artwork by local artists showcased in the ECTC Lobby Gallery curated by Lori Drew, founder of Lowkylzart. A portion of proceeds from each sale benefits ECTC and its education outreach and scholarship programs.
Tickets are $35 for adults; $32 for seniors (55 and older), students and military. Purchase tickets online at emeraldcoastheatre.org/tickets or call 850-684-0323.
– Zandra Wolfgram
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