Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) opens its sixth annual season on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast with the musical “The Spitfire Grill.”
The performance runs Sept. 20 through Oct. 7, and will be staged at ECTC’s performance space in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin.
Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinees on Sundays. There will be no performance on Sept. 29 and an additional performance at 3 p.m. Oct. 6 has been scheduled. Running time is 90 minutes and the play is appropriate for ages 13 and older.
Based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff, the story of “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 to even female empowerment,” said ECTC producing artistic director Nathanael Fisher. “We are excited to open our season with this musical gem performed by a talented cast.”
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 and book for “The Spitfire Grill” is by James Valcq and and lyrics and book are by Fred Alley, who first staged this play Off Broadway in 2001. The Academy of Arts & Letters awarded “The Spitfire Grill” the Richard Rogers Production Award. The original production also received Best Musical nominations from the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama League.
Theater patrons are encouraged to come early, doors open at 6:30 p.m., 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 years old and up), students, and military. Purchase tickets online at emeraldcoastheatre.org/tickets or call 850-684-0323.