Spitfire Grill Opens Friday

The Theatre Palisades production of The Spitfire Grill, based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff, with music and book by James Valcq and lyrics and book by Fred Alley, will open on Friday and run weekends through July 10 at Pierson Playhouse, 941 Temescal Canyon Rd.

The story begins when Percy Talbot (Alyssa Rupert) is released from prison after serving five years for manslaughter. Based on a photo she finds in a travel book, she travels to Gilead, Wisconsin to start her life anew.

The town’s sheriff (Ross Chitwood) helps her find work at Hannah’s Spitfire Grill, which is for sale. When there are no buyers, owner Hannah (Joanna Churgin) decides to raffle it off. For $100 and an essay about why one should own the eatery, the mailbox is soon flooded with offers.

Directed by Lewis Hauser, with a three-piece band under the direction of Brian Murphy, the show has been called a drama with elements of comedy, evocative and moving.

About the musical, New York Magazine’s acerbic critic John Simon wrote: “It is not often that material moves me to tears, but this was one of those occasions. The Spitfire Grill has the heart and soul that Producers and Full Montys cannot begin to approach. What even in normal times would be a joy is, in these troubled ones, sheer nourishment.” He later called it the best musical of 2001.

Produced by Shirley Churgin and Sylvia Grieb, the cast also includes Darcy Silveira as Shelby, Terry Delegeane as Caleb, Susan Stangl as Effy and Phil Apoian as the Visitor.

Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 general admission and $23 for seniors and students. Call: (310) 454-1970 or visit: TheatrePalisades.com.

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